ENEMIES. ALLIES. LOVERS.
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.
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.
After building and building to this finally confrontation, I was psyched to get this one. Leo Barons has been an exciting and pivotal secondary character since the very first book. Secrets and danger surrounds him as does the guilt of not protecting his true family all in the name of his reputation and rank in society. In his story, the threat of the Prince Consort comes to fruition and he is determined to crush the alliance of humans, mechs, verwolfen and rogue blue bloods once and for all. Leo is forced to partner with a woman that holds his secrets and can break him if she wishes too.
Aramina is a rare blue blood female and the only Duchess on the Council. She has to present herself as strong, cold and without weakness. After the death of her family, the ice princess persona is not that difficult to build. Only one annoying man would even try to get past her high, thick emotional walls and he is the son of the man who killed her father and upon whom she is set to bring down for revenge. Leo pops up everywhere she is and he sees everything it seems. She can’t figure him out and that is not good because she has some strong secrets that she must protect at all costs even if it means exposing Leo’s secrets to take him out of the picture. So why does she hesitate when she has the power to destroy him? And what if he’s telling the truth about his motives with her and about his activities against the Prince Consort? For the first time in her life can she put her trust in someone else?
This story gets off to a smashing start and barely slows down whether it is the sparks flying between Leo and Mina, the political intrigue of the Prince Consort, the Queen and the Council, or the gritty war waging on the streets of London. Leo is the catalyst it seems and he is sensitive to this dubious honor. Leo, unlike many, doesn’t covet power even though that is what people in his own class think he is after. His desires are for the homey happiness his sisters have found with their husbands. He is determined to have a better home than he grew up in with the calculating man who was thought his father and the real father who rejected him. He sets his sights on the unattainable in Mina and it was fun to watch them circle each other warily- particularly Mina who has no idea that Leo really does just want a relationship and she is terrified of such a thing. The plot also includes those delicious twists and reveals that I have come to enjoy about this series. Secrets come out. Trust and betrayal become a huge issue. There is a huge explosive climax at the end that just had me on pins and needles.
I love it when I dive into a story and end up just enjoying it. No plot issues, no frustrations with the romance and no annoying characters. This was sheer pleasure from cover to cover. Leo is vulnerable, but this guy is one in a million. He was scared for Mina, but not once did he try to hold her back. She is all prickles and suspicion, but he is honest about his feelings and opens himself up for her rejection time and again. Mina is a broken doll in ways. She lost her parents and her brother and she is a freak amongst her peers. It is dangerous to be different or weak in her society so she becomes what she needs to be and does what she needs to do. She has been at it for so long that Leo freaks her out with his honest desire for her and to be with her. Loved watching them work things out.
The words were a blistering realization. Mina glanced over her shoulder helplessly.
“You need to trust in yourself- in all of us.”
Loc. 3157 Leo to Mina in Of Silk and Steam
As to the genre blend elements, the worldbuilding is established and nothing new comes out as to races though a few more blue blood secrets are revealed.
Away in the Rookeries where Blade reigns- rogue bluebloods, mechs, humans and verwolfens all blend together into one tight family. I loved seeing the updates with characters from previous books including seeing Blade as an expectant daddy.
The steampunk was present and really cool without being overpowering. It plays a strong role with new inventions, secret weapons and a way for the underdogs to have a chance in the war.
This one is thought to be the end of the series and does end a series story arc, but I did see a few potential leads to maybe starting a whole new series in the London Steampunk world so I’m crossing my finger that it will happen.
All in all, this was a fantastic finale leaving me with all the right feelings for the end of a book. The humor, dialogue, intrigue, passion and excitement were off the hook. Those who enjoy genre blends particularly historical paranormal romance need to get on the stick and try these.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #101 SP
Historical Romance #27
Cliché Klatch #36 ‘thin veneer of civility’
Literary Pickers #102 Beard