The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Title: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas book 1)

Author: Meljean Brook

Genre: Steampunk, romance, adult, sci-fi

Average Goodreads rating: 4.03:5

My rating: 3/5

(Paperback, 378 pages, Published April 12th 2012 by Berkley UK)

Blurb: 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 on to his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.
Mina can’t afford his interest, however, Horde blood runs through her veins, and becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him . . .
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 perilous 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.

The Iron Duke is the first steampunk book I have ever read.  I didn’t quite know what to expect.  I had a vision in my head of what a stempunk world might look like and I wasn’t repulsed by it, but putting that world in words seemed a little too much for me and I thought I would hate it.  In the end I was pleasantly surprised.  I did like this book, and I did like steampunk.

The world in this book was unlike anything else I have read; I swallowed it up whole and enjoyed the craziness of it.  It was extremely imaginative and I happily gorged myself on it.

The story was great.  I was expecting the norm paranormal romance/adult stuff (Likable characters, hot scenes and so much sexual tension you could drown in it) but was surprised to find that this had a lot more substance, it had a decent storyline and didn’t just rely on sex and a dominant male character.  Sure it had all the normal stuff in it as well but there was much more to it than that which was a nice change.

Another thing I liked about this book was the characters.  Mina and Rhys (the main characters) were great, especially in the beginning when there is a ton of tension and banter between them.  But it is in the secondary characters where this book really gets its personality.  Scarsdale (Rhys friend) literally made this book for me, I utterly adored him.  He was charming and cheeky and by far the funniest thing in this book.  Also Newberry (constable to Mina’s Lieutenant) deserves a mention for being utterly adorable.

Unfortunately, for me, this book had some major problems.  My main issue with this is that a majority of the time I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, it confused me and used words and terms that I didn’t understand.  I am not sure if this is because it is a steampunk book and I am unfamiliar with them of if it is just this book.  Either way I felt that it shouldn’t have been so difficult to comprehend.

At times the book seemed to move and an agonizingly slow pace.  It took me a long time to read it.  A whole day for just under 400 pages (I read really fast and can normally read two books of this length in one day.) I felt like every sentence was full of stuff that needed to be processed but still the plot never moved on.

Also, I had an issue with the romance between Mina and Rhys.  It was weird because I was never quite sure what was going on with them.  He, at times, seemed a little forceful and she was a bit of a tease.  It was not the worse romance I have read by a long shot but still I struggled to get fully behind them.

Overall The Iron Duke was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to fans of the genre and of romance.  It was a good introduction into a genre that I knew nothing about and it has definitely made me want to read more steampunk.

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