If you have followed the London Steampunk series to this point, you already know what an awesome series this is. (If you have not read the rest of the series, I highly recommend you do so before embarking on book #5 of this series. It will be more enjoyable to read them in order.)
Of Silk and Steam is the high drama, dark, atmospheric, action-packed, and very sexy conclusion to the London Steampunk series. I have loved every book in the ongoing story of the struggle between London's human classes and the aristocratic blueblood class. I actually pre-ordered the finale so it would appear on my e-reader as soon as it was released in March. However, reluctant to see it end, I left the book on my e-reader, unopened until recently.
In Of Silk and Steam, there are many characters since it brings back the best of the series right along with the stars of this book. I'll start with the main characters, Leo Barrons and Aramina Duvall (Mina). The story revolves around these two bluebloods.
Barrons has been in the entire series. At first I viewed him as a bit of a milquetoast character. He was there, important to the plot, but, in the end, everyone else did the heavy lifting. Through the series, his role has grown in size. His character has grown as well. In Of Silk and Steam, the history that shaped the man is revealed. No spoilers, here, but now I really like Barrons and the story that needed to be told is right there in Of Silk and Stream.
Aramina Duvall, Countess of Casavian, is just a little bit scary. Scary in a good way. Mina is super tough and takes no crap. And she is smart. I like how she reads a book to learn how to pilot an airship. Of course, there is no guarantee that book smart is the same as airship smart. Barrons' father was responsible for the death of Mina's father and she would like nothing more than to exact revenge.
The sexual tension between Barrons and Mina is present from the prologue up to consummation. It is intense and it is hot! Barrons knows he wants Mina. But Mina not only despises Barrons for who he is, but she is also sure she does not want any man. These are just the attitudes of a hero and heroine you need to create some great dialog and steamy almost-sex scenes. Mmmm! Barrons and Mina are a very steamy couple.
Aside from Barrons and Mina, there are several interesting characters in Of Silk and Steam, including the Duke of Caine – Barrons' father, Queen Alexandra, and the prince consort. The prince consort has been the ultimate antagonist throughout the series. Powerful, power-hungry, egotistical, controlling and devious. Chapter two starts out ominously with the words “Is the prince consort mad?” I do so like really evil character.
Of course the main characters from the rest of the series show up in Of Silk and Steam. Blade and Honoria, Esme and Rip, Lena and Will, Lynch and Rosalind, Garrett and Perry and the Nighthawks. When the time comes to confront the maniacal prince consort, it will take the combined efforts of everyone if the people of London stand a chance.
One of the things I like about this series, is that Ms. McMaster has come up with the best steampunk machines. I've loved the metaljackets since book one. Well, not loved, because they are truly heinous automatons, but they are so deliciously, coldly evil, they deserved my appreciation. Now there are the Cyclops. Who would not want to own a Cyclops. Strong, flexible, and large. If I had my own cyclops, nothing and no one could stand in my way. Well, they could, but it would be a really bad idea! Plus, I would be really tall when I wore my Cyclops suit.
The endless struggle of London's human and mech classes against the blueblood aristocracy has been fascinating for 5 novels and 2 novellas. Renegade bluebloods like the Devil of White Chapel and Nighthawks, werewolves and vampires give the series its paranormal flavor, while the fascinating machines like metaljackets bring in the steampunk element. All in all, London Steampunk has been a series I have thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to seeing what Bec McMaster comes up with next!