Of Silk and Steam
(London Steampunk #5)
Release: March 3, 2015
Summary: When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.Gretl's Review: I remember entering a contest on Bec McMaster's website more than a year ago where she asked which characters should get their own book. I had only read the first two books in the series at the time, but I answered "Barrons." Two books later, I was still eager to learn more about Leo Barrons after seeing him in small doses throughout the series. He's played at least a small role in the each couple's lives. It turns out I wasn't really surprised by anything in his backstory, but it was interesting to see his relationship with his father for the first time. In fact, the Duke of Cain turned out to be the one who was full of surprises!
A woman of mystery, Mina's long driven Leo crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she's hiding something, and he's determined to unravel her layer by silken layer. He just doesn't expect the beautiful liar to be the key to overthrowing the corrupt prince consort… or to saving his own carefully walled-off heart.
Mina was more of a mystery (to both me and Barrons.) Their story begins eight years in the past when he watches her defeat her cousin in a duel for control of the duchy and becomes fascinated with her. Their relationship really begins with an adventure that starts with passing a secret message and ends with the two of them hiding under a bridge from assassins and then escaping in a stolen airship. What starts as an uneasy alliance quickly escalates to a steamy affair.
I loved all the espionage that made up much of the first half of the book. I think I enjoy the political intrigue in this series even more than the romance. I was so excited at the end of Forged by Desire when a conspiracy to overthrow the Prince Consort began in Blade's living room. Six months later, the group is forced to enact their plans early, but they get help from an unexpected source.
I also love the Steampunk gadgets! This book really showcases the wonderful devices in this world. From the Trojan horses and Spitfires the Echelon uses to the Cyclops being built in secret by the Humanists, and now finally revealed, I thoroughly enjoyed all the fanciful tech.
McMaster definitely saved the best for last in the London Steampunk series. Of Silk and Steam is emotional and intense. It's packed with action of more than one kind. It also answers a lot of questions with the first behind the scenes look at the Queen and the Council of Dukes. And it brings back all the couples from the previous books. Fans of Blade will be especially happy with this one!
I absolutely loved this book! I've already read it twice. And it was just as un-put-downable the second time. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's next in this world. I hear there's a spin off series in the works.
Rose Red's Two Cents: THIS BOOK, GUYS! THIS BOOK! 5 OUT OF 5 STARS! It was mind-blowing and has instantly become a new favorite of mine. Like Gretl, I've wanted to know more about Leo Barrons since the first couple of books and I'm so happy that he got a book of his own. I've always liked him but I was honestly surprised at how much I ended up loving him in this book. I also wasn't overly surprised about his backstory but finally knowing the whole story made me look at him a bit differently.
I've been fascinated by Lady Aramina's character since the beginning because she's the only female member of the Echelon council. Unlike with Leo, we know hardly anything about Mina before this book and I am so incredibly pleased with her and her story. It was everything I didn't know I wanted it to be. And Holy Chemistry, Batman! The chemistry between Mina and Leo was intense and extraordinary. I love the evolution of their relationship from enemies to reluctant allies to lovers as they uncover a terrible plot that will impact the entire Echelon. It's not an easy transition for either of them and they must decide if they can truly trust one another to work together. Bec McMaster deserves a slow clap for how emotionally intense each of her books are and this one was the best yet. This book has scenes that pull together emotions, heat, and passion to create reading perfection. Bravo, Ms. McMaster. Bravo!
I love that Leo is so upfront about wanting more from Mina than just a truce and mutual aid. After learning just how long he has desired and admired her, it made all of his interactions with her in previous books make so much more sense. His attentions and games were a way to express his feelings while protecting his heart while knocking the cool and controlled Mina off balance. He treats Mina with genuine kindness and it was painful to how clearly she was not used to it. It makes her to question all that she thought was true about her longtime rival. I adored how he never loses faith that he will win her over and the grace he upholds when his heart is broken from betrayal on so many sides. Barron wants Mina so badly, and not just for her body. He has admired the whole package: looks, wit, brains, brawn. Mina is a partner that is truly equal to him and he understands that and wants it. I loved that and at the same time it broke my heart that it took so long for Mina to understand his true intentions.
Of Silk and Steam was a fantastic installment in the London Steampunk series and was everything that I wanted it to be and more. The main series plot arc comes to a conclusion in this book with several fantastic plot twists, and we get to see glimpses of all the couples from the previous. With its power romance and intense action, I could not put it down and devoured it in one sitting. This book is wonderful, and as part of the larger series, an excellent conclusion. It brought together all the bits and pieces from the previous books together in such an amazing way that I enjoyed watching everything play out to the very end. And hopefully, this book is not the last we see of this world and characters. I have my fingers crossed that we'll get more books because there are several characters I want to know more about.
Recommended for fans of: Going out with a bang (in more ways than one)
ARC provided by the publisher