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."
Great sequel to 'Kiss of Steel' part of the London Steampunk series.
This is Lena and Will the beast of whitechapel's story. The pair have a history which began in the first book and came to a head in the novella 'Tarnished Knight' when they kissed. It has been a year since that incident and the pair continue to avoid each other however a situation forces them to reconnect igniting the old flame they had both tried to forget.
I have loved reading about Will so I was thrilled we would finally get his story. He is a werewolf and labelled the 'Beast of Whitechapel' with a fearsome reputation which no one dares mess with. He had a terrible childhood, he was sold by his mother and then caged and tormented until Blade his boss saved him. This shaped his life, he is untrusting of people, women especially, anti-social and lives up to his violent reputation. Lena on the other hand is a social butterfly, flirtatious, eloquent, the perfect lady. The pair are total opposites but whenever they are in each other's company they can't ignore the chemistry and tension between them.
The pair bring the best and worst out in each other. Will struggles to contain his beast around Lena making him do stupid things and Lena constantly goads him. However the pair also support each other. Will who has never felt more than a beast begins to see more to his future after encouragement from Lena, and Lena finally has someone to lean on and protect her. I loved reading about them falling, Will turned out to be quite the charmer (unintentional I think) my favourite bit is (view spoiler)
"Don't stare at me," she whispered. "You're still the most beautiful woman I ever clapped eyes on." A pitter-patter in her chest. "You shouldn't say such things." He shrugged. As if it meant nothing to him. Whilst it meant the world to her.
Lena annoyed me slightly when she continually refused to tell people what was going on even though it might be dangerous. However we get to see her grow as a person.
We get to see some old faces in Blade, Honoria, Esme and Rip although briefly. (I've got to say Honoria really annoyed me in this book, I didn't like how she thought she could boss everyone around and she seemed quite insensitive to anyone feelings)
The writing is great, however the old type speech wasn't featured as much in this book which was disappointing. There is plenty of action and mystery. The next book features a new character Rosalind and the leader of the Nighthawks, Lynch. This is becoming one of my favourite series after only 2 1/2 books. Just wished I'd found it later so I didn't have to wait for the next one.
"I will give you the world," he whispered, stroking the hair off her forehead. "I will protect you, I swear. I'll never let you hurt again, I promise. Just come back, Lena. Come back and let me love you."
Lena always wanted to claim her place within the Echelon so she was horrified when her family had to go into hiding in the slums of Whitechapel. Having the chance to go back to polite society and have her debut should be a dream come true but as much as she loves the beautiful dresses and the glittering balls she now sees a much darker and more sinister side to things than she did as an idealistic young girl. She's decided to put her new position to good use though and has become a spy for the humanist movement. Unfortunately the people she has allied herself with may have more sinister motives than she could ever have guessed at and it isn't long before she realises that she's in over her head. Will has spent years trying to avoid the Echelon but when he realises what Lena has got herself caught up in he knows he must do anything he can to protect her. As the passion ignites between them they find each other hard to resist but can Will let go of his fear of hurting her enough to let her into his life as well as his heart?
I loved both Kiss of Steel and the Tarnished Knight novella so I couldn't wait to get started on Heart of Iron and I'm happy to say that it was the best book of the series so far. It is so easy to get caught up in the world that Bec McMaster has created and once I'm there I don't want to leave. I love the historical setting and the added steampunk and paranormal elements that all combine together to create a dark and gritty world. If you haven't started reading these books yet you really don't know what you're missing so grab a copy of Kiss of Steel immediately and dive right in!
I'm going to come right out with it and admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of Lena in the first book, she came across as quite childish and could be very selfish so I wasn't sure how I would get on with her as the heroine of this book. Thankfully reading the prequel to this story in the Tarnished Knight novella had started to change my mind about her and within a few chapters of Heart of Iron I'd grown to really like her. She has actually grown up a lot since the first book and has matured into a young woman who I could easily see myself being friends with. She is fierce and stubborn, protective of her friends and someone who wants to make a difference. Lena has willingly put her life at risk by becoming a spy for the humanist movement and I admired her for the changes she wants to see in the world. She can be quite impetuous and her tendency to jump into things without thinking them through properly can often get her into trouble but at least she is willing to accept help when she needs it.
