Quick & Dirty: A fabulous and fast-paced read that delivers pitch-perfect danger and suspense.
Opening Sentence: The four leaders of Crimson City's glittering vampire world looked rather out of place, dressed in battle armor and crowded into a ramshackle safe house located on the border between vampire and human strata.
Crimson & Steam takes place in Crimson City, which is essentially an alternate Los Angeles. In the beginning of this story, the focus is on Marius Dumont and Jillian Cooper. Marius is the leader of the House of Dumont, and he makes a political move in an attempt to solidify race relations between werewolves and vampires against the humans. Marius is driven by honor and his need to achieve peace for his race, even to the detriment of his love life. Initially, Jillian comes across as pretty pathetic, but ultimately I came to like her character. She ended up being stronger than I expected. When a vampire arrives carrying a deadly virus, Marius and Jillian team up in a race against time to find the cure. Other characters round out the tale like Tatiana Asprey, who is a lot more than meets the eye. She was so emotionally conflicted and confined by the role she is expected to play. I enjoyed reading about her struggles with her identity.
Maverick gives us two tales for the price of one--a parallel story takes place, which is set in Victorian London. This story focuses on Edward Vaughan and Charlotte Paxton. Edward and Charlotte are divided by social class and their relationship is doomed from the start. I absolutely loved their love story. Maverick really captures the time period. Very atmospheric. An event takes place at the Great Exhibition of London that will change the world forever. This basically serves as a back-story and helps the reader get to where we are today in relation to Crimson City. I also really enjoyed this steampunk sub-plot.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. Crimson & Steam has a clever plot and is well written. The characters are well-drawn and engaging. Maverick does an excellent job world-building, detailing the political factions between vampires, werewolves, and humans. Both storylines are seamlessly woven together, adding layers and a foundation for the reader to stay engaged in the story. I'm definitely looking forward to delving deeper into the Crimson City world. Crimson & Steam is the 8th book in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone. The series was created by Liz Maverick, but the following authors also write novels set in this universe: Marjorie M. Liu, Patti O'Shea, Carolyn Jewel, and Jade Lee.
Crimson City Series:
1. Crimson City
2. A Taste of Crimson
3. Through a Crimson Veil
4. A Darker Crimson
5. Seduced by Crimson
6. Crimson Rogue
7. Shards of Crimson
Jill froze, hitched her camera strap more securely on her shoulder and pulled her switchblade from her purse. Then, taking short, deliberate steps, she followed the trail around the corner to the threshold of a small library. The red vanished inside the room, out of her line of sight.
Gripping her blade tightly in her hand, she leaned forward and craned her neck around the doorway. A man lay on the ground, motionless, his eyes bulging out of a horribly contorted face. His mouth, throat, cravat and tuxedo shirt were completely soaked in gore. She felt the stench of blood wash over her.
FTC Advisory: Ms. Maverick provided me with an ARC of Crimson & Steam. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don't receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.