Katie(babs)'s Reviews > The Iron Duke

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
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's review
Apr 04, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: i-want-to-have-babies-with-the-book
Read from September 20 to 23, 2010

My review of The Iron Duke won’t do enough of justice. The entire time I read, my jaw was dropped in amazement. The Iron Duke has wowed me in some many ways. Meljean Brook is an author I’m loyal to, through and through. It’s a great feeling to have started with an author since the beginning of their writing career and watch them evolve and continue to astound with every single book they’ve written. The Iron Duke is mind-blowing in such a way that it may just turn the romance genre on its ear, including the Steampunk genre that still has many readers scratching their heads in confusion because they just can’t understand it.

The plot of The Iron Duke is one of the most complex I’ve read in a long time. The last author who made my head spin in such a way was Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy. Bishop’s books have such intricate world-building, where it’s nearly impossible to explain it all. The same applies here with The Iron Duke. What I can tell you is that the world Meljean has created is a very scary and uncomfortable place, and one I wouldn’t want to live in. For the past two-hundred years, the Horde has ruled most of Europe, very much like a terrorist organization that sends fear into the hearts of many, including England. The Horde has far reaching hands, but those who were lucky enough to escape parts of Europe, mainly England, to America, are now slowly returning back to the land they left behind. The reason the British fell to the Horde was that the Horde hid things called nanogents, invisible bugs, into tea and sugar where they traded it very cheaply. Then the Horde the activated the bugs. This gave them control over the British. Can you just imagine, with a touch of a button, where someone has the power to make your body do whatever it wants? Or suppress your emotions where you don’t have the freedom to feel the way you want to? The Horde is able to do all this and so much more. And then one man rose up and went on a suicide mission to end the Horde’s slavery. Nine years ago, The Iron Duke, known as Rhys Tarhaearn, former pirate captain and recently titled Duke of Anglesey flew his ship into the Horde’s controlling tower, ending the Horde’s reign over England and becoming their national hero.

Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth knows the Iron Duke’s reputation very well. Mina’s parents are poor even with their Lord and Lady title, and their daughter is ridiculed and spit upon because Mina was conceived during a state function the Horde held where all the peers of the realm were required to attend. The Horde planned a Frenzy, forcing the guest to engage in sexual acts with anyone and anybody. Mina was the outcome and has Horde blood running through her veins. But an important fact to bear in mind is that Mina loves her parents and visa-versa. They protect and care for one another deeply.

Mina finds purpose in her job as an inspector, even though her latest investigation leads her straight to the Iron Duke’s doorsteps. A body has been dropped from an airship, and is some sort of warning against the duke. The Duke wants to handle matters himself, and away from the police, including “handling” Mina in his own special way. Mina refuses to succumb to the Iron Duke’s regard toward her, but has no choice but to let him join her on the investigation because what he wants, he gets.

Someone is building an invention, a weapon the Horde would use, if they could to take over England again. Mina has a personal stake in the case when her younger brother, who’s training aboard Rhys’s former air ship, which is used by the British Navy, has been hijacked and the crew held for ransom. Now Mina has to rescue her brother and try to save England at the same time.

Mina won’t be alone on this mission. Rhys will come with her, using not only his brains and former skill as a pirate, but along with a few trusted friends such as the Lady Yasmeen Corsair, the captain of her own airship, and Rhys’s close friend Scarsdale, a drunk who is afraid of heights, but has a man’s back during a fight. Mina has so much to lose because Rhys has targeted her for his own. He has laid claim to Mina, and the price he’s asking is too high for her to accept. Rhys is not one to take no for an answer, and soon he’s cutting away at Mina’s resolve where she wants to give into the desires The Iron Duke is offering regardless of the consequences.

Everyone so often I’ll have a call to action telling people to buy a book and drop any other book they’re reading at the moment. Here I am again with that call for The Iron Duke. There are not enough adjectives to describe what a wonderful experience I had while reading The Iron Duke. This is one book that makes me want to applaud because it’s so damn good. Meljean brings forth the steam, and I’m not just talking about the steam from the airships and machines within these pages. The things that come out of Rhys’s mouth in regards to what he wants to do to Mina, and then does to her, had me blushing. Hello? Me, your pervy KB blushing over a love scene? That takes immense skill from an author to be able to make me have such a reaction. The amount of times Rhys gives pleasure to Mina, and the way it’s describe in graphic detail, will make you melt into a pile of goo. This is one relationship that’s incredibly passionate and straight up sex on a stick. Something very important to keep in mind is that Mina is no pushover when it comes to Rhys. Poor Rhys never stood a chance with Mina. She is his salvation, and soon his reason for breathing.

There’s a combination of swashbuckling fights that brings to mind the 1935 movie, Captain Blood, ravenous, crazed zombies, and enough science fiction and fantasy to make you agog because Meljean makes it work so well together when it shouldn’t.

While reading The Iron Duke, I couldn’t stop thinking about the 1984 movie, The Terminator. There are many subtle instances of that movie within the story, mainly because of what the Horde made people become. The Iron Duke can be taken somewhat in the literal sense when it comes to Rhys, but make no mistake; he’s not a mindless machine, but very much a man who feels. If James Cameron ever got his hands on The Iron Duke, that movie would be a blockbuster of epic proportions.

If you don’t read The Iron Duke, you’re making a big mistake. The Iron Duke may be one of the most influential books published this year that I’ve read. Meljean, I applaud you, and invoke my phrase I use sparingly where, “I want to have babies” with The Iron Duke, and if I could, would roll around with it to soak up its excellence.
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Reading Progress

09/20/2010 page 68
20.0% "Mina just pulled the best move ever in an elevator to put the Iron Duke in his place. Score for her!" 2 comments
09/22/2010 page 250
74.0% "This book has blown my mind away."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I so need to read more Meljean.

Katie(babs) Kelly wrote: "I so need to read more Meljean."

She's one of the best authors writing not only romance centric books, but books period, IMO.

Kathy Can't wait to get my copy of this.

(Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick This book ties another for best of 2010. It is FULL of awesomesauce.

Crazy4more Great review. So this is steampunk genre, had no idea. It's dark and filled with korky technology and machinery. I hope to wrap my head around this book. I'm having a hard time latching on it. Thanks for the review.

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