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Heart of Brass

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Arden, undercover for The Wardens of the Realm who protect 1898 steampunk England, has the status, wealth, and independence of a countess - and can see the final moments of a murder victim’s life. Her husband Lucas vanishes until she spots him one night. The Company wiped his memory, sent him to kill her, but he cannot. Yet if he does not, someone will — and kill him.


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Arden, undercover for The Wardens of the Realm who protect 1898 steampunk England, has the status, wealth, and independence of a countess - and can see the final moments of a murder victim’s life. Her husband Lucas vanishes until she spots him one night. The Company wiped his memory, sent him to kill her, but he cannot. Yet if he does not, someone will — and kill him.

30 review for Heart of Brass

  1. 4 out of 5

    Feminista

    Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. This book has me so annoyed and at this time of the night too. Luke Grey, husband of Lady Arden Grey and used as an assassin by the Company (aka bad guys). His memory has been removed and his bones are plated with metal. He is strong, fast, etc. The fantasy setting in this novel could have really worked. If it weren't for the characterisation. Luke Grey, assassin and almost automaton has spent years sleeping with other women. His saintly wife on the other hand has Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. This book has me so annoyed and at this time of the night too. Luke Grey, husband of Lady Arden Grey and used as an assassin by the Company (aka bad guys). His memory has been removed and his bones are plated with metal. He is strong, fast, etc. The fantasy setting in this novel could have really worked. If it weren't for the characterisation. Luke Grey, assassin and almost automaton has spent years sleeping with other women. His saintly wife on the other hand has not given up hope for 7 years. She had no evidence that he was alive and 7 years is a bit too excessive, by anyone's standard, to be still hoping. I refuse to believe excuses like 'women's intuition'. There is no such thing. And can I add, I would give my last penny that if the roles had been reversed and the wife had the amnesia and was the assassin, she would have been as celibate as a nun. To make it worse, most of this book is spent on Luke questioning his wife's relationship with his best friend, WHEN NOTHING EVER HAPPENED, whereas his string of women is discussed very little and not adequately. I don't care that he did not remember at the time, he remembers now and he is still giving her a hard time. For what? To ease his guilt? There was also the fact that they were having marital problems. That is to say, his bossy attitude and him working with his once-lover was putting a strain on their relationship. A lover whom he never volunteered a thing about, but she had to find out for herself. So no, I don't see anything worth hoping for 7 years. To be honest, I find it sort of pathetic. But whatever, to each their own. Nevertheless, this in it of itself would have made me give this book 2 stars. What really ruined it for me was that the husband, throughout his seven years was doing things that reminded him of her. Such as getting a tattoo in India, like the one she got on their honeymoon. So excuse me if I call bullshit on this, but am I being told that his 'husband's intuition' did not lead him to realise EVERY TIME HE SLEPT WITH ANOTHER WOMAN that he had a wife waiting for him. Gah. It's beyond ridiculous. And of course, she was a virgin when they were first together and he had been with various of other women before their marriage. It's so sickening this double standard.. I am almost running out of words to describe how I am feeling. I have come to expect strong women in steampunk novels and Arden is not a strong woman by my standards.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    When Lord Huntley returns to his wife's bedside after seven years away she's not expecting it to be to kill her. Fortunately for the couple, The Company has been unable to completely eradicate Luke's love for Arden. Unfortunately, the Wardens don't trust him and the Company now wants to kill him. With a backdrop of murder and spies in steam-punk Victorian England, Luke and Arden must get to know one another again and see if they can love the new versions of each other. I continue to love Ms. Cros When Lord Huntley returns to his wife's bedside after seven years away she's not expecting it to be to kill her. Fortunately for the couple, The Company has been unable to completely eradicate Luke's love for Arden. Unfortunately, the Wardens don't trust him and the Company now wants to kill him. With a backdrop of murder and spies in steam-punk Victorian England, Luke and Arden must get to know one another again and see if they can love the new versions of each other. I continue to love Ms. Cross's intelligent, mechanically minded heroines that are never perfect. Arden struggles with drinking, which she uses to cope with her husband being gone and the work that she does for the Scotland Yard and Wardens. I don't think that a young Arden, from before Luke's disappearance, would have been as likable as the woman that she's become is. A young Luke probably wouldn't have been that great either. The characters seem real and none of their relationships are simple, much like life. Overall I loved it and was rooting for Arden and Luke the whole time!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    Originally posted at http://smexybooks.com/2012/05/review-... Favorite Quote: “She drove him to distraction, frustrated him, amazed him, and made him what to do better.“ Arden Grey, Countess Huntley, has everything a woman of the 19th century could want. Wealth, status, and independence. Everything except her husband. The Earl of Huntley disappeared seven years ago while on a mission for a secret government agency called the Wardens. Arden knows her husband is still alive and has never given up ho Originally posted at http://smexybooks.com/2012/05/review-... Favorite Quote: “She drove him to distraction, frustrated him, amazed him, and made him what to do better.“ Arden Grey, Countess Huntley, has everything a woman of the 19th century could want. Wealth, status, and independence. Everything except her husband. The Earl of Huntley disappeared seven years ago while on a mission for a secret government agency called the Wardens. Arden knows her husband is still alive and has never given up hope he will come home to her. One night Arden feels someone watching her and realizes it’s her missing husband. Lucas (Luke) Gray, the Earl of Huntley, is now an assassin for the Company, a corrupt agency. Referred to as number 5, he is sent to assassinate Arden for her crimes against the Company. As Luke watches his target, he finds himself unable to complete his mission. Something about Arden is familiar and his attraction to her both excites and scares him. Arden and Lucas’s best friend implement a plan and are able to capture and subdue Luke.They take him to the Wardens headquarters and learn that the Company has tampered with both his memories and his physical stature. Luke is definitely not the man he was seven years ago. The Wardens don’t trust him but Arden finally has him back in her life and will do anything to keep him there. As Arden and Luke struggle to reacquaint themselves with one another again, they have to stop the Company from killing them and Arden has to stop a serial killer. Heart Of Brass is an delightfully adventurous steampunk filled with riveting action, wicked spies, steamy romance, and an all star cast. Lush world building transports us to an exciting time where carriages and automations are beheld side by side. Set in 19th century Victorian England, we are introduced to the Earl and The Countess Huntley. Married young, these two are challenged in different ways to keep England safe as members of a government agency called the Wardens. Our story starts out with Arden entering the seventh year her husband, Luke, has been missing. Unknown if he is alive or dead, Arden keeps the home fires burning, stubbornly defiant against all who claim Lucas must be dead. When Luke begins appearing to her, threatening her life, Arden realizes that he was captured and corrupted by the Company. As she attempts to stay alive and force Luke to remember her, she realizes that the man she married is not the man who stands before her. There are two separate but equally important storylines that make up this story. Luke’s disappearance and subsequent return and a serial killer who is preying on young woman of London. Both interesting plots that run parallel but do not intertwine. The serial killer mystery is for Arden only and it strongly shows how fiercely Arden needed to be more then just Luke’s wife. Arden has a hidden vulnerability that engages our sympathies. She has never felt she was good enough for Luke, a feeling enforced by his family. So she strives to become everything Luke was after he left-to prove to him that she too can be exciting and challenging both in and out of their marriage. When we get their background story, we realize that Arden’s and Luke’s marriage had problems and things were said and done before Luke disappeared, which only reinforced her feelings of inadequacy. I genuinely liked Arden. She is a strong, independent, intelligent, outspoken young woman who we learn has changed drastically since her husband vanished. She has had to stay strong against her own doubts and the doubts of those around her, causing her to take more control of her life then a woman of this time period might normally. She is a brilliant inventor and comes up with devices to help the Wardens but also certain female appliances she sells to be financially independent. She’s not a paragon of virtue though. She has a small drinking problem which started after Lucas disappeared. She is also very stubborn and obstinate. Being on her own for seven years has required to assume the helm so to speak and once Lucas returns, she has a slight problem sharing command. Poor Luke. You can’t help but feel sorry for him even when you discover how he was before he disappeared. He is back with his wife with no memory of her or their life. Through Arden and his own returning memories, he begins to remember the man he used to be and finds himself disgusted by his previous behavior. He treated his wife as a possession-not badly, but rather indifferently. Being a Warden had meant everything to him and he did many things in his service to them, things that left his wife questioning his feelings for her. We learn his last mission required him to partner up with his mistress, a mistress Arden knew nothing about until after he disappeared. When Luke learns of this he wants to die, not wanting to believe that he brought even more pain to his wife. We also learn that he was not faithful while he was with the Company. When he discovers a tattoo on Arden’s shoulder that is an exact replica of a tattoo he got while he was gone, he knows then that no matter what happened to him while he was with the Company, some part of her was always with him. Their reunion is bittersweet. In bed, they know exactly where they stand with one another but out of it, they are both somewhat at a lost. Watching them fall back in love with one another is very romantic as the chemistry between them is quite tangible and explosive. Luke’s expression hardened. “If he came in here right now and told you that somehow I was behind it all, you’d believe that wouldn’t you?” She scowled at him. “Don’t be a jealous idiot. I would not believe it, and if you’re so very concerned about my affections straying, why don’t you give me a good reason to keep them with you.” Slowly, he straightened and came towards her. She felt a little like a Gazelle eyeing an approaching lion and didn’t know whether to run or simply accept her fate and offer up her throat. He gaze held hers until he stood mere inches away. His hand reached out and curled around the back of her neck, pulling her closer. “You’re mine,” he told her. “I’d kill any man who tried to take you away.” Obstacles are handled, situations diffused, and honesty is finally given. We get some wonderfully passionate scenes and the lovely Mr. Huntley likes to talk dirty in bed. Ooo La La. While their situation isn’t 100% resolved, they are off to a wonderful start by the end of the book. A well developed and personable secondary cast with individual storylines that intersect and spike your curiosity. Henry Huntley, Luke’s younger brother, is an angry young man who treated Arden terribly and was set to declare Luke dead when Luke reappears. He is not happy Luke is back and sets out to discredit Luke as the rightful Earl. Alister Wolfred is a member of the Wardens, a long time friend of Lucas’s, and in love with Arden. He is both elated and angry that Luke has returned from the dead. We met other Wardens, investigators with Scotland Yard, and various members of the Company. What I enjoyed is that no one is what they seem and their hidden agendas make for an exciting story filled with many twists and turns. Witty and engaging dialogue helps speed the story along and give us a more intimate look at out characters and their personalities. The two mysteries keep us on our toes and resolve themselves simultaneously; giving us the identity of the serial killer and the person who betrayed Lucas and the Wardens. An heroic ending with an intro into the book two leaves us satisfied and more then ready for Touch Of Steel which releases December 14, 2012. I recommend Kate Cross’s newest steampunk series if you enjoy strong protagonists, witty dialog, delish romance, and exciting adventure. One problem I had with the book is the cover. In the book, Arden wears a nose ring and has seven chains that stretch from nose ring to studs in her ears. It’s a pivotal part of her emotional make up and I was disappointed that it wasn’t shown in the cover art. Overall Rating: B

