Dear dad, I know you follow and read my goodreads reviews, which I appreciate, really, but I just wanted to let you know that while this is a sci fi alternate history book that is pretty interesting in a lot of ways it is also a romance novel that I read for a book club and it has lots of VERY EXPLICIT sex parts that I might mention, explicitly, in this review So it is ok if you don t want to read this one Sincerely, your sonThe Iron Dukes sits at the intersection of everywhere and nowhere in terms of my reading habits it s science fictiony, which is a genre I enjoy and read a decent amount of I even have a dedicated book club and it s a romance, which I have never read at all unless you count just reading the sex scenes in books I thought might be dirty when I was about 11 Which I think we can agree is really not the same thing.I certainly had some preconceived notions about romance books that I can t say have been proven or disproven by this one, because being an alternate history steampunk story that is actually a rather ambitious yarn, I wager it makes an effort in terms of narrative that something like Wicked Harvest perhaps does not That said, there are also sex scenes that are, if anything, rather raunchier than what I expected to read, forgoing polite euphemisms almost entirely Search Results Showing All 24 Instances of the Word CockAnd it still has a rippling, shirtless male chest on the cover thanks for the save, Kindle edition So first let us discuss the part of the book I liked, which was the non romancy part Steampunk is a genre I have a passing familiarity with, having read quite a few books often categorized that way though like most sub genres of sci fi, categorization is somewhat arbitrary It s also the hot fad right now, which is why it totally makes sense that an author who just got done cashing in on paranormal romance would give it a go And as a genre effort, The Iron Duke is surprisingly good It creates a pretty interesting alternate Victorian era in which Europe has been ravaged by a mysterious force known as The Horde that has infected the populace with tiny nanomachines that allow them to be controlled via radio towers, and The Iron Duke is lauded as a hero for saving the populace from the mind control menace There are a bunch of well imagined extraneous details that I loved, such as the fact that cats infected with nanoagents have become ard, unkillable predators, and also there are steel sharks and giant kraken.This is all absolutely ridiculous, of course, but steampunk almost always is I haven t read one book yet that truly justified how such advanced technology could be invented so long ago with just a few tweaks of the timeline did you know if Abe Lincoln hadn t been assassinated, for example, by 1900 the U.S army would have defeated Mexico with the aid of robotic exoskeletons It s true, look it up The important part is that it is fun to read about, and the book does a pretty good job of sketching this world without going into exhaustive and unnecessary detail which might have resulted in me not entirely understanding the plot, but based on other reviews, that was my fault And it actually has a well developed not like that No, really, not like that, we are told and interesting female protagonist for the most part Police inspector Mina is strong willed and opinionated and unwilling to sit back and act pretty in proper Victorian fashion, and she is a lotfun to read about than the bland heroine of Boneshaker, which was one of the most celebrated sci fi novels of 2009 that I happened to find very nearly terrible She s investigating a murder that will come to involve politics the world over, as well as, of course, The Iron Duke Because yes, it is also, unfortunately, a romance novel, and why The answer seems to be that romance is the kind of book the author can sell, because she doesn t seem particularly into creating a nuanced relationship between Mina and the Duke who has a name but it totally doesn t matter Because while Mina operates in an interesting political and social sphere, where we can see how the influence of Horde control has changed the ways traditional gender roles are perceived, with many women freely allowed to be badass and promiscuous without anyone batting an eyelash, the attraction between the leads is rote and unmotivated and totally uninteresting, like instantly HE MUST HAVE HER and even though she wants to resist, the Duke just makes her feel all HOT DOWN THERE and this goes on for pages and pages, often stopping the very interesting thriller murder mystery plot cold.At first the purple prose is just annoyingNo armor No buckles Only a few layers of cotton and ten feet of parlor separated his mouth from her breasts, but then the sexytimes really kick in and the author just starts cutting and pasting and rearranging stock phrases like rigid and lips and wet and suck and arching and calling them sex scenes, and they aren t particularly interesting I couldn t stop thinking of I put on my robe and wizard s hat , which if you have not read you really must go and read RIGHT NOW and then go read all of these I mean, thisHer musky scent threatened to drive him out of his mind,heady than any perfume, any wineOr thisYou inspired me You didn t have to fight when you destroyed the Horde So I decided to make your tower explodeOr, god, this oneHis heavy sac buffeted her clitoris with each annihilating strokeI mean, come on, get back to the giant squid attack.And I haven t even touched all the really odd gender dynamics at play, and the way Mina is independent but really appears to want to be dominated and the Duke is a caring dude but also pretty much a rapist by the end and he is doing it for her own good