Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Kiss of Steel was actually my first foray into steampunk novels. I started it before Soulless and before the short story anthology that I haven’t reviewed yet, but didn’t finish it until last week. Part of this was due to the time constraints on the other books–library books that needed to be returned–and part of the delay was because this book didn’t quite pull me along as well as it might have.
Portions of this novel really shined. There are a few scenes between Horonia and Blade that were charming and funny, but they felt like set pieces that were being linked together by the rest of the plot. I also rather liked Bec McMaster’s vampire lore: infected humans are changed into powerful blue bloods that slowly devolve into bestial vampires. The infection part seems to be the main reason that this book is set in a “steampunk” London. The infection is virus and Horonia seeks to find a cure, or vaccine, based on her deceased father’s research. I believe that the same sort of plot could be achieved within Victorian/Edwardian era science. The other steampunk elements are very few. There are some automatons and that’s pretty much it. This seems to be more Victorian set paranormal romance than true steampunk.
I will admit to not being much of a romance reader. The sex scenes in Kiss of Steel seemed somewhat ill-placed. Again, I had the feeling of these having been written first and the rest of the plot being constructed around them. After a (spoiler free) very serious thing happens, Horonia goes to presumably talk to Blade about the dire thing and they end up having fairly happy sex before she even mentions it. That just doesn’t seem right.
This isn’t a bad book, but it’s far from being great. I see that it’s “Steampunk London #1” and I kind of wish that wasn’t the case. I think McMaster has some promise, but I wonder how much a writer can improve while writing the same characters in the same world.
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
Procurement: Goodreads Give-Away; ARC courtesy Sourcebooks, Inc.
Bookmark: July 18th Valley Metro bus pass