Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas #1)
Paranormal Historical Romance
October 5 2010
Yummy Man – Rhys Trahaearn
Kick Ass Chick – Mina Wentworth
“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.
Mina can’t afford his interest, however. Horde blood runs through her veins, and despite the nanotech enhancing her body, she barely scratches out a living in London society. Becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him…and the Iron Duke’s ruthless pursuit makes him difficult to resist.
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.”
Steampunk. Worlds usually set in late 19th century England where machinery holds supreme. Where clockwork gadgets are everywhere – in your home, in your place of work and even sometimes in you. It is difficult to write a Steampunk based book well. It’s easy to get caught up in the gadgetry and the details that you forget the characters or the story. Meljean Brook has written a book filled with all of the elements you would expect in such a setting but didn’t lose any of the excitement or character. In other words, “The Iron Duke” is Steampunk done very very well.
The world is just made of too much awesome to give it justice and the plot just has too many great twists and turns to try to get into without this review being filled with “And then this happened and then this happened and then this happened and the, omg, this happened…” so I’m just going to talk about the characters and the overall feel of the book. Just remember this: Meljean has built a world that is very complex but you don’t feel overwhelmed in it or its details. She did a fantastic job making you feel like you are right there in this impossible scenario as though it actually was like that once upon a time in the World even when her world includes Pirates and Zombies.
I’ll start with Inspector Wilhelmina Wentworth, or Mina. Mina has had a hard life, despite being an Earl’s daughter. She has had to work even harder than most to get to where she is today. She is a very good inspector with a keen eye and quick mind. She truly values those around her who know her for her true self and who love her for it. She will do anything to keep them happy, even if it means being unhappy herself. And even when faced with England’s hero the Duke of Anglesey, a man who is not used to being refused anything, she holds her own.
Rhys Trahaearn, given the title of Duke of Anglesey after having liberated England from the Horde’s hold, is a pirate…and everything that entails. He knows what he wants and gets it, no matter the cost. He is the boss. But Mina brings out a softer almost vulnerable side to him that is really lovely to see. He’s even confused by it. He wants Mina to need him, but he sees that she’s well enough without him. There really isn’t anything that he can offer Mina and he’s lost in that fact. Rhys just owned the pages he was on. And every time he speaks in the book, I hear the Beast’s voice from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It just fits him, that low yet gentle growl.
The supporting characters in “The Iron Duke” blew me away. Constable Newberry, Mina’s sidekick is a big teddy bear. Protective of Mina but without overstepping his bounds. Scarsdale is Rhys’ sidekick. Always drunk and full of funny stories and one liners that had me giggling out loud. And finally there’s Yasmeen, captain of the Lady Corsair airship. A spunky lady who won’t take crap from anyone, man or woman. They are all great characters that compliment their counterparts and the story perfectly.
Essentially, “The Iron Duke” is an adventure story with a mystery to solve and a country to save. It’s not a fluffy read. It’s gripping. But to off-set the stirring moments, Meljean includes many tender and some outright funny scenes. I especially love the scene with Rhys, Mina and the sheaths box. That’s all I’m going to say about it so if you want to know, you’ll just have to read the book. 😉
This was my first Meljean Brook read and if it’s any indication to her style and her voice, I’ll definitely add her long running ‘Guardians’ series to my wish-list. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Iron Duke” and am glad that it’s just the beginning of a new series by this talented author. Book two in the Iron Seas series, “Heart of Steel”, is due out November 2011.
Giggle worthy quotes
“Oh blue heavens. Chasing after a man armed with a gun and the stupid pirate only had a dagger.”
“’I’m afraid several of the ladies have left. Apparently, it’s the height of indecency for a soused bounder to burst through the front entrance carrying a bleeding street urchin.’”
Swoon worthy quote
“’From the very first, I knew you’d be dangerous to me. I should have run.’
‘I’d have caught you.’”