I am very late to the party on this one judging from the number of GR reviews. I'm not quite sure what took me so long to pick this up, but winning the second book Heart of Steel
in a giveaway hosted by the author finally prompted me to start reading THE IRON DUKE.
And you know what? I really really liked it.
I loved the incredibly imaginative, in-depth, and consistent world-building. There wasn't just a passing nod to steampunk - instead, everything, including the mindset and behaviour of the characters, came across as note-perfect, making this alternate-history world feel real and believable.
The plot itself is not a complicated one - it's a murder mystery with political undertones, combined with some old-school romance. But combined with the refreshingly unique backdrop, this was an thoroughly entertaining and satisfying read.
I know this book generated some controversy, which I do want to mention(view spoiler)[, particularly re the forced seduction scene and also whether the hatred for the Horde veered into racism. All I can say was that I think the author redeemed Rhys on the former, and the latter made sense in the context of the world, and that it played an important part in explaining Mina's character and inner strength (hide spoiler)]
I'm glad I have HEART OF STEEL in my TBR pile, because I need to know more about this world.