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London Steampunk #2

Heart of Iron

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In Victorian London, if you’re not a blue blood of the Echelon then you’re nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict ‘blood taxes’ on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string…

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London’s vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can’t forget…

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena—a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect—he realizes she’s in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With the humanists looking to start a war with the Echelon, Lena and Will must race against time—and an automaton army—to stop the humanist plot before it’s too late. But as they fight to save a city on the brink of revolution, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts…

437 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published May 7, 2013

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About the author

Bec McMaster

62 books3,289 followers
Kidnapped by a dread pirate when she was a child, USA Today Bestselling Author Bec McMaster was raised on myth and legend, and offered her younger siblings to the goblin king many a time. Unfortunately, he did not accept.

Now she writes epic fantasy romance with a dark and sexy twist, which is almost as much fun. She has a secret weakness for villainous heroes, wicked fae princes and dangerous vampires, though in all her daydreams, she’s the one rescuing them.

Bec lives happily-ever-after with her very own hero and princess-in-training in the wilds of Australia, where she can often be found drinking tea or plotting her next travel adventure.

Escape the ordinary at www.becmcmaster.com

Join Bec's mailing list at http://eepurl.com/F_LkD for all the latest news on releases, exclusive excerpts, cover reveals, and epilogues.

Newest Release: CROWN OF DARKNESS (Available now)

Next release: MASTER OF STORMS (Legends of the Storm #5--coming January, 2021)

Where to start?

If you want deliciously dark fae princes, then try Dark Court Rising or Court of Dreams.

For sexy dragon shifters, see Legends of the Storm.

Sorcery and magic?
Try the Dark Arts series.

Kick-bustle ladies-saving-the-day steampunk romance?
Then check out London Steampunk and the London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy series.

For rocket-fuelled post-apocalyptic romance with a twist on the werewolf theme, then read the Burned Lands.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 587 reviews
Profile Image for Jill.
600 reviews1,362 followers
April 16, 2013

4.5 stars

When Lena Todd left Whitechapel a year ago, she wanted her independence. And to put distance between herself and Will Carver, her brother-in-law's bodyguard. As an apprentice at Mandeville's Clockwork Emporium, Lena acts as a go-between and spy for the humanists. Her ability to enter into Echelon society, allows her to gather intelligence against the ruling blue bloods.

Will Carver, infected at five years of age by the loupe virus, caged and exhibited for the next ten years, owes his life to Blade who freed him. Now Blade's right-hand man and protector, Will has been trying to ignore the attraction to Lena, Blade's sister-in-law for the last three years. Afterall, Lena is human and Will, a verwulfen. Infection by contact is possible, and there is no way that Will would ever put Lena at risk of contracting the virus.

There's a lot happening in this second book in the London Steampunk series. Set in 1879, it all makes for a riveting and exciting instalment though. It's a great follow-on to the first book, building on the alternate world that began in Kiss of Steel. We also get to see a fair bit of Blade and Honoria, the main characters from the first book and find out some changes in their lives.

This series by new author Bec McMaster, is well-written, well-plotted, well-paced with characters who are three-dimensional and whose protagonists are likable. Will especially is such a sweet, tortured character with a horrific past. Tough, yet with a tight rein on the beast within. Loyal, faithful, loving. He is the complete hero. Lena, though likable, acts a little daft at times, taking on the task of spy in this dangerous world. Together they make a delightful couple.

With a number of potential candidates introduced for continuing stories and HEAs, I look forward to reading more of this creative series. For readers who also enjoy the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan and the Blud series by Delilah S. Dawson, I think will also enjoy this London Steampunk series. A clever and entertaining combination of historical romance, steampunk, paranormal and alternate history.

Steam: 3

ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks (Casablanca) via NetGalley

Profile Image for Lana Reads.
440 reviews163 followers
August 11, 2020
It was good. I paused in the middle, because it dragged somewhat, but I'm glad I came back after a while.

For whatever reason, my affection for Werewulfen is greater than for vampires, and I loved almost everything about this book: the characters, their chemistry and the story behind all of it... The change and the character growth Lena went through were well done, even if Will and his back and forth made me roll my eyes for a bit there.

All in all, a lovely addition to the series, I'm already in the middle of the third book and it's even better.
Profile Image for Birjis.
431 reviews303 followers
May 24, 2020
I like werewolves more than vampires, their ability to shapeshift to leave it's human body and become animal with an animal soul, their imtimate connection with their soul mate, also their physical appearence, the arch of their eyebrows and claws, all of these make me swoon and imagine myself a werewolf mate. Here verwulfen doesn't shapeshift but they have huge physique. A well-written plot of Will and Lena, another two unlikely pairs set in a phenomenal worldbuilding taking us in a wonderful imaginative world of Bec McMaster. No disappointment, no flaws just an awe of the background description.

