Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Bec McMaster’s The Mech Who Loved Me takes us back to the steampunk London of bluebloods, verwulfen, mechs, humanists, the Echelon, the Nighthawks, assassins, and now, dhampir.
Overall, I found this book. . .fine. 4 out of 5. To start, Ava was nice, and I love a good bluestocking, but I wish she’d had a little more backbone (as in I wanted her to have more backbone as a person, not that I thought she was a poorly written a character). I think I also wanted the book to weight more toward Ava’s perspective, but actually, we got a lot more Kincaid. I liked him alright, he wasn’t an asshole, which is always a turnoff. But I wanted to spend more time with Ava, so there were a few times I was surprised to start a chapter and still be with Kincaid. He had a great backstory and family, but we never really got in depth to Ava’s past personal life, only her musings on it and her PTSD from Forged by Desire. Mostly, I just wanted this to be Ava’s book, but I would class it as Kincaid’s book.
I do feel that many parts were well done. The romance was both sweet and steamy, and the overall plotting was solid as ever. For some reason though, I felt like the conspiracy plot was pretty light in this book, though when I think about it, there was plenty happening. Perhaps it’s just that Ava isn’t an action hero like some of the others, like Ingrid. There were also a few typos that I’m sure will be ironed out soon, but nothing that made the book unreadable. I enjoyed the slightly broader view we got on the world, what has happened in other countries, how their histories play into the British bluebloods.
Among the things that I particularly like with the series and this book are the way the humanists and mechs are described in the way they are struggling against the upper classes. Usually fantasy stories and romance stories (and historical stories) focus on the lives of the wealthy, so I really enjoy seeing the working people’s struggle, especially as it parallels the struggles that people also had for workers rights. A half point for that.
When Kincaid started doing a whole “I’m possessive,” schtick, I definitely felt a little disappointed, because I really hate possessive heroes (and probably possessive heroines, but I don’t encounter those very often). But, it didn’t become a thing, which I very much appreciated. Actually, despite him saying that, they didn’t really seem to go down the route of the possessiveness trope much at all. Which I suppose fits his character much better than being possessive.
I’m not sure what I think about *spoiler* him becoming a blue blood. I kind of liked that the Company of Rogues was made up of all different members of society. I understand why it happened and I’m sure McMaster knows what she’s doing, but from my vantage in fandom, I liked the make-up of the Company without that twist. *spoiler*
In summary, it’s not my favorite book of the London Steampunk world, but I think that a lot of that is my personal preferences rather than any weakness of the story. It’s a solid installment in the series and another good read from McMaster. I’m here for any London Steampunk world whenever I want fantasy romance, and I plan to give this one a re-read and see how I get on.