Of Silk and Steam by Bec Mcmaster
Betrayal Of The Highest Level
Lady Aramina had known of Leo since she was a young girl but that made her far from liking the man. Raised in the aristocracy of London, she knew of Leo was the son of the man that eventually killed her own father and brother in the all out war among the blue bloods. Hoping to overthrow the powers one day to free her long time friend, the human queen, from being abused by her husband, Mina descends on a dangerous path in Bec McMaster's Of Silk And Steam, book five of the London Steampunk series.
Just as she is about to pass off a note to an ally in a dark corner of the woods known as a lovers lane, Mina is suddenly attacked by one of the Falcon force only to be saved by the man that she so hates, Leo.
Commandeering an airship the two outlaws escape to the only place where they feel they might find acceptance- Whitchapel.
With nowhere to run to Mina is a willing hostage if Leo can get her out of danger. Flirtation rises between the two as they race from danger and end up in Whitechapel among the rouges and unmentionables, a place that Mina feels that they will never come looking for her. But she doesn't have time to hide out and hope that she is no longer suspected of murder as she must get back and save Queen Alexa. If someone was hunting Mina, they must know of the plot by now and that puts Alexa in jeopardy.
Not So Welcome
Leo believes that his family will help him even though he never has truly been one of them.
Only slightly forgiven for putting his younger half brother in jeopardy when he had sabotaged a serum that his father had been taking to stunt the rising CV levels in his blood to keep from inching towards the blood lust known as The Fade which claimed vampires, Leo a student of his father's in disguise had tampered with the product to kill the man that hadn't been there to raise him instead subjecting him to the abuse of the man that played the role.
Unbeknownst to Leo, his younger half brother, Charlie whom was but a child was also being given the portion that his father had kept for himself. Eventually his true father had been taken by The Fade and tampering with the serum had allowed for Charlie to become Blue Blood himself.
Leo's betrayal hadn't been taken lightly from his half sisters and their husbands. Honoria's husband, the vampire known as The Devil Of Whitechapel was the unsung hero of the region that protected the humans and werewolves alike from the oppression of the royal family. Half sister Lena had married Blade's second in command, Will, who had gone on to lead the werewolves.
Leo begged on their hospitality to hide him and they obliged and took Mina into custody and stashed her into a cell where she hastily had escaped as the cell hadn't been designed to keep vampires in.
Searching the streets for her just as the threat of war moved into Whitechapel, Leo stole her back.
Never before had Mina realized how beautiful Leo was to her. Was it his determination to keep her safe or just the way he stole her kisses and pledged himself to her with the devotion of a lover? Mina hadn't wanted to fall in love with any man let alone him. In the early hours of the war she had tried to run twice putting Alexa above all else. Her friend had to be saved and if there was time after the put in place her feelings for Leo then be it.
Defending The Wall
Taking the streets, Blade called all his men to service as the women and children were safely hidden away. The men would hold the wall as long as they could to keep the enemy autonomous tanks into the district of Whitechapel and fires reigned from the sky the entire night.
Still the men would not rest.
Leo had taken post as well proving that he would not desert his family this time after his early betrayal. The truth in all was that he cared about his sisters now and doted on his younger brother. He knew that it was time in the war to allow for Charlie to fight along side the men although his brother in laws were sternly against the boy being hurt and would rather he tend to protecting the women.
The men know that there was a chance that few if anyone of them would come back if the wall had been broken and the troops filled into the streets of Whitechapel.
All had so much to lose.
Even Leo began to worry the loss of Mina, whom hardly had known that he cared for her and believed his kisses to be foolery to keep her in place.
Mina had explained to him the importance of getting Alexa out safely but he had tried to convince her it was a lost cause.
Then news came to the wall that Blade was needed immediately back at the house.
At the worst possible time, Honor had gone into labor and was having difficulty with the birth. The women attending were convinced the baby had been breach and with little choice it was decided by the midwife to do a cesarean section as Honor withered in pain. Racing back to the house the operation was done and the beautiful little girl born but Blade worried now how to have Honor and the infant safely moved if the city was taken by the invading troops.
Mina swore to everyone that she was done running if they would let her lead a charged to get to Alexa and save her.
Everyone knowing their place and that Whitechapel was hardly holding its ground anymore they had to risk sending Leo and Mina to rescue the human queen and hope that it would get them the help they needed.
Mina and Leo raced through the streets and through the Undertown.
Kissing his wife goodbye and hoping to see her once again, Blade returned to fight with the men again telling Charlie to keep and eye on the family. Stubborn as his other siblings, Charlie would not stay put and knew he had been called upon to go into the streets and help the men fight for their freedom.
After a near death to another child, a friend of Charlie, he wisely decides to use his vampire blood to heal her near fatal wounds.
The sunlight was beginning to burn in the sky and Whitechapel was somehow still standing after three days of fighting.
The Christmas To Remember
For the last in the London Steampunk series, I felt this novel was actually the weakest in storytelling.
With everything playing up to this point, here was the war that could have been spread into maybe more than one novel alone and it felt rushed. The romance portion of the book between Leo and Mina didn't feel as genuine as the other romances in the universe either and just seemed convenient to give Leo redemption and push along the idea of saving Alexa as something important to the overarching story.
The book ends as every series will with all the characters that survived sitting around having Christmas dinner as everything was right in the world although this dynamic was never something that was brought about in any of the other books renewing the sense of family.
Don't get me wrong, the series was a wonderful read, I just feel that Of Silk And Steam was the weakest book in terms of story and felt too rushed rather than the authentic bonds of characters in other books.
It was great to see those that we hadn't spent time with since the first and second novel and the way each book built upon the book before was evident in the end, I just didn't find Aramina a character interesting enough to have her own book and was much more interested in seeing Leo prove his worth to the family after what he had done in the past novels.
Still London Steampunk is a much beloved series and a fantastic read if you can overlook a rather shaky ending after such intense writing.