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    Arden, Lady Huntley, is an unusual woman. When her peers stay at home to enjoy a cup of tea or a quiet evening, she's outside, helping a Scotland Yark officer finding assassins. Why is that ? Arden is an inventor, just like her father was. Before he died, her sire invented a device that she finished, who allow her to experiment what a victim saw and felt at the moment of her death. Right now, they're searching for clues about the killer who's targeting debutantes. Arden's husband went missing sev Arden, Lady Huntley, is an unusual woman. When her peers stay at home to enjoy a cup of tea or a quiet evening, she's outside, helping a Scotland Yark officer finding assassins. Why is that ? Arden is an inventor, just like her father was. Before he died, her sire invented a device that she finished, who allow her to experiment what a victim saw and felt at the moment of her death. Right now, they're searching for clues about the killer who's targeting debutantes. Arden's husband went missing seven years ago while on a secret assignment. While everyone came to believe Huntley was dead, his wife never lost hope to see him again. She just didn't think it would be after trying to kill her. Luke is back, but is he really ? Because he doesn't have any memories of who he is and only knows that his mission is to kill the woman named Arden Grey. Amnesia is a good trope in romance with married couple because you can see the protagonists falling in love again and it often give them a second chance. Because the more we learn about Arden and Luke's marriage, the more we realize it was not perfect. They loved each other, but he wanted adventures and she wanted to start a family. He lived for his work, she felt lonely and not supported by him when it come to her inventions. As strange as it sound, maybe that's a good thing the whole amnesia and disappearance happened to them, because with time, their solitude and divergence of interests would probably have made it worst between them. It's funny because every time I read a steampunk novel, I often wonder why I don't read more. It comes with an interesting universe and all its details, like the inventions and the wardrobe, and it's the perfect mix of historical, mystery, and it's even better with romance. I thought this book had a slow pace but I can't say I wasn't entertained or that the story and the world wasn't fascinating. I really appreciated that the aspects of the murders was not described with gruesome details. But I don't understand why they swept the truth about the killer under the rug at the end and I would have prefered the author didn't insist so much about the fact one of the secondary character is in love with Arden, especially since he was such good friend with both the hero and heroine. There's no triangle, but I just think it made it more sad for him to be constantly reminded about it. But I take comfort in knowing he's the next hero and will have his HEA next time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liz Schoenthal