Lena decides to join the society with her half-brother Leo Barrons where she is a debutante looking for a Blueblood to become his thrall and partly because to stay away from a certain verwulfen to whom she was facinated since she was a little girl of seventeen years. After being rebuffed, she was hurt. Her determination for independence and talent to piece clockworks put her in danger and in a degree of misunderstanding. Echelon has changed, Lena's finds her interests changing too. In a haste of emotional turmoil she joins a group - humanist, she finds the group is not rational as she thought it is.

Will is fiercely loyal and true to his cause. When Lena barges into his life - his space, Will's attraction to her was surprising. Having sworn of woman (because of his past) Will was confused of his warring emotions. Knowing his attraction to her could be dangerous, Will rejects Lena and moves out of the Warren. There is a reason they can't be together and Will wasn't going to put Lena in danger.

Lena may seem immature and Will can be frustative of his rejections but this imperfections drive them to succumb to their true feelings. There is a plot. The vampires and verwulfen are to sign a contact, the humanists and mechanoids wants equal rights in society. The story doesn't give enough intrigue on the political plays but this book shows the beginning of politics. I can understand the background description much better after reading this book. By reading few of Bec McMaster's books I can now understand how she navigates her stories. The books are better to be read in order to understand the plot.
Profile Image for Saint Monique.
385 reviews166 followers
August 23, 2017
5 golden stars

I can't believe that Heart of Iron was actually even better than the first book. (And I loooved Kiss of Steel) I'm very much enjoying this series, like in a way that I would gladly live in that Victorian Steampunk London. Preferably with a verwulfen for my protection of course.

Will and Lena were a lovely couple. I was half in love with Will in the first book already. He was fiercely protective of the people he considered his family, and it was sad to see how he struggled with feelings he had for Lena and couldn't show them. Lena was a little annoying in the previous book, but she had a hard time dealing with changes in her life, so it was to be expected. Both of them just needed a small push to finally admit their feelings.

“I’m so cold,” she whispered. “And you’re so warm. Please.”
“Me shirt’s drenched.”
“Then take it off.”
Something dark and merciless flashed through his gaze. He sucked in a deep breath. Golden eyes burned in the dark of the night.
“Please,” she whispered. “Just for a moment. Just to warm my sheets.” If she shivered a little more than was strictly necessary… Well, he would never need to know that.


I loved everything about their relationship. First, the angst and then that careful tiptoeing around each other and burning passion. You could just feel their connection even when they were exchanging murderous glares. And the dance was so beautiful.

description

The Scandinavian delegation was interesting. I hope we will see them again in following books. Especially Eric pretty please (and this has nothing to do with the fact that I totally pictured him like Bjorn from The Vikings 😉) I don't know yet what to think about humanists and their leader Mercury but I sure can't wait to get my hands on Jasper Lynch, well on his book at least.
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,447 reviews1,162 followers
February 22, 2018
There's so much going on...

Like the first book in this series, I found it a bit overwhelming trying to keep up. I think it was probably even worse listening instead of reading. Lots of different characters to meet or see again, world-building and trying to picture the scenes. Saying that, I really like the fast paced, heart pounding and exciting storyline. The characters are interesting, the world building riveting and the connection between all the characters is easy to "see".

It's a bit like a paranormal, a bit like a historical and a wee bit fantastical too. All of these together make it a story that is captivating.

The narrator does an OK job and I had no problems recognising a change in character or a male or female voice.

Another fantastic listen from the Romance Package and another crossed off my Want To Read list.
Profile Image for Melanie A..
1,029 reviews376 followers
June 25, 2018
4 STARS!
Will was the most dangerous man he'd ever met, but his protective instincts overrode his violent ones. A wolf to his core.
YAY! This PNR steampunk world Bec McMaster has created is so addictive; I'm loving it!

The story continues with Honoria's sister, Lena, and Blade's right-hand man, Will, who've been dancing around each other for the last three years.

Will, who was infected with the loupe virus as a child and spent most of his life locked in a cage, is still struggling years later to figure out where he belongs.
He owed Blade the world, but a part of him chafed at the constrictiveness of his life, something hungry and yearning lurked inside his heart and he didn't know what it was or how to fix it.
Lena, who's always lived in her older sister's shadow, is also searching for her place in the world.
For all her hatred of the Echelon, she'd conformed to their rules. She'd let them define who she was. What she thought. What she dared to do. Her very own cage.
I loved how the author was able to draw parallels between these two very different characters, a 'violent' verwulfen and a human debutante. And the way they were brought together, amid a fast-moving plot that was full of PNR goodness...
He glanced away in order to hide his eyes from the newcomers and give himself a chance to leash the beast inside him. It rode close to the surface of his skin today.
...romance...
Every emotion, every hope, dream, and despair she thought she'd kept hidden from him was betrayed by her scent.
... and humor...
Will shot her a dark look. "I ain't gonna mince around like one of them puff-shirted vultures."
...made for some fabulously entertaining reading.

To me, this series feels a lot like a combination of two other series I'm reading right now: Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter and Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane. Though not quite on par with those two writers, I find that while Hoyt and Singh leave me feeling a bit drained and needing a break, McMasters leaves me feeling energized and immediately ready for more. She has a 'light' touch that I really enjoy...