question mark Ceridwen s review made an interesting point about how Mina is trying to come to terms with a past sexual violation through her experiences with the Duke the Horde used to use their tower to whip the populace into sex Frenzies so they would produceworker bees , and that aspect makes their interactions a bitcompelling, but I don t think it is developed consistently enough to be interesting rather than just off putting unless you like to read about rape I know some people who have been sexually abused can certainly become aroused in recreating those situations through sex play thanks for the info, Dan Savage s Savage Lovecast , but it didn t quite work for me here I neededof Mina than her lame internal struggles if I m going to give the book that much credit.Um, so this is getting pretty long I will say that for my first romance, it was A LOT better than I was expecting it to be, and I think toning down the explicit sex, reducing the emphasis on the myopic leads hormones and beefing up the sci fi elements a bitcould have made this an excellent genre entry Instead it s a weird hybrid, but a pretty good read Search Results Showing All 13 Instances of the Word Rigid I enjoyed it a LOT, just one thing brought it down from 5 stars, which I will specify at the end BTW Has VERY racy scenes as a warning to the non smutty lovers, but that wasn t my 1 star point haha I would give worldbuilding 5 stars The first chapter is a bit confusing, but the world that is spun out over the novel is ENDLESSLY interesting, one of the few books that has made me read SLOWLY to see what all the steampunk stuff really is about FASCINATING history with the Horde and the nanobugs, I just cannot sing praises enough about the rich playground the author has invented here Looking forward to MANYbooks in this world.Heroine 5 stars LOVE LOVE LOVED THIS CHARACTER I thought the worldbuilding lent itself to the creation of a very rich character, one that deals with ostracism and race in a way that is so understanding, so interesting SO NOT CLICHED I really thought this character could be one that arcs over book after book without settling down with a guy, she was that strong For a very romance book, it s a relief and a pleasure I was rooting for her all the way pretty much.Hero 3 stars UHHHHHG Ok, he was hot sometimes, but honest to god the word Shag just rubbed me the wrong way, IN ADDITION he was kinda a bully and just tried to force the heroine to do what he wanted in a way that felt almost predatorial Now, some of this was because of his backstory, but no one else really called him out on his bullying, not even the heroine most of the time If you read my reviews I m not a big fan of YOU MY WOMAN men, so this might be my peeve, but I had to express some reservation for the record.ANYWAY, loved the book, if you re into the racy steampunk scifi fantasy historical romance genre, this will be a hit for you Looking forward to the next zombies kraken pirates automatons marriage reform nanotech mongols just another classic steampunk romance, right or maybe not this is my first one it was crazy none of the other bodice rippers wanted to read the shapeshifter romance come on guys shapeshifters romance i am so curious about the mechanics of it, but i am not going to read one without the protective cloak of the rest of the rippers so steampunki mean, honestly, there wasn t anything wrong with this book it replicated a lot of the typical romance conventions and fell into the same booby traps which is totally not the right word, but i got to say booby two strong willed people like this shouldn t really spend this much time running away from each other, legitimate reasons or no sex should not be this complicated in this book, racial and gender issues were legitimate roadblocks, but between the two of them they had guns and money and a title and and self confidence and an iron freaking skeleton these two should not have anything standing in the way of whatever they want these are the kind of people who tell other people the way things are going to be, not sheep people who are slaves to silly societal norms i mean, i personally would not have put up with his sexual pushiness, but she seems okay with occasionally being pushed up against a wall and getting the physical equivalent of you mean yes when you say no, right so to each his own.but he is such a schizophrenic male lead sometimes he is a calculating pushy rapist, sometimes he is all secret philanthropy and delicate treatment of the feelings of others.but who needs consistency who reads to reconcile conflicting personality traits shes got a burning knot, he s got a hot ridge of flesh these crazy kids were made to clench and twine and growl and clutch and rub we are in romance country, it doesn t need to make sense or have any real world applications and her she can save kids from monsters but she can t figure out how to get laid this world is kind of awesome i would much rather have had the conflict be external zombie, war, monsters than internal noooo don t put your mouth on my vagina, it makes me too craaaaazy i mean, there is plenty of external conflict, i just think her sexual resistance was while explained adequately retarted and less interesting than zombies.but the rest of it was pretty fun i should probably readfantasy, so i can get those muscles honed, because it took metime than i care to admit to get myself situated in this world i had to go back and reread several pages over and over, and it wasn t her fault, it was me there were so many details that i had trouble cementing them in this here swiss cheese brain so, for a bodice ripper read, it was better than most i like reading things i would never read otherwise it