A Dark Heart (The Elders and Welders Chronicles, Book 2) by Margaret Foxe.
November 26, 2013 (Steampunk Romance)*
Rating: Outstanding adventure!
I first learned of The Elders and Welders Chronicles books when I snagged a copy of book 1, Prince of Hearts, as a freebie from the Kindle Store. Those who give Kindle freebies a try know that its really difficult to find a good book there. But, since I love steampunk romance I had decided to give Prince of Hearts a chance and I absolutely loved it! It was simply a lot of fun, so I was really excited to hear that there was going to be a sequel and even more excited to get a review copy from the author. A Dark Heart was just as fun and the romance was just as lovely.
Lady Christiana Harker has been in love with Inspector Elijah Drexler for ages. And I do mean ages, since she met him as a young boy. This is not as weird as it sounds, since Christiana is immortal thanks to her guardian, Rowan, an Elder who has the ability to share his immortality. Of course, Elijah being a commoner and a bastard feels he is nowhere near appropriate for Christiana. He’s also keeping a lot more of his past to himself than Christiana knows, and of which he has no intention of ever sharing with her. In his opinion, a lady such as she should not have to deal with the horrible things that happen in life, and some horrible things happened to Elijah. Christiana is more stubborn than Elijah gives her credit for, and when Elijah is almost killed by the Ripper, Christiana risks it all and inadvertently makes Elijah a vampire. But does Elijah want to be saved?
A Dark Heart picks up 9 years after Elijah’s been made a vampire. At this point his reliant on opium to get him through the day and has no intention of ever taking Christiana’s blood to save himself, even if that’s what he craves most. He simply wants to get through the day, get his revenge on the man that abused him and die. Christiana is ready to give up on Elijah and move on with her life when she learns of Elijah’s addiction and impending death from refusing her blood. She plans to try one last time to save the man that does not want to be saved.
If she’d know the truth, she wouldn’t have saved him. He knew that with a bone-deep conviction. She certainly wouldn’t look at him as she did now, with such a yearning (p. 63).
A Dark Heart was a great, fast-paced, romantic read and I completely loved it. I love all things steampunk so I was immediately on board with the world building in this Victorian London. I also really liked the vampire myth used here and the secret society surrounding those that can create them. I also liked the closer look that we got with the Elders in A Dark Heart and I’m hoping that each of the “good guys” get their own story.
While the story and intrigue plot was great fun, what really stole the show was the romance between Christiana and Elijah. Christiana’s dealing with her immortality and the fact that there’s a lot in life that she will never get to experience, things like becoming a mother. She’s also completely broken by Elijah’s rejection of her. She doesn’t understand why he doesn’t care for her and believes that she just isn’t desirable to him. Who doesn’t like these unrequited stories where the girl finally gets the guy? ‘Cause get the guy she does!
Elijah was kind of a heartbreaking character. He had a horrible childhood, if you could call it that, and that’s obviously left its mark on him and shaped him into the man he is now. He’s convinced that his life isn’t worth living and hates what Christiana has made him. In many books it never seems to make sense why the hero is pushing away the heroine, but in A Dark Heart, it’s all too tragically obvious why Elijah is pushing Christiana away and you can’t help hoping that he will finally discover his self-worth.
It took some time for both Elijah and Christiana to come to terms with each other and understand what the other was going through, but I thought that this journey was lovely and fraught with difficulties that made the happily ever after all the more satisfying. I never felt that the romance was drawn out and it made sense for these characters to put up the resistance that they did. I loved that Elijah was awkward and somewhat uncomfortable with being in a relationship, it made him completely adorable.
She crept up to him, stood on her toes, and kissed the end of his nose.
And there he went, blushing yet again. She kept doing the most exquisitely tender, slightly…madcap things to him (p. 242).
Elijah and Christiana’s growing relationship was filled with more of the above scenes and they were completely adorable. I loved every moment of their discomfort and I found it endearing and swoon-worthy.
I very much recommend this one for fans of steampunk romance, especially if you’ve read and liked anything by Bec McMaster, Kristen Callihan or Cindy Spencer Pape. A Dark Heart had a very similar feel to these author’s steampunk works. I for one can’t wait to read the next installment in the Elders and Welders Chronicles and getting to know the other mysterious Elders.
*Review copy provided by the author.
Kiss of Steel: Lots of vampires here! If you liked the vampire feel, check it McMaster’s take, it’s also very cool, and the rest of the series is pretty awesome too!
Firelight: Another tortured hero! Archer reminds me a little of Elijah since they both don’t feel like the deserve their heroine – luckily they both get happy endings.
Moonlight and Mechanicals: Pape’s series and style really reminds me of A Dark Heart. This one is book three and is probably the most like A Dark Heart, but with werewolves (which is awesome!).
Never Been Bit: I discovered this one by chance, but I loved it! Alec’s another lead that doesn’t like what he’s become as a vampire, but like Elijah, he’s lucky enough to find someone who finds the good in him.
Heart’s Blood: This one is probably the least like A Dark Heart, as it’s more fantasy heavy than a romance. However, the world building is just as cool, and I loved the emphasis on magic here.