Book 3 here I come!
Profile Image for Korrie’s Korner.
1,003 reviews13.7k followers
December 22, 2022
Hot damn have I struck gold with this series!! It’s a mix of dark & gritty goodness, with paranormal mixed throughout. Did I mention sexy asf too! Someone gimme a glass of water! Brilliant story and heat equals GOLD!

“You know I love you,” he said. Her body quivered against his, but he pressed a finger to her lips, stalling her. “I would die for you,” he told her. “I’d kill for you. I faced down mechanical squid, rampagin’ humanists, and lessons in etiquette for you. I danced at a ball for you.”
Profile Image for Annie .
2,426 reviews803 followers
June 6, 2013
Bec McMaster has a unique way of luring readers in. The worldbuiling is phenomenal, the kind that is only limited by the boundaries of the imagination. McMaster continues to step over that line and creates a vastly unique and utterly vivid world that transports readers into another place. Blending together steampunk elements in a traditional historical setting is the soil in which McMaster uses to grow and bloom wonderful surprises for her readers.

Not a surprise is the brooding, mysterious Will Carver whom I fell in love with instantly. Will wants nothing more than to be seen as an equal, however being loupe prevents that. Therefore, he sees his curse as a disease, something that he wishes he didn't possess, even though it clings to him. This conflict is explored more fully later on in the book in a way that made me completely believe in the romance.

McMaster has completely won me over. HEART OF IRON is so impressive, it deserves a seal of excellence! Like moths to a flame, readers will be drawn to the world and characters McMaster has created. Make room on your keeper shelves because the London Steampunk series is your first class ticket to another mesmerizing world!

Read this review in its entirety at Fresh Fiction
Profile Image for Kate V.
1,048 reviews79 followers
October 8, 2022
DNF - I shelved this a long time ago and never picked it back up. I couldn’t get into it unfortunately.
Profile Image for Bj.
1,217 reviews263 followers
July 9, 2016
4 "Verwolfen" Stars for the story and narration!

This is my third dalliance with steampunk romance and I'm still loving the hybrid between a historical, paranormal and a science-fiction romance in an alternate version of the 19th Century British Victorian era. Steampunk romance combines many of my favorite romance sub-genres which keeps me thoroughly entertained with both the world building and the dynamic characters. Moreover, in Heart of Iron, we get a look at a new type of paranormal being, the verwolfen (which appears to be something of a mix between a werewolf and a highlander/berserker with unnatural brute strength).

Please note though that this series should be read in order, as the underlying world continues to evolve over each sequential read. That said, the romance is completely contained within this book, so from a romance perspective it could be read as a stand-alone, though for maximum enjoyment of the political arc that spans the series, I suggest that you read or listen to Kiss of Steel first.

Lena Todd, the heroine of this story, is the sister of Honoria, the heroine of the first book. Lena, a human and the younger of the two sisters, has left the home of Honoria and Blade, fleeing what she believes is unrequited love for Will Carver, Blade's best friend and right-hand man.

Instead, Lena takes residence with her half-brother, Leo Barrons (though the Echelon does not know this secret connection), where she becomes a debutante looking for a thrall contract--(a Blueblood protector who provides sanctuary in exchange for blood). But looks can be deceiving and Lena's interests in the Blue Bloods and the Echelon has a more clandestine rationale as well--she's a humanist (a revolutionary group that wants to overthrow the rule of the BlueBloods) and has agreed to enlist her services to help their cause.

However, Will is definitely not immune to Lena's charms. It's just that as a verwulfen he has the loupe--a contagious disease--which means he will never be able to consummate his desires for Lena without potentially turning her into a verwulfen (the transformation of which is extremely painful and many humans never survive the transition).

However, when Will is given an opportunity to free other verwulfen's like himself (verwulfen's were typically taken as slaves and used for fight to death style MMA entertainment by the Bluebloods), by working with the Bluebloods, Will is reunited with the woman he could never forget. And when he learns of her secret political intentions, never mind a nefarious Blueblood who has his sights on making Lena his, Will determines to make sure Lena is safe, no matter the cost. But can there possibly be a happy future for a human and verwulfen?

Alison Larkin provides an adept narration for the large cast in Heart of Iron. While I have to say that Ms. Larkin's choice for the various characters may not be my absolute favorite, she does do the story justice. In that regard, Ms. Larkin provides an appropriately accented voice for these British characters, from the high society Bluebloods, like Leo Barrons, to the lower class, rookeries' residing members, which include Will and Blade, providing authenticity to the story that Ms. McMaster pens and providing the ability to differentiate between the classes by just Ms. Larkin's voice.

Ms. Larkin also does a good job at pacing her delivery for easy understanding and heightening of the effect of the various action and suspense scenes.

All in all, Heart of Iron advances the suspense arc of the London Steampunk series and provides a heart-felt story. Being a fan of the underdog, I particularly was sympathetic to Will's difficult lot in life, and was rooting for him to get his HEA. Now I can't wait to continue on with book 3 in this series, My Lady Quicksilver.

Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews582 followers
November 30, 2022
Heart of Iron is the second book in the London Steampunk series, and it’s even better than Book one.

I loved book one; I thought it was great, but somehow, this surpassed it.

While most of the book one took place in the Rookeries, most of the events in this book took place in the heart of the Echelon; it gave the reader an idea of how the blue blood acts.

They are even worse than human aristocracy and nobles.

The events in this book took place three years after book one. The plot follows Lena and Will; what makes their love even better is that they have known each other for over three years.

They are attracted to each other but can't be together at first; when they discover why they overcome it and live happily ever after.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,619 reviews994 followers
May 15, 2019
B+/4.5 stars Read for the May prompt "Backlist Glom" (author with more than one book in your TBR) in the 2019 TBR.

Bec McMaster has created a detailed and original world for her London Steampunk series, a steam-powered but recognisable version of Victorian London that is populated by humans, mechanoids and blue bloods and ruled over by the Echelon.  When I reviewed the first book, Kiss of Steel, I gave a brief outline of the London Steampunk world, so I won’t repeat that here; I’ll assume that if you’re reading this review you know what blue bloods, mechs and verwulfen are and what the Echelon is (and if you don’t, just click on the link above to find out. Or better still, read the books!)  Although each novel features a different central couple, there’s an overarching plot running throughout the series, which means it’s helpful to read them all in order – and there are likely to be spoilers in this review.

Heart of Iron is the second book the series, and it takes place about three years after the events of Kiss of Steel. In that book, we first met the Todd siblings – Honoria, Lena and Charlie – and Honoria, who had worked alongside their scientist father as he attempted to find a cure for the Craving Virus found her HEA with Blade, a rogue blue blood who has made an empire of his own among the rookeries of the East End.  Honoria’s sister Lena never felt at home in the Warren (as Blade’s home is known); not scientifically minded in the way that Honoria was, she was usually overlooked at home, and was brought up on lessons on etiquette and things young ladies should know, prepared for a life in blue blood society.  When the Todds moved to the Warren, seventeen-year-old Lena became fascinated by Will Carver, the big, handsome verwulfen who was Blade’s right hand man, but when, one night, she gathered her courage and kissed him, Will rebuffed her and “he told me he would tolerate my childish little games for Blade’s sake, but that he would prefer it if I didn’t throw myself at him.”  Hurt but determined not to show it, Lena left Whitechapel shortly afterwards with the intention of making her delayed début and returning to society.  Moving into her half-brother Leo’s London mansion as his ward (Leo Barrons is the heir to the Duke of Caine, and can never publicly acknowledge his relationship to the Todds), Lena plunges herself into the social whirl, a whirl which can be an extremely dangerous place for young women like her, who are seen as easy pickings for any blue blood lord until they sign a thrall contract with one, exchanging blood rights for his protection.

But while Lena moves in that dangerous world by night, she is also determined to gain a degree of independence, and to that end, continues to produce incredibly detailed, skilfully-wrought clockwork pieces for Mr. Mandeville, the man to whom she’d once been apprenticed.  Through him, Lena has become involved – albeit peripherally – with the growing humanist movement, who want to oust the Echelon and gain the rights and opportunities they are currently denied.  Lena principally acts as a messenger, carrying encrypted messages from the humanist leader known only as ‘Mercury’ (messages she receives via Mandeville) to the humanists’ contact within the Echelon, whose true identity is also unknown to her.

Will no longer lives at the Warren either, having left the day after Lena kissed him.  He’s still Blade’s muscle, the ‘Beast of Whitechapel’, and visits regularly – although he always times his visits so that he never meets Lena there.  His rejection of her was never because he didn’t want her; he did and still does, but there’s a reason verwulfen are forbidden from taking human mates and Will has no intention of putting Lena in danger.  He was infected with the loupe virus when he was just five years old and it almost killed him; he was then sold to a travelling showman who caged and beat him and exhibited him as a freak. He refuses to risk infecting Lena or to subject her to the horrors and indignities he suffered simply for being who and what he was.

There’s a really well-conceived sub-plot in the book concerning the political manouevering required to broker a treaty between the Echelon and the Scandinavian verwulfen clans against the growing threat posed by fanatical factions in France and Spain.  Barrons asks Will if he will act as a kind of liaison and help win over the more hard-line factions in the Scandinavian party; in exchange, the Echelon will revoke the law that outlaws verwulfen and create a new one that will give verwulfen the same rights as blue bloods. Will isn’t used to mixing in political circles and isn’t comfortable with the idea, but the promised rewards are too good to pass up. He agrees to the proposal – and then asks for Lena’s help to teach him how the ins and outs of blue blood society, not because he longs to spend time with her (hah – you tell yourself that, Will!) but because it will mean he can keep an eye on her and protect her from unscrupulous predators.   Lena decides to use the opportunity to get a bit of her own back on Will, to torture him a little with her nearness and a little flirtation - only to find it backfiring as she realises she’s as desperately attracted to him as she ever was.

