🦇 Read for the Unapologetic Romance Readers Halloween 2018 Reading Challenge for the category of: A steampunk romance 🦇
Isn't the hero supposed to be blonde? I'm sorry, but one of my pet-peeves is when the cover model bears zero resemblance to the hero and heroine as they're described in the novel. I know it's cool and smoky, and the dude is hot and all, but come on. At least try.
Moving on from Cover Aesthetics 101, KISS OF STEEL is one of those books that aspires to be a little of everything. It's a steampunk novel set in Victorian-era England, only this is a world with vampires and werewolves (oh my), with vampires, naturally, seizing power and forcing many poor humans to resort to using blood as currency. Vampirism exists on a spectrum, first as a plague, then as vampires, and then, in late stages, as violent blood-mad zombies that must be put down as if they were rabid animals.
The heroine, Honoria, was once a part of the glittering upper-class, but when her father was killed, she was forced to take to the streets in order to protect her younger siblings. Now, having reached the bottoms of her shallow pockets, she's forced to turn to one of the local crime lords for help, a vampire named Blade.
I thought the world-building in this book was pretty well-done. McMaster created a pretty terrifying one, filled with squalor and desperation and darkness. You could almost picture the fog-misted blood dispensaries and hear the creep of feet on cobblestones. For the most part, I also liked the romance, although the sexual tension was actually sexier than the actual sex scenes. I'm not really a fan of the phrase "lush pearl," and thought there were actually too many sex scenes towards the end, which seemed to serve an excuse to explain the rushed love between the hero and heroine.
Vickers was a great villain and I'm sad that he wasn't utilized more in the book. This is virtually the only thing that bothers me about some "dark" romances and that's when the books forget to be dark after squeezing in an under-developed love story that makes the story unnaturally fluffy. The beginning of KISS OF STEEL was so promising and even though it wasn't a bad book, I still felt cheated because I thought I was going to get something amazing and ended up with something that was just okay.
KISS OF STEEL passed the time, but it won't be topping any of my favorites lists. That said, if you're tired of cutesy, angsty vampires, this series will probably appeal to you. These guys (and girls) bite.
3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars