Ellie's Reviews > The Iron Duke

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
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Jul 18, 2011

really liked it
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The Iron Duke: Book 1 in The Iron Seas Series by Meljean Brook

Rating: B+

“His expression changed as he continued to pull. First registering surprise, as if he hadn’t realized the glove extended past her wrist. Then an emotion hard and sharp as the long glove slowly gave way. Its white length finally dangled from his fingers, and to Mina seemed as intimate as if he held her stocking.”

Mina Wentworth is a walking contradiction. She is not only a lady of society but she is also one of the highest ranked Detective inspectors in all of England. To make things even harder for her she is also the result of a horrible night many years ago when her mother went to what she thought was a ball and was actually a Frenzy, a massive controlled orgy. As a mongrel, half English and half Horde, the society that controlled all of England for two hundred years with bugs, very small machines that go into the body, she can’t even go into public without a bodyguard. Given all her troubles she is the best at what she does and is the obvious choice to head the investigation of a body found on the Iron Duke’s estate.

Rhsy Trahaearn, the Iron Duke, rose up from the slums of England and turned himself into the most successful and famous pirate in the entire world. Ten years ago the Duke stormed the main Horde tower destroying it completely and freeing England from Horde control and thus earning a dukedom and becoming a national hero. The Iron Duke soon discovers that his old ship has been taken hostage and with it Mina’s youngest brother Andrew. Together they must travel far and wide to find the ship, rescue it’s crew and stop a massive attack on England that will kill all Bounders, people infected with bugs, including Mina and her family.

The Iron Duke was my first experience with steampunk and I am now addicted. I didn’t know what steampunk was at first so I looked it up and according to Wikipedia steampunk “Involves a setting where steam power is still widely used- usually the Victorian era Britain- that incorporates either science fiction or fantasy.” What is not to love about that! So here were have a science fiction, adventure, romance all set in Victorian era Britain with amazing characters and an every better plot. I will defiantly be diving into the wonderful world of steampunk after reading this book.

From the very beginning, The Iron Duke starts off with a bang and doesn’t slow down until the very end. I loved all of the twists and turns this book took and I loved that I couldn’t predict any of it which made me not be able to put it done until I finished it. I do wish that the Horde and the bugs could have been explained better in the beginning because I was very confused about what they were and how they worked for a very long time. I also wished that there would be a glossary of terms in the back of the book because there were many different names for all the different groups of people and I had a hard time keeping all of those straight while trying to figure out just exactly was going on in this new world I had entered.

Now don’t let all the talk of bugs and science fiction scare you away from this book. There are a lot of romance and some really steamy sex scenes that take place. It’s was pretty amazing to be reading about zombies or mechanical flesh covered arms and have Mina and the Duke making eyes at one another or trying to fight their heavy sexual chemistry. Mina is one of my new favorite heroines. She has a rough life growing up as a mongrel and she has had some traumatic experiences but she never get whinny and tries to laugh when horrible things are written or said about her. I loved watching her open up to the Duke and finally learn to trust him. The Duke is very socially awkward and has to try to make up for putting his foot in his mouth with Mina many times. The sections of the book where you got to see things from his perspective where some of my favorite.

This book had so many amazing things going on that I could go on and on forever. The fact that this was set in Victorian England but also included zombies, flying spaceships, people with mechanical limbs and even mechanical eyes and hearts was just so interesting and so different that I fell like I discovered this wonderful new world that I can’t wait to be a part of again. Add in the sex and romance and I’m sold for life. The only reason that I gave this book a B+ and not an A was because I was very confused for the first seventy pages and I got a little frustrated because of that. Besides that little complaint I loved this book and will defiantly be reading the next book when it comes out. I actually don’t even think I can wait for the next book and might read this one over again because I enjoyed it that much.

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