Having read the spin off series – London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy - I was pleased to meet some of the characters who will play main roles in those stories, most notably Adele Hamilton, who notoriously entraps the enigmatic Duke of Malloryn (who also makes notable appearances here) into marriage.  There are also appearances by a number of the other secondary characters who move seamlessly in and out of the series; another of the things I so enjoy about this author’s work is the way she never shoe-horns in secondary characters just for the sake of it and they’re all integral to the story.

I liked both Will and Lena, although sometimes I found Lena a little too impetuous and apt to leap before she looked.  Will on the other hand… *sigh*…  is your classic big, brooding and tortured hero who will stop at nothing to keep his lady-love safe, even if it means denying himself the only thing he has ever truly wanted.  On the surface, they’re constantly at odds, but beneath, they’re a seething mass of warring emotions that neither knows how to deal with. I did wish Will had told Lena the real reason behind his rejection earlier than he does, but that’s really my only niggle.  Mostly, their romance is really well done; the sexual tension and chemistry between them burns bright and the eventual love scenes are sexy and romantic.

Bec McMaster again achieves a terrific balance between the various different elements of her story, combining a sensual romance with intriguing plotlines and memorable characters.  Heart of Iron is another terrific read and the London Steampunk series deserves a place on any romance fan’s bookshelf.
Profile Image for Dawn.
971 reviews215 followers
September 1, 2016
++Spoilers++ (UPDATED REVIEW IN CAPS)

4.5 stars

My one regret is not reading this in order. I plan to go back now and read the first. (YOUN DON'T NEED TO READ THE FIRST, AND IT IS NOT AS GOOD AS THIS ONE..I'D SAY SKIP #1)

This can be a stand alone, but I felt like I missed out on alot by reading this one first. (IT IS PERFECT AS A STAND ALONE. READING THE FIRST GIVES LITTLE MORE INSIGHT)

I am so impressed with this book that I plan on reading all of the books in this series regardless of triggers. This, as my friends will know, means A LOT! (THINKING TWICE ABOUT THAT. I DON'T CARE FOR BLADE'S ARROGANCE IN BOOK 1)

My review is going to be brief, because lately I have not been up to writing detailed reviews as I usually do. Just my present mood of late. But to be honest, there is little I have to say.

The world building is very good. The atmosphere is of a historical flavor mixed with a bit of paranormal vampireish/werewolfish (not a shifter read) and clearly has steampunk/sci-finess.

Nice political conflicts, believable plot, characters and relatively decent bad guys who don't come off as too cartoonish.

Nice steady pace with great momments that left me on the edge of my seat.

(QUESTION: HOW COME BLADE NEVER GETS INFECTED WITH THE LOUPE SINCE HE DRANK FROM WILL IN THE FIRST BOOK? THIS IS A BIG PLOT HOLE AND SO FAR IT HAS NOT BEEN RESOLVED)

The whole story including the characters were 3 dimensional, top that off will a perfect hero and it equals success in my eyes.

I would definately recommend to friends, and plan to read the others in this series.

Safety

Hero - Virgin
Heroine-Virgin
Cheating-No - They are each others first, last and only
OW/OM - depends on how you define it. Yes there are others interested in the MC's but they don't get anywhere with them.
Rape- Grey area. The heroine was forced by a "blueblood"-- he drank her bood without her consent and she fought him while he did so..... Rape of the flesh - no.
Violence-Yes- some graphic details nothing horrible
Cursing-Yes (I think) but not much
Sex-Yes.. very well done. Steamy and a bit erotic but not over the top. There are quite a few, but it takes time to get them.
Adultery-No
Marriage- To be seen but talked about
Baby-not in this book
HEA/ILY's Yes to both
Profile Image for Mara.
2,467 reviews228 followers
July 19, 2013
I side with those who didn't fall hard for this book. I have loved London Steampunk 1 (to the point of actually buying it also on paper). But this sequel has nothing of the original, except the world. Which I admit is great, and the reason the book still gets 3 stars.

The main couple are a bunch of teenegers.Lena seems a spoilt brat and has the intelligence of one too. Will, well, what about him. I liked him more than her. But given I disliked her for most of the book, there's not much to this statement. If she is stupid, vain, and immature (plus naive which contrast strongly with her world and past), he is the silent, brooding type. In both cases there's not much sense to them. How could she be this naive with her past? How can he says he loves her, if he keeps hurting her? A simple explanation would have helped her understanding. There was no secret to protect, so why the hot and cold attitude? Meh

The second half of the book improved, but there were still things that made no sense to me. They were just different from the main couple. I admit being confused by the plot, what was exactly happening with the humanists? and the spy in the echelon? And what was the role of the Norwegian? As a placeholder?

Nor I understood how a man who was considered a slave (nothing has been signed) could be made ambassador. Nor how could you convince a Prince to name one on sight.
Profile Image for GigiReads.
365 reviews91 followers
November 7, 2022
“Look at me,” he said, the predator within him riding just under the surface. Cavendish was helpless to disobey. “If you ever come near her again I’ll kill you. And it won’t be quick.” He smiled and Lena shivered. There was a wealth of viciousness in that smile. “Don’t think there’s anywhere you can hide. I can get to you, no matter how many guards you think you have. Do you understand?”

