Books like this are why I’m proud to be a romance fan!
Because damn, if Meljean Brook was my gateway drug to parahistorical steampunk, then Bec McMaster is my dealer! This chick writes worlds that are horrifying, sexy, thrilling, and tragic. Not to mention her romance is so good, I’m mad it’s fictional.
Our girl Honoria is on the run, hiding in London’s slums. She’s doing her damnedest to try to survive and keep her bro and sis alive, all while trying to avoid the bad guys. But whoopsy daisy.
Girl ends up attracting the attention of the dude in charge of the slums, and shenanigans ensue.
Our leads cross paths because of a mutual enemy. Blade acts as Honor’s protector, and Honor ain’t happy. Our hero's not educated, but he’s smart, he’s in charge, and most of all, he’s a vampire.
WAIT WAIT WAIT!
Before you start thinking this is another distressed damsel rescued by a pair of pointy teeth, think again.
Honor is the girl I wish EVERY romance heroine was when faced with a shit situation and a hero in pursuit. Life knocks her on her ass but she gets vertical through sheer fortitude. She’s nobody’s victim, she is proud, strong, determined and self reliant.
Hell, half the time it’s Honor rescuing Blade's ass, not the other way round.
Honor: I am tempted to incapacitate him with the hemlock and then castrate him. Lena: I don’t think that would be very wise. And the only knife we own is what I use for the cooking. You’re not using that. Honor: I was planning on using a spoon.
Okay, so she rescues the hero as much as she headbutts with him, but eh, semantics.
This vulnerable badass heroine made me happy faced, but the world building? It stole my damn heart. Yeah, the universe is dark and gritty, sexy and terrifying, but it’s also one we ain’t seen seventy two billion times.
Classism gets an interesting twist in that vampirism is reserved for the rich and titled. It’s an embraced, envied lifestyle...and a virus. A virus that the power hungry and elite willingly self-inflict 'cause they’re idiots.
They’re big dumb dumbs because OH MY GOD VAMPIRES ARE TERRIFYING IN THIS WORLD! You eventually turn into this fetid, maggot-white creature with sickening skin, protruding spines, leaking eyes, razor teeth, and deadly talons!
Seriously, y’all, these vamps don’t play and they read so grotesque and horrifying on page. Every time they were on scene, I got scared.
So if that’s their doomed fate, why would any asshole willing infect themselves?
Well, because that Nosferatu look is their final form and it takes decades to happen. In this world, vampirism comes in stages and Stage 1 is known as being a Blue Blood. (Get it?) These G-rated Vampires are fangless and need blades to crack open veins.
So, as you can imagine, this world has a fascinating social structure! These guys are regulated, so before a Blue Blood can hulk out into a Boss Level Vampire, they get put night-night.
Unless you’re Blade, and some asshole infected you as a sick joke.
Our sexy Cockney accented dude is a hardcore badass with two sidekicks; a Werewolf and a half-man/half-machine. (FYI I heart them.)
That’s some seriously impressive world building and a hella unique spin on the genre. But if none of that is wetting your appetite...then I got you, fangirls. I got you.
I triple dog promise you this OTP is gonna turn your bloomers into TNT!
These two have hawt chemistry, and I don’t just mean in the kinky fun playtime way, either. Blade and Honor traverse a lot of emotional tension before their HEA and your butt is SO invested. This, along with Bec McMaster’s amazing job at getting all up in our character’s heads, is gonna get ass invested.
Every character is carefully crafted. Honoria’s siblings. Blades underlings, like Will and Oshay and Esme. Hell, even the bad guys and background characters read realistically. The writing is smart. The pacing is quick but measured. And, the story? It’s a heart pounding ride of emotional tension topped off with some seriously fun slice-and-dice action.
Kiss of Steel is everything you could want in a novel, but don’t take my word for it; go read it.
That’s your spoiler cue, so LET ME PLEASE STOP BRAINING AND START FANGIRLING!
I had so many favorite moments in the story, like the scenes after Blade and Honor broke into the Institute? Their first feeding and the subsequent smexy time?
HOLY SHIT MY HEART FANGIRL-GASMED! That sexy scene used kinky dialogue to advance both the OTP and the plot! Who knew talking about diaries and secrets while doing the Funtime could be so flippity hot?!
And yes, full disclosure.
My lady pants also smiled during that Man on Man vamp feeding, because OH MY GOD HAWT! Bless Bec McMaster for giving my thirsty ass a straight vampire without a no-dudes-no-homo policy.
Seriously. Bless Bec.
This author wrote a story that ran on raw emotionalism, and that's my catnip. Honor fights so hard against being Blade’s blood thrall, so that when she finally gave in it actually meant something to the plot. She doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want her to not want to despite wanting her to want it all while fighting against his wants!
OH MY GOD, DAMN BOOK IS DAMN GOOD.
I cared so much for these guys, as both a couple and as individuals. While this book is more Honor’s than it is Blade’s, they each have equally difficult emotional traumas to overcome.
It would’ve been nice to get more detail on Blade’s backstory. A lot of its gritty details were a bit glossed over.
But hey! One flaw doesn’t make a bad book.
Kiss of Steel was action packed with scary monsters, a dark world, and a powerful couple. Honestly, if y’all don’t read it then I’m gonna be sad, and you don’t wanna make your friend sad, do you?
If you enjoyed this, wanna come check out my YouTube channel where I do this, but in video form about romance novels and romance Asian dramas?