makes me a broad.come to my blog I have to hand it to Meljean Brook She created a wonderfully detailed and fantastical world in this book If a reader is wondering what steampunk is, I will definitely point them towards this book I was very impressed how she integrated nanotechnology into her world building, and the nanotech fit very well in this universe There are some aspects that seem rather dystopian, despite the fact that this is a Victorian like setting The use of robotic technology has some great applications, but some are rather horrific In this story, a large degree of the world, particularly Europe and associated continents, has been subjugated by the Horde, which I intepreted to be the Mongols as in Genghis Khan Many of the major cities of Europe are under occupation or have been razed to ruins Zombies roam the unoccupied territories, humans who were infected by nanobots that caused them to become vicious, cannibalistic monsters However, many regular humans are infected with nanobots that enhance them in many positive, and some negative ways The problem is that the Horde can control those humans, called buggers, with radio signals In this world, the Horde are hated and despised, which creates a lot of problems for the heroine, Mina She is the product of a Horde frenzy in which control of her mother s body via control of the nanobots by radio signals was overtaken by the Horde, and she engaged in a Horde orgy, resorting in Mina She was so horrified at the sight of her half Horde baby that she gouged her eyes out Yeah, right away, I knew this story was going to be kind of dark.I was very impressed with the meticulous world building and attention to detail in this story In addition, there are several major players who all want a say in the future of England, and the rest of the world, grabbing any kind of power or edge they can to gain that This book has everything mechanically enhanced humans and animals, pirates, zombies, giant sea monsters, airships, you name it However, it was so well done, it never came off as over the top While this book probably wouldn t work for straight romance fans, or even some fantasy science fiction fans, I loved it, because I got a kick out of how imaginative and unique this Victorian world was Despite my enjoyment, this wasn t an easy read for me I often had to reread certain passages to make sure I was getting a clear understanding that s not due to Ms Brook s fault, but to my inexperience in reading a lot of science fiction type literature and not having a head for political intrigue storylines That s okay, because I wanted to get a full grasp of this book, and it certainly enhanced my enjoyment.In my opinion, Ms Brook didn t let her romance fans down The love story between Rhys and Mina is equally important I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Iron Duke when I started this book When he showed up, I was not disappointed He s a very unique character, which some aspects that I had not encountered in a hero thus far I loved his vitality, his ruthless nature, his determination Mina has a pull on him that compels him throughout this book He is the kind of man who will move mountains to get his woman, which definitely works for me Even outside of that, I respected him for his strength in enduring a very rough past, his determination to do what was necessary and to protect others He might have seemed self absorbed he put importance on protecting what was his, whether it was his ship, the sailors, on it, or his properties and subjects as the Iron Duke He didn t really like the ceremony of being a Duke, but he took the responsibility seriously, because that was the kind of man he was He wasn t a smooth, refined character, which is fine with me When he considers his feelings for Mina, they are described in a very rough way, but the emotions behind them are pure, and he definitely shows his love for her, not just physical infatuation As for Mina, I couldn t have liked heras a heroine She s tough, really tough But she s not hard or frustrating Any armor she has, I can t fault her for it Because of her heritage as half Horde, she is despised by many in London They try to attack and harm her physically, so she has to have a bodyguard at all times, the hulking but gentle Constable Newberry Those who don t hate her, fear her because her features remind them of the Horde This aspect of the story hit home with me Prejudice of any kind always does Being judged by your features, your heritage, the color of your skin is wrong Even if there are many of your heritage who are bad, that doesn t mean that you are Because of being a woman and half Horde, Mina has to work four times as hard just to be respected for her abilities as a Detective Inspector, and she s not afraid to do that Rhys determined pursuit is a huge problem for her She knows that their involvement is just going to causefodder for the distrust and lack of respect that the public holds for her Even if she s very attracted to him, and he reaches her carefully guarded heart The relationship between Rhys and Mina develops very well They start out as untrusting allies, with a reluctant attraction As the story progresses, they come to respect and understand each other, and the love blossoms between them naturally And their passion is red hot Rhys is a primal, demanding lover However, he doesn t force Mina Understanding what her issues are about being in control of her passions, he patiently works past those issues, and it s a beautiful thing to read He won t be the kind of guy who whispers sweet, elegant words in a woman s ear But he shows and tells a woman how much she means to him in simple, but effective ways That definitely speaks to me As for as