Wednesday, March 25, 2015

End of a Steampunk Era

It’s the end of an era for one of my favorite steampunk book series. The steampunk world in Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series has become one of my absolute favorites. It’s lush, dark and richly realized. The characters were all incredible and the series took us through every walk of life, from the most elegant of lords to the most downtrodden of orphans. I’m also a total sucker for vampires (ahaha, see what I did there?) and the London Steampunk series had some of the best ones I’ve read in years.

Alas, it is time to say goodbye.

The final book in the London Steampunk series, Silk & Steam, came out earlier this month and I was both delighted and gutted to dive into it. I am so overwhelmingly thankful to Bec McMaster because the final volume completely exceeded my expectations and gave me a certain peace over the end. Characters had resolutions, plot lines were tied up, and we finally learned answers to some interesting questions the series teased along.

McMaster says this is her last London Steampunk volume with her publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, but she has more stories she wants to tell in the world and may revisit it in a self published way. If she does, I will be over the moon. If she doesn’t, I think I will still be okay. She gave us a great resolution to the series and everything I wanted happened. It was an excellent way to end things. This series ended with a bang!

Silk & Steam finally gives us the story of Leo Barrons, one of my favorite side characters. We also learn the story of one of the most enigmatic characters, Lady Aramina. A woman turned into a Blue Blood (vampire) is nearly unheard of in this world and Mina had a will of steel to keep the power she has earned. Letting Leo Barrons into her life was a risk and it paid off in spades for the reader.

The Blue Blood prince consort is going insane and is beginning to remove people on his council who stand in his way of basically enslaving the human population for blood. Working with the Queen, Mina does everything she can to stop him. Leo is also working to overthrow the prince consort with the help of Blade and the other people in the Shade. The Nighthawks are on their side as well and everyone knows all out war is coming sooner rather than later.

Leo and Mina were electric together. After suffering great personal loss, Mina begins to lose her exterior of ice and help Leo realize he can rebuild a life for himself. They argue and snark and wind around each other like ill tempered cats. Their romance builds as the stakes for the future of their city build too.

It was good to revisit some favorite characters. Blade and Honoria feature prominently and we see a grown up Charlie. If McMaster was going to do a 6th book or a Kindle novella (oh please oh please) I think it would involve Charlie and his lady friend Lark. It’s clear she is setting them up together and after this book I think it would be interesting to explore where that would go. (Edit: McMaster said she's writing another volume! YAY!)

Silk & Steam is the culmination of five books worth of groundwork. Plots started in book one come to fruition and we finally see how everything shakes out. There are some casualties but far less than I feared (seriously, during battle scenes I basically could not breathe. I was terrified Blade would die!). In short, this was a perfect end to the series and I mentally cheered with delight when the mad prince consort finally got what was coming to him. 

This was a fitting end to a favorite series and I honestly could not ask for more. Five full length novels and two novellas is a fine body of work for a series. These are characters I will keep with me always and I know I will revisit these books often. 

Thank you for the London Steampunk series, Bec McMaster. It was incredible.
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