|Y’all, this book was the perfect palate cleanser! Mission:Improper was my first Bec McMaster’s book, but it certainly won’t be my last. I have a feeling I’m going to be a big fan.
There’s mystery, there’s mayhem, there’s blood, and (of course) there’s a romance featuring a blue-blood (think vampire-lite) and a verwulfen (think werewolf-lite). Apparently, these two met a year before (in the original series-this is a spin-off) and have had it in for each other ever since. Like bad. And I don’t necessarily mean in the I-hate-you-I-wish-you-would-die-a-million-deaths-each-more-horrible-than-the-last kind of way either. More like I-hate-you-and-I-want-you-naked-in-my-bed-so-you-can-pleasure-me-in-a-million-different-ways-each-more-orgasmic-than-the-last. You know what I’m talking about.
Yeah, I love the whole “enemies to lovers” trope. When it’s done right, it gets me right in the feels. This situation makes a play at that angle, but it never quite got the whole “enemy” part down. We’re told a bunch of times that the MC blue-blood Caleb “Byrnes” is cold, aloof, and lacking a heart, but it doesn’t really come across on page that way to me. He always seems pretty damn passionate about everything, especially when it comes to Ingrid, our female verwulfen lead.
(Yes, I know Klaus and Caroline are both technically vampires, but their chemistry is undeniable. Klaroline forever.)
And speaking of Ingrid, I really liked her. That doesn’t happen often for me with female leads, but Ingrid pulls it off. She was pretty fierce and was never one to back away from a fight. Of course, because she never backed away from a confrontation she had to be rescued by our main guy quite a few times. Insert mild eye roll here.
I know I’ve played up the romance part, but McMaster’s does a great job balancing romance with all the other delicious action and intrigue. And there’s a surprising amount to be found here, folks. On top of that, there’s a whole slew of characters that we get to meet. Many are from the main series, I’m sure, as they feel like old friends, but there are others whose stories have yet to be told. Like right now, I’m super interested in Gemma and Obsidian. I need to know what’s going on there. Need. To. Know. I guess I’m hooked. Well played.
So here’s the main drawback: even though the description says it’s the first in a series, you basically get dropped into the middle of a lot of shit going on with a lot of people you have no idea about. Even with that going against it, by the end of the book I was able to get a good feel for the backstories of the previous players and get kinda sorta caught up on the current political atmosphere. I’m not saying you can’t start with this book, because I totally did, but I think it’s probably beneficial to start with her London Steampunk series first.
I know this is a really vague review. In fact, it’s less of a review and more of a statement of feels than anything else, but that’s pretty much how I related to it. It was just a lot of fun to read and it made me happy to do it.
There’s a lot out to choose from in this genre, or at least a lot in a variation of HR/PNR/Steampunk, but I think this series is totally worth the time. I was never bored and was genuinely interested in all of the characters and their stories. I’m 100% on-board with reading the next book, and, in the meantime, plan to catch up on the original series, too. It was just that good.
Stay-tuned for more reviews from this series!