Rhys and Mina getting their HEA, just being in love wasn t enough They had to deal with the issues that they faced with their enemies, and the society they lived in Although the romantic in me loves when a couple can easily surmount obstacles and be together, the realistic knows that s not always a simple thing I like that Ms Brook didn t allow their problems to just blow away in a puff of smoke because Mina was a great person and Rhys was the powerful Iron Duke However, I was completely satisfied with the romantic conclusion in this story, which I am very glad to say.My experience with steampunk is fairly limited, but I love the ideas and the concepts of this genre of fantasy science fiction I highly recommend this novel to a reader who wants to experience this genre Although this is not a simple world, there s a very fascinating world here that Ms Brook created The complex textures Victorian setting, science fiction, fantasy, pulp fiction, adventure, romance, seafaring pirate elements just made this an even better read for me This was a thoroughly enjoyable, engrossing book, and I will be looking out for the forthcoming books in the Iron Seas series with great expectation. This book was both lots of fun and quite disappointing The alternate history of a Mongol dominated England with mind controlling nanoagents, steampunk body grafts, and forced social reorganization was original and fascinating Brook worked the steampunk elements into the story and the lives of the characters in aintimate and plot effecting way, and she also showed how the political and scientific changes common to this genre would not be superficial window dressing on the same old Victorian stereotype world but would cause changes in gender roles, family relations, local and world economies, international diplomacy, religious practice this is some fascinating territory for exploration she is setting up here.And then Then Instead of developing all this really awesome material, she decided to write a romance And not even a good romance A generic romance The same disgusting, sexist, rapey romance people have been writing for decades A woman who seems strong and independent but is afraid of her emotions and desires An ultra alpha male man who overpowers her and forces himself on her, because no doesn t mean no, especially if women are saying no for practical reasons like not wanting lose their jobs and reputations But because this is a romance the reader knows the two main characters are Meant To Be so it doesn t count as rape And we know they are in love even though they pretty much just think about and have lots of un hot sex Because in Romancelandia being really horny for a particular person proves that person is your One True Love Even if you don t like them I don t want to go on an anti romance rant here I have no issue with stories including romance as an element I even think the romantic pairing here could have been good, especially if Brook had spentpages fleshing out Rhys personality instead or his, er, flesh His character here seemed, not precisely two dimensional, but one sided We see his aggression, his controlling nature, his sense of responsibility the elements anyone meeting him would identify Even when we get the story from his point of view, there aren t a lot of other personality traits And that made it hard to see him and Mina falling in love Rather than instant lust followed by standard romance genre manipulations and throbbings, I would have enjoyed a process where in the course of fighting zombies and solving mysteries, two people learned to respect one another and fell in love This uninspired, unoriginal romance story was especially disappointing because it took away time from a story and a world that I really did want to hearabout There were several elements that could have been exploredfully, and some fairly important inconsistencies that should have been worked out For instance, if marriage hasn t been the norm for generations, and most people don t live in nuclear families, why is it that it would ruin Mina s reputation to have people know that she had a lover Brook actually states at one point early on that most women live in small groups with their kids and support themselves and one another, so obviously they must be taking lovers I felt that Brook wanted think about ways in which society could be different and explore how s are artificial and then at the same time she wanted to stick with hoary old tried and true romance themes even when they didn t make sense I wish she had used the page space spent describing sex to instead develop how society had changed or why the Horde made giant sharks or givingdetails about the Ivory Market Or even working out some of the kinks in the plot I won this ARC in a contest at Dear Author.I have a confession to make I was afraid to read this book I have a serious love affair with this author s Guardian series I mean, how many of my Goodreads friends did I nag into reading it lately Five I know they finally broke down and read it just to shut me up, but that s okay, because they loved it anyway and I gotpeople to talk about it with So, I was afraid something would happen and I wouldn t be able to get into the new series and I d lose a favorite author Thank God I slapped the neurotic out of myself and read it It was great So this is an alternate view of England Two hundred years ago some of the English, now referred to as bounders, fled the Horde and only returned to England after the Iron Duke had broken the Horde control The bounders aren t very popular because they ve come back to try to claim their titles and their land and are rich, while the people of England who stayed and suffered are poor The Horde hid