Meet my new book boyfriend Will Carver. He has negative zero chill. Zip. Zero. Nada. No chill is to be found when it comes to Lena. He's feral, obsessed, and pining so hard that he's basically a walking forest. He's also a werewolf, sort of. In this universe, werewolves are infected by a virus that kills almost everyone it infects. The few that survive become verwulfen and are highly infectious. Not only that, they are treated like trash and used as sideshows where they are tortured for the amusement of mouth breathers. My darling Will is terrified that he will inadvertently infect the object of his affection.

Lena is a society darling. After finally crawling out of the gutter after her sister married Blade she has dedicated herself to finding a wealthy protector. But Lena is hiding dangerous secrets, behind her pretty face there's a rebel willing to fight with the revolutionaries to topple the vampire ruling class. This puts her in danger. Will is suspicious of her activities and becomes her protector even though the close proximity is driving his possessive inner wolfie up the wall. When an important treaty is to be signed between the Scandinavian verwulfen and the ruling British vamps, Will is volunteered to be the ambassador. Naturally, my ferocious wolfie is barely housebroken so he needs gentleman lessons. Enter the belle of society, Lena. She has pined for Will ever since she was a poor lass struggling to survive in the rookery. When she shot her shot as a young girl, he very firmly pushed her away and made sure she would never think of him again.

This is PEAK unrequited love. Pining from both sides and reader, it is everything my romance-loving heart could ever desire. Paired with Hates Everyone But Her and his murdery tendencies... Sheer kryptonite.

“He scares you,” Will admitted, his voice lowering. “Do you want me to kill him for you?” 😭

I not only loved the tropes and the premise but I love the world-building, the author's voice, and the side characters. The author is like a Nalini Singh and Lisa Kleypas smoothie and so far this series is shaping up to be an all-time favorite.

“You know I love you,” he said. Her body quivered against his, but he pressed a finger to her lips, stalling her. “I would die for you,” he told her. “I’d kill for you. I faced down mechanical squid, rampagin’ humanists, and lessons in etiquette for you. I danced at a ball for you.”

I am dead and gone. Five enthusiastic stars! Must be read in order but book one is also a heart smushing read.

Tropes
Bodyguard
Mutual pining
Slow burn
Virgin hero
Grumpy hero

Five enthusiastic stars
🔥🔥/5
Profile Image for Ursula.
584 reviews137 followers
October 2, 2017
Whew! What a ride! This lady can write- and she got me hooked.

This was a great read: exciting story, fascinating world created and intriguing characters. If you like steam punk or fantasy with a solid romance thrown in, then you will enjoy this.
I have not read a lot of steam punk because the whole machine thing has never really interested me overmuch, but I have read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi so thought I would give this one a whirl after a couple of GR friends talked about this series.

It is a curious mix of vampire, werewolf, partly mechanised humans and full humans all trying to survive in a steam punk version of late Regency/early Victorian London. I am not a vampire fan- Twilight just made me roll my eyes in between laughing- and although I enjoyed movies like Van Helsing and Underworld, it was more for the kick-arse heroine (and Hugh Jackman *sigh*). At least here the vampires are not truly the Undead so much as infected with a virus that has them craving blood. They are still horrible. And the Ruling Class in this version of London. So I wanted them all to die :)

Our heroine, Lena, is human and our hero, Will, is a werewolf. That is, he is infected with the loupe virus, meaning he has enhanced senses and strength together with a berserker kind of temper. They are very sweet and tortured by the raging desire and love for each other that can never be fulfilled. Lena was a bit impulsive at times but I kept remembering that she was only 20. I made a lot of mistakes at 20, too. And she does learn and get better! Will is just wonderful. What a hero!

Anyways, all I can say is it was a thoroughly fun ride and I found myself well and truly immersed in this world. I have not read the first book (and don't feel I need to now) but am probably going to the read the third because it has aroused my curiosity, even though I don't know if I will like the MCs so much.
But I have a raging need to see the Echelon destroyed and those Blue-Bloods vanquished- maybe I have the loupe virus too :)
Profile Image for -ya.
518 reviews66 followers
August 3, 2016
3.5-stars
I enjoyed Bec McMaster’s debut novel Kiss of Steel. Set in the rookeries of London, the author built an interesting world that captured the feel of Victorian era. In Heart of Iron, the storyline is more about the geopolitical conflict, and humanist revolution. While both MCs are likable, I find the plot of Lena’s involvement in the conflict between humanists revolution and Echelon rather weak, and some of Lena's decisions seem a bit obtuse. Will is a classic tortured hero with broken backstory. A wolf to the core. For my friends who enjoy reading a protective, devoted hero, William certainly won’t disappoint.