Ever really wanted to make somebody’s heart spring a leak? Easy enough. Put these 678 pages in their face, thMY FANGIRL IS AT MAXIMUM CAPACITY, Y'ALL!
Ever really wanted to make somebody’s heart spring a leak? Easy enough. Put these 678 pages in their face, then BAM. Mission accomplished.
With a hero-name like Dancer and an evil family trying to murder-death-kill their son for a plot, this was destined to snake my feelings. But truthfully, an action adventure science fiction romance just can't go wrong in Sherrilyn Kenyon's hands.
Everyone, probably: Yeah, yeah, just tell us what the book’s about, would ya?
Right. So, the deal is that Dancer has done pissed off the wrong people and Sumi? She works for those wrong people.
Poor chick is their slave, so she gets sent in Black Ops style to go kidnap Mr. Big Hulking Warrior.
The book's got some external shenanigans, like a few rescue missions and a handful of combat engagements. But, for the most part, this ain't your run-and-gun kind of story. Dancer and Sumi spend lots of time unpacking their shit-tons of personal baggage whilst having sexy boinking and trying to, you know, not die.
While Sumi might not seem like it her first Meet and Greet, this chick is as tough as a damn diamond. Like, girl is hardcore for-realness a professional badass.
“I look forward to ripping out your spine and beating you with it.” - Sumi
*Cue all of my applause!* DAAAAAMN WOMAN!
Still, as hard as she is, this girl’s backstory is as brutal as Dancer’s is sad. Despite their warrior-ing it up all over the place, in the end our OTP are survivors. Please...allow me to give them ALL of my feelings, thank you.
Poor Dancer has his sexy butt tied to Miss Asshole Fiance Chick, and I swear this glitch is psycho-crazy evil, like a female Hitler-In-Space.
Poor Sumi is fighting to get her daughter back, which OMG that gave me a million tears, fears, and cheers.
And, lastly, poor OTP has The Big Evil that’s gunning for both of them.
Born of Fury is character-driven out the ass, with family and culture being huge in this novel. AND I AM SO HERE FOR THIS!
“Family isn't about the blood you share, it's about the people willing to bleed for you.” - Maris.
“Just remember, family isn’t perfect. It’s just perfectly ours.” - Shahara
This. Book. Is. So. Damn. Good!
The various settings and intricate world building and narrative flow, they all cued my fangirl-flailing, but as always, dat humor! It hit my funny bone SO good. Side characters and old favorites alike had my heart going boom boom.
“Shh! I’m being stupid and I have to concentrate for it.” - Nero
“We’re here to petition the Overseer. You’ll have to forgive my bodyguard, he’s a little irritable, but I can’t blame him. I’d be irritable, too, if I went a month without a bowel movement.” - Bastien
DAMMIT I LOVE THOSE BOYS!
But that love don’t hold a pigeon-smidgen to the agapē I was rocking for Dancer. Boy was a damn nuclear force on every mother-flippin' page!
No, really. As in, really really.
1. An alpha protector. 2. A beta personality. 3. A horrendously scarred warrior. ........4. Yes all of my catnip, thank you!
But on top of ALL that glorious fangirl bait, Dancer was a virgin. A VIRGIN OMG DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY THAT MAKES ME?!
His virginity having been so interestingly woven into his cultural identity and backstory was amazing, no doubt. But, GUYS! Reading a story where the heroine’s had the sexy-times but the hero has not?
HAPPY FEMINIST IS HAPPY!
I mean, when you consider the fact that touching Sumi equals death ouchy-ouchy for Dancer...? Can we say next-level?!
“For one touch of your precious hand, I gladly consign myself to death.” - Dancer
Great. Now I'm dead. Purple prose can go gag itself on a lawnmower, because when paired with the story's contextual framing, that was romantic as frickty-frack! But the powerful romance isn't the only thing that’s got me making out with this book.
Characters were constantly tossing out beautiful words of wisdom, dropping profound truth bombs like it was no big.
“Fain taught me early in my life to listen with my eyes and not my ears. Lips and tongue lie. But actions never do. No matter what words are spoken, actions betray the truth of everyone’s heart.” - Dancer
BOOM! Right in my feels! One minute Born of Fury lands a direct hit to my heart with elegantly moving words, and in the next?
Devyn: Guess what? Guess what?! I grew a monkey, Uncle Hauk! Vik: Not that I haven’t been the sacred embryo’s monkey from birth, but this is a little ridiculous. Don’t you agree? Hauk: Vik? Vik: Who else would the bonebag torture THIS badly? I would be more upset about it, but look. Opposable thumbs!
Vik: Got it. Want me to run it? Hauk: Nah. Why don’t you sit there and stare at it for a while? Vik: Syn, could you please remove his anal probe?
Whoomp, there it is. The undeniable proof this novel deserves your eyeballs.
It’s funny, it’s badass, it’s cute. It’s got moments that will rip your heart out in itty-bitty bloody pieces…The heroine beats up the bad guys, the hero is adorable, and both are POC characters.
You, dear reader, got exactly zero excuses to not read Born of Fury. Now shoo.
(If you like my writing voice or you think I’m funny...[or you just really wanna laugh at a fangirl for fangirling]...then SHAMELESS YOUTUBE CHANNEL PLUG IS SHAMELESS! I review romance novels and Asian dramas, so that is a thing and now you know.)