Rec a Series is a monthly post highlighting one of my favorite series, past or present. I’ve bounced around quite a bit on these series—romance, fantasy, paranormal—and this one is no different. We’re diving into romantic speculative fiction of an historical nature. Steampunk! Airships, automatons, Victorian fashions, vampires, werewolves…wait…what? This time, I’m rec’ing the London Steampunk series by Bec McMaster.
The London Steampunk series
by Bec McMaster
(yes this is late. I have no excuse other than I am a lazy person who is lazy)
I read the first in this series, Kiss of Steel, based on an Amazon recommendation because I adored Delilah S. Dawson’s Wicked as They Come. It looked interesting, had good reviews, and the cover was gorgeous. So, I read it and tumbled tophat over petticoats in love with Blade, the Demon of Whitechurch.
McMaster’s London is a dark and grim sort of place. Mechs, those who’ve replaced lost limbs with mechanical prosthetics, are considered less than human. Werewolves were systematically slaughtered as uncontrollable beasts. And the Queen, and thus all of England, is married to and ruled by the Echelon—blueblood vampires who destroy any rogues daring to survive their turning. Like Blade. Oh they tried to remove him as well, but that didn’t turn out so well. Now, he rules over, and protects, those living in the slums of Whitechurch…including its newest members: Honoria, her sister Lena, and her brother Charlie. In exchange for his protection, he just asks for a bit of blood.
Honoria is running from the Echelon for more reasons than one. She’s a good foil to Blade—not too stupid or full of herself not to be scared of him, but also not willing to simply bow to his whims. Kiss of Steel is good at setting up the series, giving a good feel for the world without revealing all its secrets, and introducing those who’ll star in the remaining books of the series. It’s also, by far, my favorite.
The rest of the series build on that world and its political (and romantic) tensions. While each romantic storyline stands alone, the series is comprised of an overarching story that escalates with each novel. As the blueblood Echelon squeeze more and more blood from the common humans, as they push the mechs further into slavery, you see the stirrings of revolution from the varied and disparate forces. Some even within the Echelon itself. Each book references the previous ones, even the novellas, to a degree that it’s best to read them in order if possible. Blade and Honoria, for example, appear in cameos throughout the series. Those in the Rookery are a family, and as such, they weave in and out of each other’s lives…sometimes to the exasperation of the rest.
With that being said, if you don’t want to fork out the $7+ for the first in the set just to see if the writing style is for you. I’d recommend either checking with your local library for a copy of Kiss of Steel. I know mine has the complete series on ebook. Libraries are a lovely place to discover new-to-you authors without a financial risk. If your library is kinda shitty and doesn’t carry, or can’t get, the first one, I’d suggest buying Tarnished Knight. Out of the two novellas, it’s close enough to the beginning of the series you shouldn’t be too lost reading, it gives you a good feel for the style, the world building, and the characters (though it will be a tad bit spoilery for one fight in Kiss of Steel).
Like any series, I do have my favorites and my not so favorites. Kiss of Steel will always be my fave on this series. Blade is just amazing—he’s dangerous and suave and kind and sexy and *swoon.* Least favorite may be My Lady Quicksilver. I simply didn’t care as much for Mercury as for the other heroines in the series. It’s not bad, it’s just not my favorite.
So, there you have it. A paranormal steampunk romance series full of political intrigue. Grab it. Enjoy it. Then join me in waiting for Mission: Improper, the kick off to the new spin-off series that picks up three years after the end of Of Silk and Steam.
London Steampunk –
Number of Books: Five (with two novellas)
- Kiss of Steel
- Tarnished Knight (novella)
- Heart of Iron
- My Lady Quicksilver
- The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace (novella)
- Forged by Desire
- Of Silk and Steam
Number of Extras: None that I’m aware of though she is working on a spin-off that takes up where this series left off.