The introduction of Mercury, the leader of humanist revolution and master of Nighthawks Lynch is an awesome setup for the next book:D
Profile Image for Lonna | FLYLēF.
156 reviews186 followers
December 1, 2015
FLYLeF Book Reviews

Original Post: Heart of Iron (London Steampunk 2) at FLYLēF (www.flylef.com)

TANTALIZINGLY SEXY WITH a degree of danger, Heart of Iron (London Steampunk 2), by Bec McMaster, skillfully blends steampunk and paranormal romance into a captivating and entertaining adventure.

Helena Todd – or Lena – appears to be a flirtatious debutante mingling in London’s dangerous blue blood elite world – the Echelon. Nobody suspects her of being a sympathizer for the humanist organization determined to destroy the Echelon, making her the perfect spy.

Will Carver, “The Beast,” is ruthless and deadly. Fiercely loyal, Will’s priority is to keep Whitechapel safe from the Echelon. When the beautiful Lena visits Whitechapel, Will accidentally uncovers a cryptic message on her very similar to the one he pulled from a rebel suspect. He realizes she’s in danger. Stubborn as she is beautiful, Will must learn that the way to gain Lena’s trust is not through brutish demands but a game of seduction – a game he is determined to win.

I like Heart of Iron even more than Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk 1) because I connected with Lena and Will better. I appreciate their imperfection and enjoy their growth. Lena is initially introduced as a slightly immature, young lady with a grudge against Will for an unreturned kiss some years ago. And Will is a werewulfen easily driven beyond reason. But as the story unfolds, Ms. McMaster grooms Will into a hero of ages and matures Lena with a “heart of iron.”

Will and Lena’s romance was very sensual and tasteful. On the surface, both are constantly at odds with one another. The tension is pleasant with a bit of give and take. I didn’t feel like I wanted to strangle them for their insufferable blindness to the other’s true intentions. When a key event puts Lena’s life in danger, the walls they resurrected around their hearts come crashing down and they finally succumbed to their true feelings for one another. Their story becomes immensely better as their dialogue becomes more honest. Their flirtatious conversations were sweet with a touch of humor. It will no doubt appeal to romance fans as their happiness is very infectious and dare I say…cute? Yes!

Though I’m happy to see Will and Lena at peace, a far greater threat is brewing in the streets of London as vampires, werewolves, humanists, and a clockwork army are on the verge of a battle. I look forward to finding out what happens next in My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk 3).
Profile Image for Fathima.
634 reviews345 followers
May 26, 2013
Will kissed her lips lightly, chasing away the questioning tone. “You know I love you,” he said. Her body quivered against his, but he pressed a finger to her lips, stalling her. “I would die for you,” he told her. “I’d kill for you. I faced down mechanical squid, rampagin’ humanists, and lessons in etiquette for you. I danced at a ball for you.”

Bec McMaster does it again !!!

 photo i_love_steampunk_by_catherinetterings-d51wuio_zps3bbfbeb8.jpg

Heart Of Iron is a perfect mix of action , romance and steampunk !!! I love the London Bec has created in this series .

Will is a werewulfen , and boy can be an alpha male or what . Lena pretty much grated my nerves at times , but they make a perfect pair . All the times they fought , one could easily look into as foreplay !

Definitely looking forward to the third book in this series !!!
Profile Image for  Simply Sam ツ.
520 reviews76 followers
October 20, 2017
Well, she did it again guys. Ms. McMaster just keeps adding to the fun of her London Steampunk series. This story follows Lena and Will's "wrong side of the track" love story. You're introduced to them in Book 1, as Lena is the sister to the female protag and Will is the right-hand-manboy of the male lead. This story takes place 3 years after the first book, plenty of time for that initial interaction and attraction to simmer and brew.

Will is a gruff and surly verwulfen who prowls the streets, or rooftops rather, of the Whitechapel rookery, cracking heads and maintaining order for the blueblood Blade (who is techinically a rogue-- an unauthorized blueblood, hence an outcast and not a true member of the aristocracy). This is the seedy district, the underbelly if you will, where society's rougher lot make their home. Blade is the de facto peacekeeper and protector of the area, and Will is the muscly man, er, verwulfen, at his side. Lena, a human, has left that chapter of her life behind and has now resumed her pampered lifestyle with the Echelon, hoping to land a wealthy blueblood protector. At least that's what Will believes. He hoped never to see Lena again, to let her live out her fancy life with her fancy dresses and fancy balls, but of course fate didn't get the memo, and even if she did she didn't give a flying flip what Will claims to have wanted. Fate does what fate will. So, naturally the two of them are thrust into a dicey situation together involving the blueblood aristocracy, a sect of humanists and mechs who want to at last have equal rights, and a tribe of verwulfen with which the blueblood aristocracy hope to finally ally with. All this political intrigue. Oh my! Not to mention those heated stares and illicit touches....

There's a lot of forbidden desire and angsty "I want to but I can't, but I need to, but I won't, but I can't help myself, but I really shouldn't" going on in this one. But Ms. McMaster has a way of sucking you in, and the world she has created is really pretty cool and interesting. I've read the first two books in the spin-off series (I know, I started bass akwards) and I love how she's developed and intertwined all of these characters. It's been a great hook and one that's going to keep me coming back for more.

