Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Title: The Iron Duke
Author: Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #1
Pages: 378
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Format: Paperback
Genre: Steampunk
Source: Library

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.
My Review:
What an AMAZING book. I am absolutely beside myself with glee. I haven't been this giddy about a book since I can remember! I actually *squeed* myself out of my chair with happiness and love after reading the last few pages. I kid you not, this book makes you want to run around in happy circles, clutching the book to your chest, while crying happy tears of joy. The characters you ask? Amazing! The plot? Fantastic. The world-building? Absolutely, positively, PHENOMENAL. I honestly haven't found a world that I've loved this much since...since...ever! It's an absolutely fantastic. You would think that it would be hard to suspend your belief when dealing with automatons, mind-control nano-bots, and bones of metal that can grow alongside flesh, especially in a setting like Victorian England, but really, accepting Meljean's world is as easy as breathing. The rules and logic that are applied to this Steampunk world are nothing if not realistic. The science is different and complicated, but you can still understand why things happen and there is almost no mysticism or faith and magic involved. Even with things that are very paranormal, like the zombies, there is a logical explanation for them and it's so very original! Even from other types of books that have zombies in them. Mina and the Iron Duke's world is so complex that I feel like I need to immediately turn back to page one just to experience all the amazing all over again.

I really don't even know where to begin. The Iron Duke has so much to offer that if I were to describe everything I loved about it, I could write a freaking novel about it. Let's go with the gadgetry. It was INCREDIBLE. From the nano-bots that simultaneously increase strength and keeps you under control, to the smashing hydraulic arms that have been surgically implanted onto the arms of the commoners so that they can work the coal mines better, to the delicate butterfly *cough* unmentionables that help a woman out when shes...*cough* having a good time alone...the mechanics and machines of this world are unbelievable. They help to sketch this terrifying picture of mechanics and control, of humans replacing their body parts with machines, of humans using machines to decimate others, and most of all , machines that are actually evolving to become part of the natural human body. It is so completely awesome, and these machines aren't even special. The people of England deal with them every day, they are seriously need to experience this world for yourself to appreciate the fabulousness.

My gosh you guys! The chemistry between Rhys and Mina is so powerful that you'll be squirming in your seats even before any of the clothes come off. Do you know how sometimes there's just this electricity between two people that draws them together and makes every minute that they're together just buzz with possibility? That is SO Rhys and Mina. They can't seem to help themselves when it comes to each other, even if it's in their better interests to leave each other alone. That's how Mina and the Duke were. And their story was made even more powerful because of all the hurt feelings and dark secrets deep in their psyches. That sounds weird, but it was Mina's insecurities with falling in love, and Rhys inability to make lasting relationships that made their story so powerful and romantic. Both of them have suffered, have felt the bitter pain of loss and rejection, so when they finally come together you are so totally rooting for them! And let me fire-alarm hot. I just about passed out from the heat between the two and how powerful and passionate their love-making scenes were. You'll be swooning all over yourself for sure!

What I totally adore about Meljean's writing style is that it isn't for wimpy losers. That sounds odd...let me clarify...You really need to whip out the big guns and hold on to your panties when reading Meljean....okay I might need to clarify even further...The Iron Duke isn't some piece of fluff that you can read in the 10-20 minute breaks between work, class, etc. This is the kind of book that demands your attention, that forces you to read for hours at a time because it is literally that great. The pace is very fast and you need to keep up in order to appreciate the greatness of the story. It's a thoroughly engaging piece of world-building and characterization that has action falling out it's ears. You need to have your wits about you when trying to read it or you will be left behind, because Meljean isn't going to spell out every detail for you. You have to draw conclusions, make assumptions, and figure things out for yourself, which might leave some readers confused, but I found it very refreshing. Just know that you should pay attention and don't let yourself skim or you will be left in the dust and the powerhouse that is the Iron Duke will be trampling all over you.
I give The Iron Duke 5 Keys! This book was absolutely, positively, wonderiffic. I was going to save this post for my Steampunk event in February, but I just had to share it today. I was SO excited and thrilled by this book that I had to get my word out immediately. I can't even imagine myself enjoying another Steampunk book ever again. It's that good. I would rate it a 6 if there was such a thing..In fact, I rate this book as the best book I've read all year. If you like Steampunk, you need to get your hands on this book now. If you like Romance, you need to get your hands on this book now. If you like words that form sentences that form paragraphs that form pages, you need to get your hands on this book...I am so giddy that I can barely see straight. This is definite keeper shelf material. Go out and buy yourself a copy right freaking will thank yourself for it.


  1. Fantastic review, Andra! I totally agree, this book is phenomenal! I loved it to bits!

  2. Oh my dear. I absolutely love Steampunk. I will definitely check this book out. It sounds wonderful. :D

  3. loved the review. I hadn't heard about this book before, thanks for the heads up.