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved this author when she was writing as Kathryn Smith and I thoroughly enjoyed this new move into steampunk. This book has spies, murder mystery, love and hot sex in the world of steam. In some ways the characters are very modern and in other ways you are strongly reminded that the setting is also Victorian England. There is a female prime minister and a female director of the W.O.R (wardens of the realm) but the aristocracy and a young lady's reputation are still of paramount importance. Ar I loved this author when she was writing as Kathryn Smith and I thoroughly enjoyed this new move into steampunk. This book has spies, murder mystery, love and hot sex in the world of steam. In some ways the characters are very modern and in other ways you are strongly reminded that the setting is also Victorian England. There is a female prime minister and a female director of the W.O.R (wardens of the realm) but the aristocracy and a young lady's reputation are still of paramount importance. Arden and Lucas remind me of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (at the beginning of the book). Arden works for the W.O.R. as a spy and inventor, she has a bounty places on her head by The Company (the rival spy network to the Wardens). The Company sends Luke to kill her, he has no memory of the fact that he's an Earl and Arden's husband, but he can't seem to carry out his assignment. Arden has been waiting for 7 years for Luke's return and isn't about to let him kill her or let him disappear again. Neither Luke nor Arden are perfect, they are both very human characters, but they are devoted to each other. I thoroughly enjoyed the steampunk aspects of this book, the fashion, gadgets, vehicles and human enhancements made it a fun fantasy read as well. The scenes where Arden goes to investigate the bodies of young aristocratic girls who have been murdered are not for the faint of heart, so be warned. However, I don't think it detracted from the book at all. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series and want to find other books of this quality in the steampunk romance genera.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Review to Come BOOKCITEMENT LEVEL 3.3/5 It's all right. Review to Come BOOKCITEMENT LEVEL 3.3/5 It's all right.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Interestingly enough, this book opened almost the same way that The Perfect Poison did, which since I was reading this while listening to that caused a little confusion. They very quickly distinguished themselves however. Heart of Brass is, unsurprisingly, a steampunk romance novel. I’d say it has about as much of a mix of romance and mystery/thriller as The Perfect Poison does. It is also the first in a planned series. Almost seven years ago Luke Grey, Lord Huntley, left his young wife, Arden, Interestingly enough, this book opened almost the same way that The Perfect Poison did, which since I was reading this while listening to that caused a little confusion. They very quickly distinguished themselves however. Heart of Brass is, unsurprisingly, a steampunk romance novel. I’d say it has about as much of a mix of romance and mystery/thriller as The Perfect Poison does. It is also the first in a planned series. Almost seven years ago Luke Grey, Lord Huntley, left his young wife, Arden, to go on a mission for the Wardens; a secret organization that protects the Empire. He never came home. Only Arden believes that he is still alive. Finally, with only days to go before Luke’s brother has him declared legally dead Arden sees him in London. The only problem is that he’s trying to kill her. Luke was captured by a rival organization during that fateful mission. He no longer remembers anything about his old life. He is a faithful agent of the Company and has been enhanced to be one of the most efficient killers in the world. He has come to London to assassinate Warden Arden Grey. But there is something about her… Meanwhile, someone is murdering eligible young debutantes. Arden has been called in by the police to assist them. She has invented a device that allows her to see through the eyes of the victims and observe their last moments. Unfortunately, none of the victims took a good look at her killer’s face. The killer has enhanced strength and Arden is horribly afraid that her husband may be responsible. The adventure element of this book is very fun. There are dangerous secret agents, narrow escapes, even air ships. The romantic side of things was a little less satisfying to me. Arden has been alone for seven years. Her husband’s best friend is in love with her, but she has never been tempted. However, when said husband does show back up… I don’t know. It’s not that it’s not passionate. I just felt kind of ‘meh’ about their romantic relationship. probably because I root for the underdog and liked the friend. Also, the murder mystery seemed a bit tacked on. I actually liked that part of the story, but it was kind of superfluous to the thrilling daring-do going on with the Wardens and the Company. I’m curious to see if the next book will be more agents of the Wardens or more of Arden and Luke. I kind of hope for more of them solving mysteries together, but I suspect that I’m going to get more new couples instead.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melindeeloo

    Although her husband has been missing for 7 years, Arden Grey - inventor, secret agent for the Crown, and consultant to Scotland Yard, refuses to quit hoping that he is still alive. Yet she wonders if she's lost her sanity when she catches a glimpse of his face while she is leaving the scene of a murder investigation. Five is a Company assassin who has never failed in an assignment - until today, there is just something about the woman he's supposed to kill that gave him pause and he let the opp Although her husband has been missing for 7 years, Arden Grey - inventor, secret agent for the Crown, and consultant to Scotland Yard, refuses to quit hoping that he is still alive. Yet she wonders if she's lost her sanity when she catches a glimpse of his face while she is leaving the scene of a murder investigation. Five is a Company assassin who has never failed in an assignment - until today, there is just something about the woman he's supposed to kill that gave him pause and he let the opportunity slip by, but he still has a job to do, so Arden Grey's days are numbered... My comments are mildly spoilerish, so be forewarned. Set in London just before the turn of the century, Heart of Brass was very steampunky - it had tons of inventions and corsets galore. The story unfolds against the investigation of two brutal murders and assassins out to kill Arden, and despite the the cop and spy stuff that provides the excuse to show how independant and clever Arden is - and to have a reason to show of all of the cool gadgets - Heart of Brass is at heart really about the reunion between Arden and her husband Lucas who has been physically altered and his memory tampered with by the rival agency and while Lucas doesn't remember their life together, he still feels an strong underlying connection to his wife. The murder investigation part is on the thin side and easily resolved when all is said and done, but I thought that the reconnection between Arden and Lucas was well done - she has to learn to let go of the past when Lucas' return reminds her of the reality of their marriage and of past hurts, and Lucas has to accept that much of his past is lost to him forever - but perhaps that might not be an entirely bad thing. So they both need to move on in order to have a future together and to see if the two people that they are now can find the love that their younger selves had. While the steampunkery of Heart of Brass makes this feel like science fiction translated to a historical setting, I still enjoyed the story enough that I will likely check out the Cross' next book Touch of Steel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    Arden Grey has been dealing with the disappearance of her husband seven years earlier by drinking too much, working as an agent for W.O.R., and inventing a number of gadgets. She also assists Scotland Yard in tracking down murderers by using an invention that lets her see what the victim saw just before they died. When an assassin comes to kill her in retribution for her killing one of the Company's agents, she is surprised to find that it is her lost husband. The Company had captured him, reinfo Arden Grey has been dealing with the disappearance of her husband seven years earlier by drinking too much, working as an agent for W.O.R., and inventing a number of gadgets. She also assists Scotland Yard in tracking down murderers by using an invention that lets her see what the victim saw just before they died. When an assassin comes to kill her in retribution for her killing one of the Company's agents, she is surprised to find that it is her lost husband. The Company had captured him, reinforced his bones, and wiped out his memories of the past. However, something stops him from killing her and the old memories start coming back. Luke is recaptured by Arden and other members of W.O.R. who manage to cut his ties to the Company. But his memories are spotty. He doesn't remember much about his wife or his past. Now he has to protect the wife he barely remembers but still really wants from the Company who still wants her dead. Of course, they want him dead too before he can reveal their secrets. I liked all the steampunk gadgets in this story set in Victorian time. I also liked the relationship between Arden and Luke. With Arden's memories of the past and her resentment of Luke's need to put his work ahead of his wife and Luke's lack of memory, both of them need to get to know each other again while keeping each other alive. This was a great story once I got into it. I did think that the first fifty pages were kind of slow until I got up to speed on the characters and the setting. Fans of steampunk won't want to miss this entertaining series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Viccy

