Title: The Iron Duke
Author: Meljean Brook
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
Genre: Steampunk Romance
First in an all-new series where seductive danger and steampunk adventure abound in the gritty world of the Iron Seas.
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.
Summary from Goodreads.com
My Review: I have been looking at the screen for a little while trying to put into words just how much I love this book and I am struggling. Does anyone else have a harder time writing reviews for books they love as opposed to books they did not enjoy as much? Well I do. I am going to attempt to express my love for this book and not just squeal with giddiness, so here goes.
The first thing that drew me into this book was the world itself. Meljean paints a magnificent picture of a world that is fascinating and engrossing. In some books when an author is describing a world it can get wordy and I will skim ahead. The Iron Duke forced me to slow down and soak in every word. The way Meljean worked the descriptions into the plot was seamless and you got just enough of how the world around them looked mixed with what the characters were doing. The Victorian backdrop blends perfectly with the futuristic iron creations that are involved in the characters’ lives. I was infatuated with learning every detail about how iron played such a large role in society and could be used for practically everything from prosthetic limbs, to mirrored eyes from which someone can actually see out of, to mechanical butlers. The possibilities seemed endless and whenever a new creation made an appearance I was eager to learn more about it.
I also appreciated the quick moving plot and the fact that Meljean did not drag it out with one goal that lasts the entire length of the book. It is a quest that starts out with Mina just investigating a simple murder and takes her and Rhys (The Iron Duke) through multiple battles that involve pirates, zombies and people crafted from iron all out to destroy them. They face a number of advisories and every time they think they have uncovered the person behind the murder, they fall deeper into an overall scheme that will affect all of England. The dots get connected at a rapid fire pace and I never quite knew who they should trust or what they would find around the next corner, but I was consumed with the desire to find out.
As for the romance in this story, it is a very slow build. There were quite a few points where I wanted to reach into the book and shake Mina for her hesitancy. Not that her concerns are not justified, I just don’t know how she had such willpower to resist the Iron Duke. He was extremely persistent and pursued Mina with such a fierce passion. His determination to win her became his soul mission and she could only fight her feelings to give into him for so long. The anticipation of the romance built through the novel and when Mina and Rhys finally let their hearts lead them the result is explosive. The time they take to get to know each other also leaves the reader with a deep emotional connection to characters and a vested interest in their well-being.
Overall, this is an exquisitely written book that I was fully engrossed in from the very beginning. It was my very first Steampunk book which had me hesitant at first since I do not know much about the genre, but now that I have read it I will certainly be looking into this genre further. My only complaint is that I wish I could read more of this world immediately! The next book comes out in November so luckily I do not have that long to wait, but right now it feels like an eternity! This book is a must read if you are a fan of Steampunk and if you have not read any books in this genre than I highly suggest you try out The Iron Duke. It is a dramatic start to a new series that will leave you aching for more!