Top positive review
How refreshing - a good story, interesting characters AND a workable romance
on 13 January 2013
I first came across Meljean Brook's work in a short story, and was favourably impressed, mainly by the fact that the werewolf heroine was capable and reasonable.
So I was delighted to find the female lead in the Iron Duke is equally wonderful. She doesn't simper, or wallow, or flutter. She examines corpses, thinks independently, endures bigotry, and seems incapable of being intimidated.
The world is also pretty great. No holds barred, this is a gritty, unjust, grimly steam punk Britain populated by just as many racists as deeply caring indivuals. No pink fluffiness at all.
The story line is damn fine. It has the political, social and economic flavour of the early - mid 19th C. Plus steam punk seamlessly added to the mix. And of course, this means that the story has echoes of Hornblower, Sharpe, Regency romances and my dimly remembered history lessons from school.
Is it perfect? No. The hero doesn't have the same emotional depth as the heroine (despite the kind of backstory which would entitle him to so much e-depth he should be sinking!). There are some editing errors. I tended to forget who some characters were, when referred to in conversation. I found it a little suspicious that ships could be tracked across open sea with barely mentioned navigation (missed steam punk opportunities there), and travel by airship didnt seem to be affected by weather, or prevailing wind direction.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will be reading the next in the series.