    Another new series from Kate Cross, this time featuring the Clockwork Agents who are the Wardens of the Realm. Arden Grey, Lady Huntley is waiting from her husband, Lucas, Lord Huntley to return from his mission for the W.O.R. He has been missing for seven years. Arden wears a chain from her nose to her ear for each year, Luke has been gone. She has spent her time becoming a agent in her own right, as well as inventing all kinds of marvelous machinery. Then Luke appears on the streets of London, Another new series from Kate Cross, this time featuring the Clockwork Agents who are the Wardens of the Realm. Arden Grey, Lady Huntley is waiting from her husband, Lucas, Lord Huntley to return from his mission for the W.O.R. He has been missing for seven years. Arden wears a chain from her nose to her ear for each year, Luke has been gone. She has spent her time becoming a agent in her own right, as well as inventing all kinds of marvelous machinery. Then Luke appears on the streets of London, but he has been altered by the Company, the anti-Wardens and he is intent on killing Arden. Except he cannot; he knows, deep inside, that she is his and he cannot bring himself to kill. Then his memories start coming back and Luke realizes who he is. The only flaw in this book was the incessant yammering about Arden and Luke's life before his disappearance and how they were having problems. These sections needed editing. Otherwise, I enjoyed this book and recommend it for those who love their steampunk.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    "Arden, you are my life. I don't want anything else." (370) Lots to like about this steampunk romance, but lots to frustrate, too. Likes: strong, nuanced characters who reveal more layers as the story progresses; second-chance relationship; fun inventions to cure female "hysteria"; a romantic relationship purportedly focused on the equality of the partners Frustrations: underdeveloped world-building (just what is the Company, and why is it opposed to the Wardens of the Realm?); two suspense plotli "Arden, you are my life. I don't want anything else." (370) Lots to like about this steampunk romance, but lots to frustrate, too. Likes: strong, nuanced characters who reveal more layers as the story progresses; second-chance relationship; fun inventions to cure female "hysteria"; a romantic relationship purportedly focused on the equality of the partners Frustrations: underdeveloped world-building (just what is the Company, and why is it opposed to the Wardens of the Realm?); two suspense plotlines that don't intersect in any surprising or meaningful way; women in positions of power without any exploration of the social structure of 1898 England that would allow such a thing; and, most annoyingly, wish-fulfillment that demands the man give up everything so that his insecure wife can feel that she and she alone is all that matters to him. So much potential, but so many flaws. Hope some of the problems are mitigated in the second book in the series

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kes

    I'm really not the audience for this book. Basically, Victorian romance that has a steampunk background. There's talk about the aether; mechanical contraptions - but all of these are really background tools for the character to use, rather than an important part of the world. Arden's husband vanished seven years ago. As a member of the nobility, she has no need to work - but she spends time inventing. Her inventions include something that lets her see the last images of the dear and a discreet vib I'm really not the audience for this book. Basically, Victorian romance that has a steampunk background. There's talk about the aether; mechanical contraptions - but all of these are really background tools for the character to use, rather than an important part of the world. Arden's husband vanished seven years ago. As a member of the nobility, she has no need to work - but she spends time inventing. Her inventions include something that lets her see the last images of the dear and a discreet vibrator (there is a lot of sex here). There's not a lot of interpersonal conflict (which is common in romance books) - Arden and Lucas reunite and spend the rest of the time solving the external mystery. I mean, this was a book that passed the time, but wasn't interesting. 1.5/5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    This was aaaaalmost 5 stars for me! I love steampunk romance and this book was so so good! I could have used a tad more atmosphere and world building and a smattering of more smexy, but the relationship in this book was so unique it made up for that, with two complicated main characters who struggle to reconcile their past lives with who they've both become after long separation. I loved the dynamic between these two deeply imperfect characters and their romantic journey was unique and nuanced. This was aaaaalmost 5 stars for me! I love steampunk romance and this book was so so good! I could have used a tad more atmosphere and world building and a smattering of more smexy, but the relationship in this book was so unique it made up for that, with two complicated main characters who struggle to reconcile their past lives with who they've both become after long separation. I loved the dynamic between these two deeply imperfect characters and their romantic journey was unique and nuanced. I loved the heroine: she was strong, smart, sometimes bitter but also vulnerable. It was refreshing to see a heroine be angry but still likable and the journey of how Arden and Luke grow together as a unit is occasionally angst-filled but very rewarding. They don't run around acting like idiots and not talking to each other, they take things. I also loved that the supporting cast of characters is full of super smart, powerful women. The gadget detail in this book was cool and I have a huge weak spot for Alistair (sigh) so I'm looking forward to more world building in the next installment!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Preethi

