Review: Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk #1) by Bec McMaster

September 2, 2012 Review 3

Kiss of Steel

(London Steampunk, #1)
by Bec McMaster

Genre: Steampunk |
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: Netgalley

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; September 1, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 1402270275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402270277


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.

Sexual Content

Several sex scenes


He craves her like no other…

Honoria Todd has no choice. Only in the dreaded Whitechapel district can she escape the long reach of the Duke of Vickers. But seeking refuge there will put her straight into the hands of Blade, legendary master of the rookeries. No one would dare cross him, but what price would he demand to keep her safe?

Ever since Vickers infected him with the craving, Blade has been quicker, stronger, almost immortal—and terrified of losing control of the monster within. Honoria could be his perfect revenge against the duke…or the salvation he never dared to dream of.


KISS OF STEEL reimagines our world with an aristocratic vampire class as the lynchpin that changes everything familiar.  People pay their taxes in blood, medicine strives to discover more about this all important virus, and weaponry scales up to combat a different class of powerful superhumans. Though there are certainly flavors of steampunk in the alternate history, KISS OF STEEL feels much more like a well written paranormal romance to me.

But while advanced gadgets doesn’t get much pagetime, McMaster does explore the medical developments of the time. Calling the ruling class “vampires” is an oversimplification, and is actually incorrect by the mechanics of this world.  I loved the intricacies of blue bloods and vampires, the infected and the changed, all the different permutations of a virus that society doesn’t entirely understand.  And despite the fact that Honoria and Blade are drawn together by a classic, paranormal romance “inexplicable physical attraction”, McMaster provided growth and emotional connection to support turning that sexual chemistry into something more lasting.  There were a few instances where the plot stumbled, mostly concerning the supporting character Barrons, his relationship with Honoria’s father, and his enmity for Vickers.  Those missteps bumped the series from “pre-order” to “wait and see”,  if only because Barrons’s murky motivations made me less interested in him as a future hero.

Even with Barrons low on my list, there are still plenty of intriguing characters I’m hoping to see again.  If the sexually conflicted Will, the duchess of Casavian, or the human queen held captive by her vampire consort are in staring roles, London Steampunk #2 will go to the top of my To Be Read list. Those characters may also be living in a changed landscape, as the culmination of KISS OF STEEL seems like it would send ripples throughout the blue blood world.  A fun romance with interesting world building, I’m looking forward to seeing where London Steampunk goes next.

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3 Responses to “Review: Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk #1) by Bec McMaster”

  1. Keslynn

    I grabbed this as my Discover A New Love monthly selection. Looking forward to diving into the intricate world!

  2. fangs for the fantasy

    I think that this is something I will have to think about. I love steampunk but for the life of me cannot understand of writing a steampunk book that does not involve a lot of gadgets. Doesn’t that pretty much erase the point of steampunk?

    • Julia

      This feels much more “paranormal romance” than steampunk, but at least they ditched some of the more rigid social behaviors along with the gadgets. There is a guy with a prosthetic arm who seems likely to be a hero in a future book, perhaps that will be the installment that focuses on the technological.