I already really liked Will so it's no surprise that I fell head over heels in love with him throughout this book. He has had such a difficult life spending years in a cage being stared at and ridiculed before Blade rescued him. Even though he is now technically a free man he is the last remaining verwulfen in London since the rest of his kind were slaughtered and he isn't exactly made to feel welcome or allowed to travel outside of Whitechapel. Will is a loner, apart from the small family Blade has surrounded them with he doesn't trust anyone and he has deliberately cultivated his image as the "Beast of Whitechapel" to keep people at a distance. At first glance he can be quite a surly, angry young man but he has every reason for it and those who make it into his inner circle get to see the sweet, caring, loyal man hidden deep inside. Will is terrified of the things that Lena makes him feel, his whole life has been about learning to control his beast but she sets him on edge and makes him feel out of control and vulnerable. On top of that he is terrified of hurting her either because she makes his beast come to the surface or by giving her the highly infectious loupe virus. He wants nothing more than to claim her but knows it can never happen. That doesn't mean he will let anyone hurt her though, he protects the people he cares about and Lena is right at the top of that list so woe betide anyone who crosses her.
I absolutely loved watching the romance that develops between Lena and Will. Will tries so hard to keep her at arm's length but Lena knows what she wants and she keeps on pushing him until she gets it. The chemistry between these two was scorching and I was just about ready to die of frustration by the time they finally get their act together! Thankfully it was more than worth the wait and I loved every minute of the chase too. Although their romance plays a major part of the story there is so much more going on within this book. The world building has been stepped up a gear as we learn more about both the blue bloods of the Echelon and the verwolfen. There is also plenty of action and all the edge of your seat danger you'd expect from a story with a spy for the heroine. Heart of Iron was impossible to put down once I'd started reading it and I can't wait to read My Lady Quicksilver! Bec McMaster has become a must buy author for me and this is a series I can't recommend highly enough.
I have loved all of the books in this series so far, the characters are lovable rogues and you find yourself routing for them from the beginning, I was really looking forward to this book, as my interest in the young Will Carver aka The Beast of Whitechapel was certainly piqued from the snippets of him that you got in books 1 and 1.5, so I was really looking forward to sinking my teeth into a book about Will, and I wasn't disappointed.
Our main characters in this book are Lena (Honoria's younger sister) and Will (Blade's second in command). Lena left whitechapel a year ago to return to the white tower and the Echelon as her half brother's (Leo Barrons) Ward because she felt there was nothing left for her in whitechapel following Will's knock back when she kissed him and he ended up leaving the Warren to avoid her. Will has struggled throughout the years they spent living under the same roof, he has a real disinterest towards women after his mother sold him to a travelling showman for £5 after he caught the loupe virus (hence him being verwulfen) and he spent 10 years locked in a cage as entertainment for the Blue Blood of the Echilon, before Blade rescued him. The only other female he has ever trusted is Esme, Blade's housekeeper. So when Lena arrives at the Warren and flirts with him, he doesn't know how to handle it, and she stirs dangerous emotions and needs within him that he doesn't know how to deal with, so for fear or hurting or infecting her with the loupe virus he tries to distance himself. Only he cant actually keep away, but can he control himself enough not to hurt her? and can he keep his hands off her so that he doesn't infect her?
In the year since Lena has returned to the Echelon, she has become somewhat of a spy for the humanist movement, and when Will finds a coded message on her person and realises that she's in trouble he tries to find out how deep she has gone. There are other things a foot, a humanist movement that is torn between two factions, a treaty between the blue bloods and the verwulfen, and a total arse of a blue blood lord that has his sights firmly set on Lena, a new found game of the blue bloods that puts any debutantes in danger, topped off with the steamy as hell chemistry between Lena and Will and you have yourself one hell of a book.
You also get to catch up some of the old favorites and I love how this untoward but very close family stick together through thick and thin.
I read this book after kiss of steel but I really should have read the novella the tarnished knight first as it sets the story up nicely and adds to the tension. Nobody is quite so sullen and tortured as Will, he has good reason though, he has bee very badly treated most of his life, he finds it hard to trust people, especially women. Unfortunately for him Lena is intend on pushing his boundaries and winding him up. He might have been ok if it were not for the chemistry between then, when he lets his guard down things very quickly get out of control. And of course there in political intrigue, drama and adventure along the way. It is a cracking story, with lots of drama and suspense, and it unravels more of the ins and outs of the complex world that these books inhabit. The only part I did not like was the very end, I don't want to give away any spoilers but it just tied things up a little neatly in a way that did not quite ring true. The rest is great though.
Loved Heart of Iron, it was so good to have Will and Lenas story and the fact that the original characters were there from Kiss of Steel made it so much richer and believable. The world that Bec McMaster creates is dark and interesting. Enthralling fast paced stories and complex diverse characters leaves you begging for more. Cant wait for next in series, my lady quicksilver!