    (Originally posted at www.keepersbookreviews.blogspot.com) **Actual Rating**: 3.5 stars **Book Format**: eBook Right after I read the synopsis for the book, I was really excited. I mean, really, who doesn't love a hot, steamy romance where one of the spouses wants to kill the other?! That has a lot of potential people, especially for a romance fanatic like me. What put the damper on my mood was that on Goodreads, one of the books marked as similar to this was The Iron Wyrm Affair, which was one of (Originally posted at www.keepersbookreviews.blogspot.com) **Actual Rating**: 3.5 stars **Book Format**: eBook Right after I read the synopsis for the book, I was really excited. I mean, really, who doesn't love a hot, steamy romance where one of the spouses wants to kill the other?! That has a lot of potential people, especially for a romance fanatic like me. What put the damper on my mood was that on Goodreads, one of the books marked as similar to this was The Iron Wyrm Affair, which was one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. I've read classics I like better than that book! Unlike that book though, Heart of Brass actually had a comprehensible romance, and was also easily understandable. The writing was far from dull, unlike the other book. Enough of comparisons though, let's get on with the plot. Arden Grey's husband, Luke, has been missing for 7 years, longer than they had even been together. Though everyone else in society believes he's dead, Arden refuses to believe that, knowing only that he's missing. For every year he's gone, she puts on a chain that connects from the piercing on her nose to her ear. One night, after being called in to use her contraptions to view the last moments of someone's death, she realizes that the female victim was higher class, and that her body was torn open while she was still alive. Wearily, she goes home and settles into bed. What she doesn't know is that her husband - who has forgotten her, and now only plans to kill her - was watching her the whole time, including the part where she undressed. Filled with a desire to ravish her rather than assassinate her, Five (Luke) is thrown out of sorts. And when Arden sees him with his hand on her throat, ready to kill her, her innocent cry of "Luke!" shows him that she knows who she is, despite what the Company has told him. He knows that before he kills her, he'll have to get answers about his past from her; she's the key to who he was. That'll be hard though, since whenever he sees Arden, killing her is by far the last thing on his mind. So if you didn't know, there two sides to England: one good, the other evil. They are the Warden and the Company respectively. The two sides always fought, whether or not on the same sides; without one, the other wouldn't know what to do. 7 years ago, right before he went missing, Luke had been working for the Warden. He was dedicated to helping England, and left his wife alone while he was off to find a traitor in their very own organization. When he never came back, Arden was devastated. She sought comfort by also joining the Warden, thereby able to push away her own emotional/unwanted feelings. Suddenly, Arden gets her wish. Her husband is back, though instead of loving her, he's trying to kill her. But when she finds out that the Company may have done this to him and messed up their mind, he's determined to save him and keep him from staying their pawn. But when he's captured Luke, and he starts remembering parts of who he is, she finds that he's not the man he once was, and realizes that she's not the same as before either. Suddenly, Arden's filled with self-doubt, wondering how many prostitutes her husband had in the past 7 years, and whether he'd leave her again, only this time, to marry someone prettier and younger than herself. She finds herself falling for her new - and improved if you ask me - husband, and is disheartened by what the loss of him for the second time would do to her. What she doesn't realize is that Luke is also falling for her, and really hates the prick that he once was. Still, while he's always protective and possessive of Arden, there's still a small part of him urging him to kill her. And after being gone for 7 years and coming back an almost totally different man - both physically and mentally - would Arden still love him, or find comfort with the man who has always loved her, his best friend, Alastair. With all their secrets and lost memories between them, can they ever open up enough to learn to live happily together again? And this time, when the two have to choose between duty and family, which will they choose. Though the romantic tension is obviously an important part of the book, don't forget the fact that now the Company are going to try and kill both Arden and her husband. And there's still that cold-blooded killer out there who kills girls out in the streets after dark, ripping them open with his bare hands. Also, there's a traitor in the Warden getting good, courageous people killed. And of course, is Luke actually remembering things, or is he just getting Arden softened up so that he can finally kill her? Heart of Brass was really an amazing book, and I'd recommend it to anyone who loves England and automatons. Basically, anyone who loves steampunk. Obviously, it's also great for romance lovers. I happen to love all those things, so it's no wonder I enjoyed reading the book:) The romance in the book was really sweet, or at least, as sweet as it could be with an alpha male and a sex-crazed woman who had a man touch her in 7 years. I especially loved this quote where Arden describes her "new" husband: "She was wrong - he didn't have shoulders like David. David should be so bloody lucky." I really didn't see a thought like that popping up in our intelligent woman's mind, but I guess men bring out the worst/weirdest in us women. Even without the romance though, I still would have enjoyed the book...okay, maybe not, but a normal person who likes steampunk for steampunk rather than romance would. So if you're anything like me and enjoy reading about love and "old-fashioned robots", I think this may be a good book for you to check out. It's a great book for people who enjoy Christian Romances. /-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/- Author - Kate Cross Title - Heart of Brass Publisher - Signet Eclipse Released May 1, 2012 Genre - Steampunk Ebook, 371 pages

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thuan

    One thing I hate most about books are unncessary segue into info dumps. Lady Huntley has been called by the inpsector to examine a crime scene. The inspector has, in the past, asked for her assistance many times. So we've know they have a history of working together, especially asking for Lady Huntely to use her mechanical appratus to examine the corpse. Yet...the chapter begins with “Explain to me again how these Aetheric Reminiscent Oscillation Goggles work.” I just hate these type of inf One thing I hate most about books are unncessary segue into info dumps. Lady Huntley has been called by the inpsector to examine a crime scene. The inspector has, in the past, asked for her assistance many times. So we've know they have a history of working together, especially asking for Lady Huntely to use her mechanical appratus to examine the corpse. Yet...the chapter begins with “Explain to me again how these Aetheric Reminiscent Oscillation Goggles work.” I just hate these type of info dumps. Why the heck would the inspector be asking like a grade A newbie when the author already says he had experience with it already. ARGH. I hate these incosistencies. Right. Off. The. Bat.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dark Faerie Tales

    Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: A fascinating steampunk spy novel complete with a heartwarming reunion. Opening Sentence: “You shouldn’t go in there, ma’am. ‘Tis no place for a lady.” The Review: You know, as I have stated before, I am still fairly new to the genre of steampunk as a whole, and so apparently is my spell check. But the more I read of it, the more I like it. And the costumes look so fun! In the city of London in the Age of Steam (so says page one) there resides a gro Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: A fascinating steampunk spy novel complete with a heartwarming reunion. Opening Sentence: “You shouldn’t go in there, ma’am. ‘Tis no place for a lady.” The Review: You know, as I have stated before, I am still fairly new to the genre of steampunk as a whole, and so apparently is my spell check. But the more I read of it, the more I like it. And the costumes look so fun! In the city of London in the Age of Steam (so says page one) there resides a group of men and woman, loyal to the crown, a secret spy type agency known as the Wardens of the Realm. These brave souls are doctors, inventors, noblemen and women, risking themselves to rid England of certain evils, namely the organization calling itself The Company. The heroine of this first novel has paid a handsome price in this war on evil, she has lost her husband. Seven years ago her husband, a W.O.R. officer, left her to go on a classified assignment in Paris, and never returned. Most people, including his own brother and best friend, feel he is most likely dead. His brother has even gone to the point of starting the proceedings to have him declared dead. Not believing what she cannot see with her own eyes, Arden Grey, Lady Huntley to her peers, has remained ever faithful and vigilant, knowing in her heart that her husband is not dead. On the night of an investigation into the grisly murder of a debutante, she fancies she glimpses a man on the roof of a building. The murderer perhaps, but for one startling characteristic. The man is wearing the face of Arden’s lost husband Lucas. When, later that night she is attacked in her own bed by that same man, and he does indeed have her beloved’s face, her life has been dramatically altered once again, and not all of it for the better. Her husband has returned to London, but now wants her dead?? The man called only Number Five is on a mission to enact revenge on an enemy agent for the murder of one of his colleagues. But, upon entering the bedchamber of his target, he finds himself oddly attracted to the woman, and even more oddly reluctant to carry out his orders. And when the woman wakes and calls him by a name he cannot recognize, but seems surprisingly familiar, he begins to question himself, and his life, and the job he is sworn to do. Why does he seem to remember this woman, and what did she once mean to him? When the questions and memories become too much, Five returns to Arden’s house looking for answers. Her words and the picture on the mantle paint an obvious picture. He was once her husband, and this was once his home. While there he is, well attacked isn’t quite the right word but I can’t seem to find it in my brain right now, maybe physically threatened by his bosses. Arden uses a machine to immobilize Five and keep The Company out of his head (literally) so he can live long enough to be turned in to the W.O.R. for rehabilitation, and be restored as her husband. Alas, the damage done by The Company is too much for Five/Lucas to completely overcome and he still remains mostly clueless on his past and years with Arden. Through the book the pair must dodge a few attempts by The Company to take them out of the equation, and Arden has another debutante murder on her hands as well. After yet another unsuccessful attempt at Arden’s life, they uncover a murderous scheme plotted by members of The Company involving a party on an airship and an explosion meant to turn it into the Hindenburg. Lucas and Arden, along with others from the W.O.R. find their way onboard and manage to thwart the plans to take it down, and Arden manages to find her killer as well. All in a day’s work, piece of cake and all that jazz.. This first book in the series is sure to make most people want to come back to read the next one, especially with that tiny bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the excerpt from the second installment, Heart of Steel. Though this is my first book by this particular author, she has written several other novels under a different pen name, I have no doubts that it will not be my last. Notable Scene: They were almost at the bottom of the steps when a voice called out, “Lucas!” Luke stopped and turned. Rani stood at the stop of the incline, an intense expression on her flawless face. She didn’t speak; she just stared at him with that one dark eye. A sense of dread washed over him. In that second he knew that she was no friend, and that she had only called out to delay him – separate him from Arden. He whirled around just in time to see Arden at the bottom of the steps, and a horseless carriage careening toward her, faster than he’d ever seen one travel before. He raced toward her. If the vehicle hit her it would kill her – that was no doubt the intent. The machine sped closer. He wasn’t going to get there in time. “Arden, move!” he shouted, his feet a blur over the steps. She didn’t look at him, didn’t question him. She must have seen death approaching. He watched out of the corner of his eye as his trusting wife dove out of the way. The vehicle swerved toward her…. Luke pounced, thrusting himself between Arden and the speeding carriage. He barely had time to brace himself for impact, but he turned his head away. Then the vehicle wrapped around him. The Clockwork Agents Series: 1. Heart of Brass 2. Touch of Steel FTC Advisory: Penguin/Signet provided me with a copy of Heart of Brass. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lorien

    I felt a little like this one was trying to hard. I didn't really love Arden, so I couldn't really get why everyone else did. Luke was alright. I liked that he didn't(view spoiler)[ rally get back all his memories. But he failed to Merton to her he'd slept with other women while he'd list his memory before he slept with her again. And that just felt like something one should share with a sexual partner and wife. (hide spoiler)] I'm also not a huge fan of second chance stories. But this was an in I felt a little like this one was trying to hard. I didn't really love Arden, so I couldn't really get why everyone else did. Luke was alright. I liked that he didn't(view spoiler)[ rally get back all his memories. But he failed to Merton to her he'd slept with other women while he'd list his memory before he slept with her again. And that just felt like something one should share with a sexual partner and wife. (hide spoiler)] I'm also not a huge fan of second chance stories. But this was an interesting take on one. And I liked it more than others I've tried.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I wasn't sure a book about a husband and wife would keep my attention, but there were plenty of dramas throughout to keep me interested. The book uses steampunk conventions in its world building - its a familiar world, perhaps even borrowed - but one thing of note was the sheer abundance of women running important organisations. It sounded like the law and public opinion still hadn't quite caught up though with all this female leadership, so I hope that is addressed further on in the series. I wasn't sure a book about a husband and wife would keep my attention, but there were plenty of dramas throughout to keep me interested. The book uses steampunk conventions in its world building - its a familiar world, perhaps even borrowed - but one thing of note was the sheer abundance of women running important organisations. It sounded like the law and public opinion still hadn't quite caught up though with all this female leadership, so I hope that is addressed further on in the series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joelle

    I really enjoyed the concept of this book, and I love a good steampunk book. The only thing that bothered me were a few scenes I felt had to skip- I would definitely recommend this for a more mature audience.

  20. 4 out of 5

    bumblethunderbeast

    10/10 for steampunk; 3/10 for being so heavily a romance. I loved the storyline and the delightful alternative universe. I was less enthralled with some of the details. Don't get me wrong, the romance fits right In line with the genre. I just endured those portions to follow the adventure. 10/10 for steampunk; 3/10 for being so heavily a romance. I loved the storyline and the delightful alternative universe. I was less enthralled with some of the details. Don't get me wrong, the romance fits right In line with the genre. I just endured those portions to follow the adventure.

  21. 5 out of 5

    brenda dodson

    ok Great book could not put it down. From start to finish kept me enthralled! Very entertaining and interesting. One great read

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Thomas

    Parts were good. Characters, underlying storyline, settings. Some of the resolutions were clumsy or a little out-of-the-blue. Curious about the next one, anyway.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I liked the world the author created and the characters were interesting but the story left me feeling kind of blah.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    This was actually really fun. Cross balances romance with Steampunk adventure and humor with serious action, all carried by interesting characters and interwoven storylines.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin Rains

