Author: Bec McMaster
Narrator: Alison Larkin
Series: London Steampunk, #2
Released: June 3rd 2013
Publisher: Tantor Media
Lenght: 11 hrs and 32 mins
Lena Todd is the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a rebel against London's vicious elite—not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't twist around her little finger.Will Carver is more than man; he's a verwolfen, and he wants nothing to do with the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds Lena in possession of a coded letter, he realizes she's in a world of trouble. To protect her, he'll have to seduce the truth from her before it's too late.
When you read as much as I do, the words ‘consistently mediocre’ are nothing to frown upon. After all the ups and downs I go through with my other reads, it’s nice to pick up something and know exactly what I’ll be getting.
If nothing else, Heart of Iron is significantly closer to the actual steampunk genre than its predecessor. Through Lena, a skilled maker of clockwork toys, some steampunk elements were introduced that simply weren’t present in Honoria and Blade’s story. It’s still a far cry from real steampunk novels, but at least this time, I didn’t feel cheated.
This book is also more tightly plotted than Kiss of Steel. The humanist movement is looking to destroy the Echelon, and Lena, hunted and hurt by the Blue Bloods, decides to join them and spy for them from within. Through a series of events and manipulations, she and Will end up on opposing sides, but neither of them realizes it, although Will strongly suspects. Creating characters too headstrong and proud to communicate seems to be McMaster’s preferred way of building romantic tension. Lena and Will shared so little with each other when at least part of their problems could have been avoided with a simple open conversation. This is why I tend to avoid romance and it’s precisely what bothered me in the first installment. While Lena was slightly less difficult than her sister Honoria, she still made a mess of everything she touched.
I must say that McMaster took some very unexpected turns in Heart of Iron, things I did not see coming at all. One doesn’t expect surprises from paranormal historical romance, but after putting her characters in an impossible situation, she chose a way out I simply didn’t predict. In the end, her solution worked perfectly, and so did the unexpected, jay-dropping surprise.
Once again, Alison Larkin’s narration is nothing to write home about. She does a fairly decent job with Will and Lena (and of course, Blade and Honoria) but she still has the habit of making all the secondary characters sound horribly nasal. She could have done a better job with the sex scenes as well, but overall, her performance is good enough.
I will, of course, continue this series. The next book is about Jasper Lynch, leader of the Echelon’s Nighthawks, and Rosalind from the humanist movement. I only hope the two of them will start talking to each other openly before I pull all my hair out.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!