This book was just as exciting, if not more, than the first book. It had romance, mystery and intrigue, stampeding mechanical horses, man eating mechanical squid, half mechanical people, werewolves, vampires and human zealots. What more could you ask of a novel?
After being on the run and living in Whitechapel where the poorest of Londoner’s live, Lena Todd has been accepted back into the social circle of the elite Echelon blue bloods where ladies like herself can only hope to get a thrall contract with one of the blue bloods. The Echelon blue bloods are men who have been infected with a virus that makes them stronger and faster with better senses such as hearing and eyesight than regular humans but they have to drink blood in order to survive. Only the seven ruling families of London are allowed to be blue bloods. If someone is accidently infected with the virus, they are either killed or allowed to be one of the royal guards if they are deemed worthy enough. Young debutants gather at balls and social events in order to become a blood donor or thrall for one of the lords.
Lena isn’t there to be a thrall though. She has secretly taken up with the humanist who want equal rights for humans…at least she thought until she discovers they may have more nefarious plans.
Will Carver is a verwulfen, a man infected with the loupe virus like a werewolf but doesn’t turn into an animal. He heals almost immediately from most wounds. He was infected when he was five and sold by his mother to a man who kept Will in a cage for shows. He was beaten, and stabbed almost nightly to entertain spectators until he was saved by Blade, the hero from the last book. Since then, he has been Blades right hand man, helping him rule Whitechapel, the poor part of London where the Echelon never go. Verwulfen are hunted in England and are either killed or caged or used for cage fighting.
The Echelon council now need Will in order to become allies with the Norwegian verwulfen clans. They have offered to change the laws and free all verwulfen if he gets the Norwegians to sign the peace contract.
Will and Lena have a history. Lena is Blade’s wife’s sister. They lived under the same roof until Lena’s flirting and games became too much for Will. She tried to kiss him and he refused….not because he didn’t want to but because he couldn’t. The loupe virus is spread to humans by blood ingestion and semen. He could never have a relationship with her like that because the virus would most likely kill her. Unfortunately, Lena doesn’t know that. She just thinks Will is unattracted to her. Will moved out of the warren and into his own flat. Lena went back to the Echelon.
Now, they have to work together so that Lena can teach Will how to act as a proper gentleman at social affairs.
My favorite part of the book was when Will told Lena, “You know I love you. I would die for you. I’d kill for you. I faced down mechanical squid, rampagin’ humanist, lessons in etiquette for you. I danced at a ball for you.”
A lot of secondary characters were introduced and we got a more in-depth look at the characters we had met in the last book like Leo Barrons who I hope gets a book of his own, Lady Aramina who is the only female Echelon and shrouded in mystery, Sir Jasper Lynch who is the master of the Night Hawks (guild of thief-catchers or murders or anything else he is needed for) Adele who is a debutant who has no choice but to be a thrall and has been mistreated by some of the Echelon lords, and we met some of the Norwegian verwulfen and some of the humanists. I hope to see a lot more of these characters.
I’m off to read the next book….so okay…I’m not off to anywhere really. I’m just going to sit in the same spot and download the next book onto my Kindle. Wasn’t there something called a book store not long ago? I love book stores but I like the convenience of one-click downloads even more. I guess book stores have gone the way of the telephone booth….passé with few and far between.