nanoagents or bugs in the sugar they traded with England When the time was right, they activated the bugs and thus began the Horde control Nine years ago, the Iron Duke had broken the Horde control on England For his trouble, his pirating was pardoned and his was awarded a Dukedom.This book opens with Mina Wentworth being called to the house of the Iron Duke to investigate a murder She works for the Metropolitan Police Force and is very good at her job The Iron Duke, Rhys Trahaearn, is willing to let her investigate, but wants to be involved and informed of all the particulars Because of his particular status in England, Mina is forced to agree.It took me a while to figure out exactly why Mina was a pariah in her own society I don t know if the author was slowly hinting at it, or if I m just slow, but it took me a while to figure out exactly who the Horde were and why her connection to them would be easy to spot I was expecting something to do with the nanos or prosthetics I had a lightbulb moment midway through and felt really dumb Please let it have been the author s plan and not me being dense P Once I figured it out, those insults made a lotsenseThe beginning of this book was hard for me to get into Not because of the writing or the characters or anything, it just took me a while to fully acquaint myself with the technology aspect of it I ve got to admit, I find it a lot easier to watch a steampunk movie than read a steampunk book A movie requires much less understanding for me than a book, and I ll own it I just don t understand engines The details start coming about engines and machines and it just blows my mind So, I think this won t affect anyone who understands these aspects better than I do I struggled for a while, but did eventually understand the technology and the world But that lack of understanding isn t unique to this book I always feel it when reading steampunk It s just me.I loved the characters in this book Not just Mina and Rhys, but the side characters too Yasmeen, Lady Cosair, a merchant captain with a bad ass attitude Archimedes Fox, the adventurer who seems to have quite an attachment to one of the other characters Scarsdale, an excellent character who despairs about Trahaearn s blunt speech and who is incapable of getting onto an airship without being extremely drunk, drugged, or knocked out And then there s Mina s coworker, Constable Newberry What an absolute sweetie I really enjoyed his relationship and loyalty to Mina.Mina was an excellent heroine She s smart and assessing at all times She doesn t go looking for trouble, but she won t back down either The years under Horde control have had a huge impact on her She will not be controlled again Not by a person, and not by her own emotions Her situation in life is so sad Where can she go so people will look at her and see something other than the Horde She is constantly having to hide in the shadows and prove her own worth Poor girl She lives in fear, although it is not always apparent Fear of being controlled, fear of being hurt, fear of being the cause of her family s suffering Her every action is influenced by those fears.Rhys is a hero who just wants to be ignored He likes the power and influence his name gives him, but he doesn t want the hero worship He doesn t want people to look at him and thank him, it makes him uncomfortable The public takes his image and runs with it and no one seems to care about the truth of his past He doesn t care, a lie can serve him better than the truth at times Unfortunately, he seems to forget the image he has been given and pushes Mina and tests her, not knowing that she s judging his actions by who she thinks he is Rhys had a really harsh childhood that has shaped his view of the world and his relationships to people He values people by their use to them and keeps them or discards them depending on their value He knows that everyone has a price, and has no problem with manipulating someone into the situation he wants them to be in Thank goodness for Scarsdale He s the voice of reason telling Rhys when he s fumbling things with his pursuit of Mina I cracked up at the severe understatement of the term, bad sport, that Rhys and Scarsdale kept throwing around I loved Rhys though, because once he figured out that his manipulation was doingharm than good he dropped it and started tweaking another angle.There is a part in this book that I think is going to make some readers uncomfortable I, personally, loved that it was there and that they had to deal with it in an honest and adult way It was, sincerely, an honest mistake Rhys didn t mean to do it like that, and Mina couldn t help her reaction I loved how it all worked out.Can I just point out that there are zombies in here How cool is that I didn t read the summary of the book, I just wanted it based on the author, so they were a big surprise I loved their roll and I loved the explanation for their existence The only problem I had was toward the end Mina and Rhys and their total miscommunication made me want to smack their heads together It totally fit with their characters, and the fact that they seem to speak a different language at times, but I still found it a bit frustrating I just wanted to sit them both down and have an intervention But it was wonderful too I cannot wait to read the next book London freed by the former pirate The Iron Duke is still a London chock full of resentment, violence, economic insecurity, destroyed body parts replaced by machinery, and racism against half breeds descended from the city s former masters, the Mongolians known as The Horde Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth is one of those luckless, product of and later, victim of the ability