Kiss of Steel
by Bec McMaster
If you’re looking for a historical romance with some nice, juicy emotional development/angst couched within the trappings of a steampunk-esque world (and you like vampires) this is the book for you.
It really hit all the right notes with Blade, the rogue vampire banished from the upper echelons of high society (which happen to be vampires called blue bloods in this book) who rules the seedy underworld of London society and Honoria, the fallen from grace lady who has just lost her job tutoring and now is desperate for protection for herself and her siblings.
But wait, that’s not all, it seems Honoria is on the run from Vickers, a blue blood who wants her, and Blade is facing the logical progress of his craving disease: transformation into the mindless vampire state.
Of course, Blade has a werewolf sidekick with unresolved feelings and Honoria’s little brother is fighting disease as well.
There’s lots going on in this alternate London world. This is no flimsy backdrop. And the romance (make no mistake, this is old school alpha male saving a fallen society lady romance) was great. Honoria is forced to sell herself, more or less (although as Blade is a vampire it’s not what you think) so that brings up some sticky, uncomfortable dynamics, but as it turns out, Blade isn’t quite the fierce criminal he’s rumored to be.
And that’s where I felt just the slightest bit let down. Blade gets messed up quite a lot in this book. And he also shows no sign of criminal behavior. For his monstrous reputation he seems like quite the upstanding citizen. I would have liked Honoria to have had to deal with ambiguous feelings about what Blade has to do to survive, etc. Or for Blade to inhabit underworld criminal just a bit more.
Anyway, definitely a series one could instantly lose many hours to as it sets up the world very nicely, introduces some great side characters who definitely will star in subsequent books. Totally escapist, romantic fun.