Why did I want to read it?
I’ve been waiting for Leo’s book for ages! And it’s finally here. His character has intrigued me since the moment he was introduced in the series in the earlier books. I knew he needed to have his own book. I needed for him to have his own book and I can hug author Bec McMaster for giving her readers just that.
This review will be longer than my usual reviews because I just can’t contain all the things I am swooning about in this book in just a couple of paragraphs. So I hope you’ll indulge me this time. 🙂
What worked for me?
This is hands-down my favorite book in the series. It’s that perfect, not in the sense of clean-cut, rainbows and flowers, perfect bow-tied but in an everything-made-sense, everything-works, magnificently pulled together, ending to a beloved series of mine. All the elements just really came together in this final book in this story arc. And Leo and Mina will just blow your minds! They are truly one of a kind, one the best written characters I’ve read this year.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been waiting for Leo’s story for a long time. And I was anxious that he wouldn’t live up to all these fantasies I’ve built inside my head about the kind of hero he would be. But you guys, he completely blew my expectations away. He’s so much more than what I’ve initially thought of him and it was just an amazing to learn more and more about him.
To say that Leo Barrons has a lot on his plate would be an understatement. He sits in the powerful Council of Dukes as the proxy of his father and the political maneuverings there are potent and can be deadly but at the same time (AND SPOILER ALERT!!!!) he’s also a part of a group plotting a revolution to finally overthrow the Prince Consort. And amidst these, there is this unique place in his life that is held by the Duchess of Casavian, Aramina Duvall. I love how all these facets of his life reveal to us, layer by layer, the kind of man and the kind of person he is.
Leo is everything I expected him to be and more. He can be suave and aristocratic in manners. But he’s also a tactician. He’s loyal, persevering and stubborn. He may look like a carefree gentleman of the world but his shoulders actually bear a lot of weight, from his birth to his upbringing, to the relationships that he hold dear to his heart, to his beliefs, responsibilities, his future and what it means to him to really be himself. He’s tough as heroes come but gosh, his soft side will make you melt. You can see it when it comes to his family and most of all when it comes to Mina.
Mina is a one of a kind heroine. And like in Leo’s case, she was also what I would wish for her to be and more. She fought to death to succeed her father in the Duchy and has thus far survived and thrived in the politics and royal maneuverings in the Council of Dukes. She’s only one of two female bluebloods, when the practice is that only sons are given the rights to become one. She’s best known as the icy, cold, and ruthless Duchess. But beyond the thick protective walls she’s built around herself and her heart, she’s a woman whose passion runs with fire in her veins. She’s closed off herself, building these walls of ice around her emotions because that’s what it takes to be the Duchess of Casavian. If nobody comes near her enough to know her and her weaknesses, then nobody will ever have the power to hurt or break her.
Throughout the novel, you discover more about her and love her all the more for it. She’s loyal and protective of her own. She’s brave and really, really smart. She’s definitely no push over. Just imagine her surviving in a viper’s nest like the Council of Dukes. She can take care of herself and she knows how to fight her own battles, even those she sometimes fights within herself.
And Leo and Mina together! OMG! They’re one of the most fitting couples of all time for me. Their story was so magnificently developed, from the beginning when they were as much enemies as the bad blood between their fathers would have made them, especially for Mina, to that taut attraction between them despite everything, and then to so much more. I love all their scenes together. But my favorite thing about them are their conversations. I think it’s one of the strongest suits in this book and in this romance. Because they reveal so much about characterizations and the development of their relationship. One by one, the pieces of these characters are revealed until you finally get to view the entire picture. And how you could not love them after that, I have no idea.
I love that their romance isn’t the basic ‘I-chase-you-you-resist-I-chase-you-some-more-you concede-then-HEA but is so much more than that. Author Bec McMaster really did a splendid job with fleshing out each and every step in the development of their relationship. It’s never a simple equation with a simple solution nor is it a single trajectory. It’s this complex web of emotions and choices and consequences. And the passionate exchanges between them, not just the physical (although gosh, these are so HOT!), but the emotional as well, were just really one for the books. It hits you right in the guts, those words. And those words are able to do that because every word and every utterance feel so organic to their characters and to the story. I am completely in love with these two (in case you haven’t figured it out yet! :))
The overarching plot that has been running throughout the whole series comes to its climax and conclusion in this book and I have to say that I’m really satisfied with it. We get to see the other characters from the previous books in abundance so yay! And the pacing and the build-up were really great as well. I’ve really got to hand it to Bec McMaster.
What did not work for me?
I can’t think of anything, anything at all.
My over-all take on it?
In case I haven’t expressed it enough yet, I am completely in love with this book. Each and every element was thought of and executed in a great way. And the romance will just blow your mind since it has that depth that really sinks its claws on you so that you feel every moment especially the life-changing ones. You would not want to miss getting to know Leo and Mina.
My rating: 5+ stars!
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
My name is Bec McMaster and I live in a small country town in Victoria, Australia, with my boyfriend and a beautiful dog named Kobe. I grew up either with my nose in a book or writing, and never understood why other people didn’t get to watch ‘all the movies in their heads’. Following a lifelong love affair with fantasy, I discovered romance at the age of sixteen and haven’t looked back.
When I’m not writing I like to read, go hiking with my boyfriend, pore over travel brochures, and go to the gym. I’m addicted to travel and love to set my books in foreign places. It’s the next best thing to travelling there. One day I vow to see the entire world, whether it’s by plane, paper or imagination.
These days I can be found sitting at my computer with a hot mug of tea, creating the dark and dangerous world of the London Steampunk series, where vampires and werewolves stalk the eerie London rookeries and even the darkest hero can find love. I’m a member of RWA (USA and Australia) and am represented by Jessica Faust of BookEnds; LLC.
I’m so grateful to get this chance to pursue my dream, so thank you to everyone who reads my books. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them!
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Have you read any of Bec’s London Steampunk books? Do you have your favorites?