Meljean Brook brings readers the fourth book in the Iron Seas series, The Kraken King. Some readers may have read this story in it's serialized e-book version with eight separate parts, but the experience of reading it altogether is simply amazing. Brook's world building is unique and complex, her characters are diverse and multi-faceted and her attention to detail provides astounding visual imagery. If you read only one steampunk novel this year, this MUST be the one!
What I liked:
I have been a fan of steampunk romance since it's inception. This alternative Victorian-esque world is just fascinating to me. But let's face it, this is the kind of sub-genre that either an author gets right or they don't. There are a lot of steampunk author's that just can't quite pull it off. Meljean Brook is not one of them. She is flawless in her execution. Her plots are so intricate and complex. The tension is riveting and the adventure both emotionally and physically are extremely satisfying. This lady knows how to write steampunk and probably anything else she tries her hand at. But I'll have to say, this particular novel is by far her best yet.
The Kraken King was originally an eight part serial story and now readers have it all in one place and are able to experience it in a whole new way. The transitions are seamless and Brook couldn't have done it better had it been altogether from the start. I think serial's appeal to readers who like instant gratification, LOL. It gives that that little bit of story the need, almost like a fix. And then they get a little more and a little more. Myself, I prefer to devour it all at one time. I like big, thick books that monopolize my time and energy. But truly I think I would have liked this book any way I could get it!
Zenobia was a wise and honest character. She was used to having adventures through her own writing and vicariously through her brother, but she hadn't really experienced it for herself. When she decided to have an adventure, she doesn't go half way and neither does Meljean Brook. Zenobia could be considered a spinster. She is a little backward, but she is resourceful, strong and has a bit of nobility about her. It only seemed natural that she fall in love with a warrior.
Ariq was an amazing hero. When readers meet him, he is looking for his brother, who he fears has done himself harm. The depth of his care for his brother mirrored his feelings for his people and I enjoyed seeing that side of him. He was determined to find out what the marauders were up to and who they were working for. But it wasn't just a selfish need to know what was going on. His heart was in the right place and even though he is known for his fierceness and grit, he still shows a vulnerable side, to Zenobia. They were perfect together.
The tension both sexually and emotionally was palpable with these two characters. Ariq was sexy and Zenobia was fierce. Their personalities were so perfectly suited for each other. It was amazing watching their romance unfold in the midst of all the action and adventure going on around them. It was a pivotal to the story and Brook makes it seem like a natural occurrence. Like a storm on the horizon. They just keep getting closer and closer. Brook makes the reader believe in happy endings!
The action was spot on in this book. It was necessary. It was not overdone and it provided a lot of the conflict for the story. Ariq and Zenobia have their challenges within their relationship but what is going on around them seems so vital and important that the little things go unnoticed. This book had all the political intrigue of a mainstream thriller, yet it easily pulled off the romance angle. The visual imagery alone was enough to make any reader set up and take notice.
This book was simply amazing. If you've ever considered trying steampunk, Meljean Brook is the author and the Iron Seas series is the only place to start. This is my favorite book in the series and quite frankly one of my favorite books of the year. I can't say enough good things about it. The Kraken King is the best of the series to date and I look forward to more from this amazing author and series!