Thursday, November 28, 2013

Audiobook Review: Heart of Iron (London Steampunk, #2)

Heart of IronAuthor: Bec McMaster
Narrator: Alison Larkin
Series: London Steampunk, #2
Released: June 3rd 2013
Publisher: Tantor Media
Lenght: 11 hrs and 32 mins
Buy: Audible

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!


  1. Haha, oh stupid people who do not talk, all the drama they could have missed

  2. You know, consistently mediocre really isn't a horrible description. I like familiar books where I know I'm going to get a decent story and decent characters. Three stars is nothing to frown about. Especially when it involves characters who don't converse enough to avoid simple misunderstandings.

  3. I'm so torn about picking up this series now. It seems to be just alright, which is the type of book I need in a certain type of mood, but not very often. I'm starting to wish there were more brilliant steampunk romances out there! :( Anyway, thanks for the honest review, Maja!

  4. Ugh to the lack of communication! I'm glad to hear toy enjoyed this one a bit more and it managed to surprise you with the climax and resolution!
    Too bad the narrator isn't doing the best of jobs. I know that if I give these a chance it won't be in audiobook form!

  5. I am glad you knew what you were getting with this second installment so you were able to enjoy the story more.
    Great review Maja!

  6. I loved the first book but many persons told me this one was way behind it so I confess I'm anxious. Well you review confirm it. But well one day...

  7. That's why I'm not the biggest fan of romance as well. The lack of communication drives me NUTS! I guess we'll see how I feel about the first. I may end up not continuing the series.

  8. Ahhh…I have no time for mediocre reads nowadays, Maja. Though I'm not really a fan of this genre so I won't be running the risk of wasting more valuable reading time or listening time for that matter.

    I hope the next one is even better for you, dear. :)

  9. Still not sure about this series. I may have to try it when I'm in a slump or need a genre cleanser. I have to say that cover is pretty boring. Hope he next one surprises you.

  10. Surprised you gave this one a shot so soon but I am glad it had some steampunk elements in it. Sorry it wasn't as exciting as it should have probably been.

  11. Hmm, it's funny because somehow I'm more intrigued to read this series now, even though it's pretty middle of the road and the characters refuse to communicate and save themselves time and annoyance (something that also makes me want to pull my hair out). It's probably because the author managed to surprise you. It's difficult to put characters in an impossible situation and solve it in a satisfying way, so that definitely piques my interest. I might get the print version though, the audio sounds like something I could skip. Thanks for your balanced review Maja!


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