Keep doing what you're doing and I'm going to keep reading the heck out of these books!
Profile Image for alicat ♡➹♡.
651 reviews6 followers
May 18, 2022
Wow, this book was great! Will and Lena were decent in the last book but the were both immature - I was really pleased to see this book was set three years later.

Lena was a great heroine, out to do whatever she can to help not only herself but her family and others in her restricted circumstances. She's had a huge crush on Will since she met him and hid her feelings behind silly flirtations. She lives with her half-brother (the relationship is a secret to society) and has become a spy for the humanist movement in London.

Will is infected with the loupe virus which provides great strengths and other shifter tendencies, but not full on shifting. He has also been infatuated with Lena since meeting her and is terrified of going to far with her and exposing her to his disease or hurting her. He has avoided her, but they are thrown back together by the danger that is pervasive in their world.

Their relationship was sweet, I love how they were both in love with each other for ages. Will was really hot in this, their sexy moments were freaking hot.

I loved seeing Will jump to Lena's rescue




Profile Image for NiteReader.
582 reviews53 followers
July 4, 2013
Why oh why???
I loved Blade and Honoria's story and had such high hopes for this novel. But this one was filled with too much world building and background story that Lena and Will almost became part of the scenery. Now I'm on the fence about the next book, I guess I'll wait and see the reviews.
Profile Image for Suzanne (Under the Covers Book blog).
1,730 reviews534 followers
February 21, 2013
Lena Todd knows she is prey in a den of predators, something that becomes more apparent the longer she moves through the Echelon's world as a debutante; however, she is also a perfect spy, what Blueblood would expect the supposedly empty headed and flirtatious Lena of working for the Humanists? But it soon it becomes hard to see who is friend and who is foe, and the only time she ever feels safe is when she is around Will Carver a Verwulfen who she has had a tendre for since first laying eyes on him, even if he has always pushed her away.

Kiss of Steel was one of my favourite reads last year, it was packed full of action, adventure, romance and some fantastic characters, so I was a little apprehensive about Heart of Iron could it live up up to my extremely high expectations? In short...YES! It absolutely did, it may have even surpassed them.

Heart of Iron had everything I loved about the previous book, the action and romance as well as a fast paced and interesting plot and has starting developing the world the Bec McMaster has created and added new exciting elements and character in. This book kept me turning the pages not just because I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen between Lena and Will but also because I wanted to see what would happen in next in the dangerous world that they have been plonked in.

But the romance...normally I don't like books about barely 20 and beautiful debutantes but I found I really liked Lena , she may never be my favourite heroine but I also wasn't overwhelmed with the need to stab her in the eye with something sharp and shiny so it was a win. I did love Will though, he. Was. Delicious. All growly and broody and intense, it gives me the shivers! They made a great couple together, they both saw beneath the veneer that the other showed to the world and made a great couple.

This was a fantastic book, with an awesome cover and I can't wait to see what happens next, I am definitely going to be picking up the next book in the series and recommend you give the first book a try if you haven't already.
Profile Image for Juliette Cross.
Author 33 books2,229 followers
July 4, 2017
Another fabulous addition to the London Steampunk series. Truly love this world. I plan to savor each book as I work my way through it.

Recommended to readers of the dark, gritty, and super sexy paranormal.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,095 reviews563 followers
March 4, 2015
Originally posted at The Book Nympho 

icon AUDIOBOOK  Icon Steampunk  icon howlinggood 

I highly recommend that you read the novella, TARNISHED KNIGHT before reading HEART OF IRON since there is a few chapters about Will and Lena at the end. The chapters read as a long prologue for HEART OF IRON and gives you a little insight into why Lena and Will left the Warren.

I love the heavy steampunk elements we get with HEART OF IRON. I'm still pretty new to the genre and the fantastical elements in the historical setting is like a character all its own. Lena makes clockwork toys, there's steam-powered carriages and house drones just to name a few of the gadgets.

Bec McMaster has created a great world in her London Steampunk series. First with the Blue Bloods, a race similar to vampires but not to be confused with actual vampires that are Blue Bloods that has crossed into "the fade" where they are mindless, rotting, blood suckers.

Will is a Verwolfen (werewolf), turned not born. He has not been with a woman his whole life because sharing of blood and "manly fluids" will turn someone. Will doesn't know how to deal with Lena's flirtations and his feeling for her.

McMaster brought an exciting story and characters with HEART OF IRON. I really enjoyed the ups and downs that Will and Lena had to go through for their HEA and the progression of the series story ARC that continues to twist and turn. I can't wait to start reading MY LADY QUICKSILVER.
Narration:
HEART OF IRON is my 2nd chance for Alison Larkin as a narrator. I listened to some of KISS OF STEAL (book 1) and wasn't blown away by Larkin's voice but I have a thing about British voices. They tend to bore me. Don't know why but they do. I'm trying to be more open-minded or eared as the case by be and give more British narrators a chance. I think that's one of the main reasons I've not branched out into historical romances on audio.

 
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