Rating:★★★★ | 423 pages | Casablanca | Historical/Paranormal/Steampunk | 9/4/2012
It’s that time of year where I get around to reading a fantasy romance.
I’m sort of enamored by historical fantasy because while I like the comedy of manners and world-building associated with historicals, I prefer romances that are ploty and action-packed–paranormal historical/steampunks seem to hit that sweet spot.
In this bleak re-imaging of Victorian London, the aristocracy aka Blue Bloods are infected with a virus that offers them superhuman abilities and a taste for blood. They are the Echelon and rule over humans slumming in the rookeries.
Honoria Todd and her siblings have escaped the shining gates of Echelon for the rookery of White Chapel. Blade, an outcast Blue Blood, and his gang rule this rookery and the Todds don’t go unnoticed. The Todd family has secrets that could change the fate of the Echelon forever and Honoria might be able to help him settle a decades-long score.
Overall this was a solid start to a fascinating series. McMaster manages to keep it simple without throwing a ton of “terms” around. Blade, who was born on the streets, is not clean cut and initially Honoria offers him grammar lessons to help “code switch” nothing really comes of this but a majority of Blade’s dialogue is written with a thick working-class accent.
McMaster sets a perfect pace and there is a ton to explore in her world. Come for the world-building, stay for the edge-of-your-seat sword fighting.
This cover . . . is terrible. Like it’s an okay cover but it has nothing to do with the book, the book is only vaguely steampunk related and NOTHING ABOUT THIS COVER SAYS PARANORMAL HISTORICAL VAMPIRES. The audiobook cover is more apropos because there is a lot of focus on how stylish Honoria’s clothe are and on this cover she at least has a fun hat.