    Loved this book!! It’s hard to find good steam punk and this was a Find!! Great world and character building. A superb ride!!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    I loved the premise of this one... Steampunk Spies, an amnesiac husband lost for seven years sent by the enemy to assassinate the wife he doesn't remember and murders all over the place, how could I not be drawn to a plot like that? The thing was I wasn't nearly as impressed with the follow through as I was with the idea. My first issue was the pacing, while painting a picture for the reader is nice and appreciate, it doesn't in my opinion need to be done so thoroughly that it causes the pacing o I loved the premise of this one... Steampunk Spies, an amnesiac husband lost for seven years sent by the enemy to assassinate the wife he doesn't remember and murders all over the place, how could I not be drawn to a plot like that? The thing was I wasn't nearly as impressed with the follow through as I was with the idea. My first issue was the pacing, while painting a picture for the reader is nice and appreciate, it doesn't in my opinion need to be done so thoroughly that it causes the pacing of the book to drag at some points. There were just time in reading this that I needed a break. I have a pretty active imagination so I'm not a reader who usually needs a ton of description to form a picture in my head, when I get an overabundance of it I just sort of feel weighed down in reading the book and have to walk away for a bit. Such is in my opinion the case with Heart of Brass. My second huge issue was the focus on sex. Based on the picture painted here, this version of Steampunk Victorian England thought about sex more than a frat house, a group of early pubescent teens, the owners of playboy and a sex toy shop store owner combined. They thought about sex, their sexuality and new inventions to get them off more than the porn industry. I'm all for a good sex scene, but seriously? Arden invents lots of gadget, the more coveted of which is basically a vibrator that she sells discretely to women of the ton and fellow female spies. The first murder scene takes places in a factory that makes rubber covered dildos. Yes, I'm serious. One of her first interactions with her new found husband is right following a scene where she gets herself off in the tub and he's outside listening without her being aware of it. I get that romances are often complemented by sex scenes and I enjoy some of the racier scenes as much as the next person but this is Victorian England, Steampunk or not the focus on sex and sex toys here is downright ridiculous. My third thing was contradictory views, one there's this huge focus on sex, but yet she refers to women being horny as female "hysteria" which prior to her invention (a vibrator) had to be treated with a discrete stay in a sanitorium. Okay if this is supposed to be a society which is completely accepting of buying, selling and using vibrators and dildos, they're not going to send women to the insane asylum for getting turned on. That makes no sense what-so-ever! Additionally this version of Victorian England not only is run by a Queen but both the Prime Minister and the Director of the Spy agency are women. So basically it's a mostly female run country, yet women are still property who follow the wishes of their husbands. HUH?! Why would a female led society treat women as property and how in said society if women are property could one run for public office? Correct me if I'm wrong but it's the Prime Minister an elected official? I'm not British and I don't claim to know the inner workings of the British government beyond what little bit can be picked up through being a fan of regency romance (so not much) but I was under the impression that royalty was by birth, the prime minister was elected. So these ideals seem entirely contradictory to me which I found irritating. The amount of modern slang strewn through conversation in the book that was supposed to be occurring in Victorian England was also kind of irritating in my personal opinion. My final issue with the book is so much of the plot happens before the book starts. You hear snippets of it in memories or conversation but you don't get to experience any of it. Luke was sent to assassinate Arden for killing Erlich, a Company spy who attempted to rape her. The whole thing with Erlich occurred prior to the first page of the book. Considering it's a huge plot point it might have been nice to actually be present for that little scene. Luke was taken by the company seven years prior during a Wardens of the Realm Mission during which he was attempting to expose a traitor in their midst and said mission was so top secret he didn't even tell his wife exactly what his mission was about. Again all this happens WAY before the book even starts. Seven years later said traitor still hasn't been found. Which tells me they're not very good at spying really. The things is both of these occurrences are major parts of the plot. The entire plot wouldn't be happening without these things having happened and yet they occur before the book even begins, we never know exactly what happened on Luke's mission, only little bits of it because he hasn't completely regained his memory by the end of the book and there are no flash backs or prequel novellas to provide said pivotal scenes which irritated me. I did like the book, I loved the potential in the plot, the idea and the characters. I love most of the gadgets and such, but I just didn't think it was as good as it could be or should have been. I'd recommend it, but wouldn't call it one of the best I've ever read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kadi

    Slow and boring trainwreck in happening. Lady Arden Huntley's husband, Lord Lucas Huntley, has been missing for 7 years in this confusing mix of accurate late 19th century information and sometimes implausible steampunk elements. Apparently, he went missing while on an assignment for one of Britain's spy service, Wardens (they have two that are mentioned, and it's important, since he works for the good guys). In seven years Arden alone has never given hope that he is alive, despite, 7 YEARS. Oh, Slow and boring trainwreck in happening. Lady Arden Huntley's husband, Lord Lucas Huntley, has been missing for 7 years in this confusing mix of accurate late 19th century information and sometimes implausible steampunk elements. Apparently, he went missing while on an assignment for one of Britain's spy service, Wardens (they have two that are mentioned, and it's important, since he works for the good guys). In seven years Arden alone has never given hope that he is alive, despite, 7 YEARS. Oh, and no proof showing that he is still alive. Moving on. During that time Arden has also become a Warden, to keep her busy and focused on her work, that work being an inventor like her father. All that does in no way relate to what happens before the book begins, meaning he kills a person, who is an agent of the 'bad guy' agency, the Company. In retaliation, apparently the Company sends an assassin after her, who is her long lost husband, with no memory of her, but who is lamentably unable to kill her. Must've been that she was a beauty with 'great tits'. His words, not mine. The rest of the book is all about balancing between memories, lack of memories, unrequited love, murders, unsuccessful kill attempts, family drama, and those confusing nonsensical facts about late Victorian age that make no sense in a steampunk novel excepting the fact that our Victorian age really had some steam-powered contraptions. So, where to begin. Arden is a drunkard. We learn this very slowly, about 1/3 into the book, where author keeps repeating, it helps Arden cope. Earlier it said Arden coped with the loss of his husband by withdrawing into herself and not showing emotions. Oh, and quite funnily, she drinks whiskey. If she really would have wanted to cope, hello? Look! There's an opium den! And there! Victorian age ladies imbibed laudanum, a derivative of opium to cope with their marriages, and no wonder, with everyone labeled with hysteria. And opium dens made it into this books reality so I just don't see the sense in this *nonplussed* The sex issue. In seven years, Luke has been brainwashed, operated on, augmented, whatever a steampunk reality can offer. He doesn't know anything about his previous life or that he has a wife, he is actually told he was a criminal who has been given a second chance. So of course, he has had a lot of sexual partners. Meanwhile, Arden has been patiently waiting for the husband to come back, indulging in no extra-marital relations at all, despite her friend Alastair's repeated hints. However, she has developed a device which helps 'female hysteria' and I'm guessing she is on quite friendly terms with it. In the book, after Luke and Arden reunite, Luke suspects something going on with his childhood friend Alastair and his wife and calls them on it, but not ever is mentioned about HIS flings while he had no memory of Arden. Fantastic. The beauty of double standard, husband who whores around and the virginal wife waiting for his return in the homestead. The book had a lot of subplots, to make things interesting and 'going', I guess. in that regard it succeeded, and even though none of the main characters were actually really part of the murder investigations that were occurring, they wouldn't haven't had time anyway, they had to deal with the memory loss, why Luke was kidnapped, why he was sent to kill Arden, etc, etc. So basically the murders were just filling in the book when main plot got stuck for lack of development. One good thing in the book, the main plot was built skillfully enough to hold my attention to the conclusion. Overall rating 2. I did finish it, even though the last half I had to skip. Might look into second book in series, for the entertainment value.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stéphanie

