My review posted on Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/the-iron-duke-by-meljean-brook
For centuries, the people of England lived in fear of the Horde, whose tower controlled the nanoagents in the British people’s bodies. Then, nine years ago, Rhys Trahaearn destroyed the tower and freed England. With land, title, money and power, Rhys – commonly referred to as the Iron Duke – seems to have everything he could possibly want. Then a dead body is dropped from the sky to land on his front door and Rhys discovers he wants something more than anything he has coveted before: Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth.
Mina is no one’s possession. Having survived Horde control, she won’t give over to a man who sees her as something to claim, no matter how much he tempts her. Mina craves freedom, something she can never really have as the daughter of impoverished aristocracy (especially considering she has Horde blood running through her veins). But Mina discovers that Iron Duke is not one to give up his pursuit and her investigation throws the pair in close quarters, testing Mina’s ability to resist Rhys.
Mina and Rhys soon find they have bigger problems than the possibility of seduction. When Mina identifies the dead body, the pair begins to unravel a plot that could destroy the lives of all those infected with nanoagents. With the clock ticking on one hell of a bomb, Mina and Rhys must venture across treacherous waters, through zombie-infested land and danger-filled skies to save their countrymen…possibly at the cost of their own lives.
When I read the prequel to The Iron Duke
, “Here There Be Monsters,” I knew Meljean Brook’s new steampunk series would be one to watch. The Iron Duke
proved I was right. Ms. Brook reinvents Victorian London like no steampunk series has before, not simply adding technology and calling it steampunk but changing the very world to something new and exciting. The Iron Seas’ London is dark, gritty, and even more dangerous than its historical counterpart. Ms. Brook delves right into her world in The Iron Duke
, immersing readers in the now Horde-free world her protagonists inhabit.
The world-building in The Iron Duke
is beyond compare. I felt the world of The Iron Duke
come to life right off the page, and what a fantastic, engaging world it was. I’m hesitant to reveal much of anything because the fun was in the surprises. I will say that Ms. Brook’s alternate history and all that goes with it is complex and wholly entertaining.
As for the heroine of The Iron Duke
, it’s easy to fall for Mina. She’s incredibly intelligent, hard working, cares for her family, and handles racism with her head held high, no matter how much it hurts her. As for Rhys, he’s not easy to like, but that’s what makes him interesting. He’s got a past that has scarred him and I only wish I got to see a bit more of it, get inside his head more, so that he could come to life for me as fully as Mina did. The romance between the pair is filled with obstacles, both internal and external. This is the only part of The Iron Duke
that fell a bit short for me. It’s easy to see why Rhys and Mina fascinate one another, why they desire each other. But interest and passion aren’t love and the falling in love part felt rushed. There are jumps in relationship growth Ms. Brook takes that left me, the reader, feeling a bit left behind. The ending, which I will not spoil, was almost disconcerting in its hasty wrap up of the love story.The Iron Duke
is the first full-length novel in the Iron Seas series, and though it can be read on its own, I’m glad I read “Here There Be Monsters” (in the Burning Up
anthology) first. Aside from the fact that “Here There Be Monsters” is an incredible story, it gives readers a taste of Ms. Brook’s world before jumping in with The Iron Duke
. All in all, The Iron Duke
was a wonderful read and a magnificent start to the Iron Seas series. There are a number of supporting characters in The Iron Duke
that I can’t wait to see more of (Scarsdale in particular captured my heart from the start) and I look forward to reading Ms. Brook’s next Iron Seas adventure, Heart of Steel.