Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Love Spell (December 29, 2009)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Main Characters: Jillian Cooper and Marius Dumont
Book origin: Copy provided by author
Named for the angels, Los Angeles is a city of demons, a crucible of souls. It is Crimson City. Here vampires and werewolves vie for dominion, humans build soldiers of flesh and steel who seethe with fury. But alongside strife can be love--a love that cares nothing for species or origin.
Yet, love doesn’t always conquer. Marius and Jill have long been kept apart. Bound by destiny yet forbidden true union, he is vampire; she, human. And a marriage alliance that promises peace for all others shall separate them forever.
As if peace might be achieved so easily. Darkness is rising: a mysterious plot shall force every inhabitant of Crimson City to take sides. Deliverance exists, but first must come a tale of impossible passion and discovery, of Marius and Jill in a race against time leading back to the city’s paranormal beginnings, to Victorian London, to an era of invention and a world of CRIMSON & STEAM.
My Review: CRIMSON AND STEAM is one of those stories that made me want to glom the whole series at once. What I thought would be a wonderful story turned out to exhilarate me to no end. First I must say that this is book seven in the Crimson City series and I strongly urge everyone to read this series in order. While I loved every page of this novel I missed underlying nuances between characters and back story that could have added to an even higher reading pleasure.
It is from the very first chapter that I got thrust in into a highly imaginative world where the desperation of a soul mate love that cannot be tore at my heartstrings. Even though I didn’t have the full knowledge of their back-story the love between human Jillian Cooper and vampire Marius Dumont was palpable in everything they did or say. I love my romance to be high-stake, the more that is at risk for the hero and heroine, the more impact their emotions have and I take it in like the veracious romance reader that I am.
As Marius and Jillian continued to have this edgy push-pull attraction going on, the mystery started to come in to the picture with the death of a vampire. To answer all of Marius and Jillian’s questions they have to go back to the past, back to where Vampire and Werewolves originated. This is where a parallel storyline begins, we have the present and we have the storyline of London, England 1851. It felt like I was sandwiched between two impossible romances as 1851 held a different cast of characters with Charlotte Paxton and Edward Vaughan smack in the middle of it.
The sheer thrill of these two storylines working together to create a complete picture was fusing my eyes to the pages. At one hand I got the world how it is, with deaths and mayhem causing havoc between the current factions, and at the other hand I received a history lesson regarding vampires and werewolves in 1851. Every bit of info was important and found its place in the larger story that was told. I reveled in how the romances mirrored each other, how certain actions rippled its consequences in to the future and how a rose found such heart shattering meaning. Everything was multi-layered and yet worked as one to build towards a climax that I was waiting for with bated breath.
Though there was a plethora of characters as there were essentially two casts, the main characters were distinctive and formed the foundation of this story. Marius as a vampire is a leader of his house; full of responsibility towards his family as he lives and dies by his honor. There was a restrained essence in his character that I found appealing and triggered the need to find out who would get under his skin. Of course there was no surprise that this would be Jillian with her independent spirit and passionate nature. She was headstrong in her love for Marius and she empowered the romance with this attitude. I considered the sensuality to be very mild but that did not bear down on the strength of their feelings, on the contrary, it made their impossible love all that more realistic.
Now there was another romance going on that equally captivated me; that of Charlotte Paxton and Edward Vaughan. Divided by social status they frequently met at the exhibits in the Crystal Palace and there an attraction blossomed. What they don’t realize is that they are on the eve of the historical turbulent beginnings of Vampire and Werewolf Lore as Crimson City knows it. This story thread contained it all too; the star-crossed lovers, the suspense and a world changing fast with technology and inventions.
There are many supporting characters who further flesh out the world in their innate good and bad personalities. I’m highly curious about Hayden Wilks, is he a true enemy or a bad-boy who can be redeemed? Also the sister of Tatiana Asprey, Jolie, is one that makes me wonder how she will fare after this episode. More play their role like I-Ops Max Horschaw and Bridget Hathaway, but also the time period of 1851 has interesting characters and they enrich this tale like no other.
If there is one thing that fuses all separate elements together then it is the mystery that needs to be unraveled. From the moment I got inside Gregori Bell’s head and felt alongside him what he experienced during his death I wanted to know it all. What was at work here? Why and most important, how? It connects the time periods and two love stories together, and gave meaning to even the smallest things. At the edge of my seat I read on and got it all with CRIMSON AND STEAM. The ending is satisfactory in almost every way as it also felt like a beginning. A beginning I wanted more of and would have appreciated a small preview with an epilogue.
Liz Maverick delved deep in to her world and Lore with an exhilarating plot and two couples who charged this novel with a romance that is above and beyond. I am craving to backtrack the overall story arch to its origin in CRIMSON CITY.