    When it comes to good steampunk novels, it’s important to have interesting and original mechanical gadgets. In this book, not only are they interesting, some are also pretty scandalous. I found it very bold for the author to introduce us to her steampunk world with a gadget similar to our modern day vibrator. For those of you who didn’t know, hysteria used to be a catch-all female ailment that affected affluent woman and it gained popularity in Victorian England. One of the treatments then for h When it comes to good steampunk novels, it’s important to have interesting and original mechanical gadgets. In this book, not only are they interesting, some are also pretty scandalous. I found it very bold for the author to introduce us to her steampunk world with a gadget similar to our modern day vibrator. For those of you who didn’t know, hysteria used to be a catch-all female ailment that affected affluent woman and it gained popularity in Victorian England. One of the treatments then for hysteria was orgasms and it’s around this time that the vibrator was invented to help these women. This novel is an historical steampunk romance, and while it does mention vibrators, I would never qualify it as an erotic novel. Another gadget introduced in HEART OF BRASS is the A.R.O.T.S. machine that allows someone to see the last images of someone’s life, an apparatus quite useful while investigating someone’s murder. Body enhancement apparatuses were also very popular in this novel and overall, I think the steampunk elements tied in very well with the story. It might have been courageous in some cases (vibrator, cough) but everything was elegantly done. Arden Grey, also known as Lady Huntley, is a brilliant female lead that creates and fabricates some of these mechanical gadgets. Ever since the disappearance of her husband 7 years prior, she has buried herself in her work with the Wardens of the Realm, a secretive organization that protects the Crown, for the London Scotland Yard and in building her machines. This escape into work isn’t because she’s mourning. Not at all. It’s her way of coping because being alone is difficult for her, but she never had any doubt about her husband’s survival. Even after 7 years, she thought her husband had simply been captured and would return to her well and alive. And return he did. Luke, or Lord Huntley, returned a completely different man, ordered to assassinate Lady Huntley, and with no recollection of his life prior to 7 years before. Captured by an enemy organization to the Crown, his memory has been wiped in order to transform him into an ultimate assassin with mechanical upgrades. I think I expected to see more scenes of Society and social calls but I’m quite happy the author concentrated more on the mystery surrounding Luke’s disappearance and the murder mystery Arden is trying to solve with Scotland Yard. I was disappointed a bit on how abruptly the murder mystery was solved. It didn’t seem like much investigation was done to find the savage murderer of Society’s debutantes, and personally, I found the ending too abrupt and clean cut. What did intrigue me however, was Luke’s amnesia. The idea of brainwashing a man into assassinating his wife is very clever. The interaction between Arden and Luke in the beginning of the book, while he still doesn’t remember his past, was brilliant. His mind and body was fascinated by how strong and unique Arden is and he felt something hindering him in completing his deadly task. With or without Luke’s amnesia, the scenes with Luke and Arden are so fun to read. Their personality and feelings for one another clashes from time to time to create great banter and romantic scenes. A romance book at heart, HEART OF BRASS is about two people falling in love again, despite hardships and a confusing past. The merging of steampunk elements into the story was very well done and I applaud the author for taking risky and scandalous chances. I will definitively be checking out the next book of this series soon.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Heart of Brass, Clockwork Agents #1, by Kate Cross Grade: B+ “It seems you were with me when I didn’t know it” Seven years ago Luke Grey went out on a mission and never came home. In those seven years his wife Arden has never given up hope that he is still alive and she has devoted her life to the Wardens of the Realm, the secret government Luke was working for. Arden is a woman with many talents including building all sorts of devices that can assist in police investigations which she does often. Heart of Brass, Clockwork Agents #1, by Kate Cross Grade: B+ “It seems you were with me when I didn’t know it” Seven years ago Luke Grey went out on a mission and never came home. In those seven years his wife Arden has never given up hope that he is still alive and she has devoted her life to the Wardens of the Realm, the secret government Luke was working for. Arden is a woman with many talents including building all sorts of devices that can assist in police investigations which she does often. While aiding the police on a very gruesome murder case Arden sees a man that she swears is Luke and her suspicions are confirmed when he tries to murder her days later. Luke Grey has been as assassin for The Company for seven years. His newest assignment is to kill Lady Arden Grey, a woman of the Ton who murdered a Company agent the year before. As Luke tries to carry out his mission he finds himself unable to kill this woman and it gets even worse when she says his name like she knows him. With old memories surfacing Luke must make a choice to kill the woman and complete his mission or take a chance and discover who he really is. Heart of Brass is my favorite steampunk novel that I have read so far. It has the perfect blend of 19th century England with all of the gadgets, technology and fashion that any steampunk fan will love. From the very first page I fell in love with the world that Kate Cross has made and I never wanted to leave. This book has it all: romance, murder and mystery all woven together to create a book I couldn’t put down until I finished it. Arden Grey is strong, smart and stubborn and I really enjoyed her. Arden never gave up that Luke was alive but when he comes back it’s very interesting to see how she adapts to the New Luke. I found myself feeling a little sorry for at times but she always picked herself up and did what she needed to do. The chemistry between Arden and Luke is sizzling and kept the pages flying. There were a few times when the story lagged a little but for the most part I loved it. We are given a small glimpse into the next book in this series Touch of Steel that comes out in December. This story will surround Alastair, Luke’s best friend, who we meet in Heart of Brass. To say I’m excited for this book is an understatement. I am hoping that this book can live up HofB and if it can I have found my new favorite steampunk series and author

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kara-karina

    After reading God Save The Queen by the same author under a different pen name Kate Locke, I was expecting something just as spectacular. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Heart of Brass is a weak romance novel with a tiny bit of steampunk, and it's such a pity as well, peeps! Arden could have been an awesome heroine. She makes fantastic mechanical inventions, she even invented a vibrating ring for women which sells like hot cakes, she assists Scotland Yard in murder investigations with the help After reading God Save The Queen by the same author under a different pen name Kate Locke, I was expecting something just as spectacular. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Heart of Brass is a weak romance novel with a tiny bit of steampunk, and it's such a pity as well, peeps! Arden could have been an awesome heroine. She makes fantastic mechanical inventions, she even invented a vibrating ring for women which sells like hot cakes, she assists Scotland Yard in murder investigations with the help of aether glasses that allow her to see last moments of the victim. She even wears tiny chains from her ear hooped into a ring in her nose like Indian women. Almost all female characters in this book are exotic and exciting. If not for men spoiling everything. In my opinion there shouldn't have been a come back for Arden's husband until the very end of the book, and there shouldn't have been emo love struggles from her friend and jealous rage from her brother-in-law when he found out that his brother is alive. It was tiring and it wasn't helping moving the plot in any way. All Arden was thinking is how to jump in her husband's bed and how angry she was at him. So she was shouting at him and then making out with him next. What also bothered me was that she was a functional alcoholic, and then stopped after seven years of drinking heavily, and the issues weren't mentioned enough to show the full impact of her decision on her health, there were hardly any struggles... The plot also went nowhere. It was dragging its feet with a search for the traitor spy and with Scotland Yard's murders investigation, and then suddenly all got resolved almost like an afterthought. You see, why I wasn't pleased with the book. Great ideas, bad execution. Not sure if I will continue with this series. Read at your own risk.

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