June 15, 2011

Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Is no secret that I’m a huge fan of paranormal romances and even techno-fiction and sci-fiction.  I’m the first to recognize that I have read I don’t know how many novels about strange things and creatures. However, as open minded as I am, I had never ever tried Steampunk, the mix between historical and sci-fic wasn’t exactly appealing for me. Then, Brie wrote this great review about Here There Be Monsters and I decided to give it a go. Again I’m in huge debt with Brie –I’ll need several lives to pay her-.

The Iron Duke is the first novel of the Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook. You don’t have to read Here There Be Monsters- a novella- to follow the plot, however reading it will give you a necessary background to understand the complex and detailed world that Brook has created.

The story starts when Inspector-Detective Mina Wentworth is called to investigate a corpse found in the Iron Duke’s land. The Iron Duke is a national hero who 9 years ago freed England from the Horde –an Asian nation that had dominated the western world for the last 200 years-. England is now free from the Horde but after generations oppressed people is still fearful and full of hate. Mina, our heroine, is a victim of this hatred because she is part Asian and the product of a rape during a Horde frenzy.

Nevertheless, years had passed and Mina’s incredible mind has allowed her to work as a detective. She is directly appointed to work on the murder of the mysterious man dropped into the Iron Duke Fortress and her investigations led her to discover that not only the life of someone close to her heart is in danger, but the future of the whole country is also in jeopardy.

This is how the Iron Duke, whose name is Rhys Trahaearn, and Mina embark in a journey that leads them to the sea in search of his ship and a dangerous weapon created to control England. They confront zombies, pirates, automatons (robots), kraken (a monstrosity created by the Horde that inhabited the Sea). But with their journey they also discover a great attraction and sexual awareness.

Rhys is an alpha male that is dead bored with his responsibilities as a Duke. He has an awful past and in this book we learn a lot about his infamous years as a pirate. Mina is a hard working woman who has learned to deal with her equally awful past. She is in peace with herself but she has given up any chance of romantic happiness.

The plot is compelling and the world that Brook has created is incredible. I’m amazed by her creativity; in true is hard to believe that one person can come up with such a rich realm that is completely different to the one that she created for the Guardian Series. I did have some troubles following the descriptions because there are too many details but once that your catch up with all the techno-stuff (that’s how I call all the technological sci- fiction in the book) you will find yourself entertained.  I’m giving this story a 4 because there are a lot of characters that are left hanging and I would have loved to know more about them (although I guess that they are probably going to have their own books); besides I’m still trying to figure out how it is that some of the “gadgets” work. I also would have loved to read a little bit more about how Mina and Rhys overcome their past. But let me be clear, this world is worth every single minute that you spend in it! I’m looking forward to read her next installment.

Review by Marie
Grade: 4
Sensuality: McSteamy

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power-and fear-of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.
Berkley Trade; October 5th 2010  

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