of the Horde to make their pet English do as they pleased, sexually and otherwise Inspector Wentworth has a lot to deal with everyday contempt from Londoners still angry over their former servitude, a noble family in dire financial straits, a body dropped from a zeppelin onto the Iron Duke s estate, and a beloved younger brother lost or kidnapped Perhaps her biggest problem, one she won t admit even to herself she has a hankering for that Iron Dick.Overall this was surprisingly impressive, despite its laughable cover and designation as some sort of Steampunk Romance not that I have anything against Steampunk or Romance Meljean Brook is a really talented writer and the world she constructs is almost dizzying in its complexity and layers of history But the story never feels cluttered This alternate England is deeply, richly imagined so much so that it could have been too much Brook s imagination is a fertile one, and in the hands of a lesser author, the story could have been easily overwhelmed by all of the creativity on display But her smooth, exciting narrative and deliberate parsing out of details give her book an appealing suppleness This is an easy world to get lost in The romantic elements are key this being a romance novel, after all, and despite all of the fun, strange worldbuilding and those scenes ended up being either the most tedious or some of thestriking parts of the novel Fortunately, the romance improves over the course of the story.To the former Mina s constant perception of the Iron Duke as one very bad and very untrustworthy dude becomes very very tiresome, very very quickly It really gets ridiculous and it just goes on and on Eyes were rolled, very hard The Duke s instant obsession with Mina alternates between creepily aggressive and amusingly sweet and soft despite that schizophrenia, overall he was not a particularly interesting character But to the latter the reader soon learns that Mina s hesitation around intimacy is coming from her experience with intimacy being forced upon her And it turns out that that is something she has in common with her paramour Rape and its emotional aftermath are topics that deserve to be treated with delicacy and empathy I really respected Brook s skill and care when dealing with such things She made those past traumas central to her two protagonists psyches and profound influences on their sexual behavior, yet she also made sure that the impact of those traumas could be overcome Good job, author. 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 Onto His Doorstep, Bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth Into His Dangerous World, He Intends To Make Her His Next PossessionBut 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 Treacherous 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 Hordes Buggers Bounders Frenzy, oh my What a world It took a while for me to understand this extremely imaginative world, but I enjoyed every moment of this book The Iron Duke portrays an alternative history in a very different Europe The Horde controls people through nanotechnology People, especially those living in polluted London, are infected with these agents because they have healing properties When certain radio frequencies are transmitted, the infected people, known as the Buggers go into a Frenzy This is a world full of imaginative contraptions and genetically mechanically altered creatures and zombies, too There are airships, mechanical carts, mechanical page turners, even mechanical sex toys Mechanically altered people exist as well, reminiscent of Star Trek s Borg.Our story begins when a man is dropped from an airship on to The Iron Duke s house Inspector Mina Wentworth is dispatched to investigate the crime The Iron Duke, also known as Rhys Traheaern, is immediately attracted to Mina Rhys arranges to use his former pirate contacts in order to help Mina solve the crime.Rhys uses this opportunity to get closer to Mina, the woman he wants to shag The romance aspect is not spectacular, but there are some hot and heavy moments I really enjoyed the author s sense of humor There were some really funny lines and some very clever pillow talk Did I mention that there are sea monsters in this book Release the Kraken A most memorable scene with a very large, mechanically enhanced sea monster kept me at the edge of my seat I loved the secondary characters, especially Yasmeen, The Lady Corsair Airship pilot, mercenary, I hope that there arestories planned for her just her acrobatics alone were spectacular.So there you have it a book with zombies, sea monsters, Borg like people, all sorts of mechanical gadgets Can t wait to read the next book in the series Update May 23, 2012 The Iron Duke is now on the Badass Book Reviews Best Badass Zombie Books List Check it out A few hundred years before the novel opens, the Asian Horde took over much of the Western world with a mix of force and superior technology Lacking any navy of merit, they had to be a bit creative in their attack on Britain, choosing to smuggle nanoagents into the cheap sugar and tea they exported to the island nation As the people ate and drank, they unwittingly infected themselves with tiny bits of self replicating machinery While the bugs made people stronger, hastened healing and allowed a wide range of prosthetic enhancements, the downside was that the Horde could control the infected via a radio frequency transmitted by a tall tower in London.The story takes place nine years after Rhys Trahaearn, now known as the Iron Duke, blows up the tower, freeing all of Britain from Horde control After a bloody revolution where a mad populace attacked the Horde and each other in a fury borne of a lifetime of tight control suddenly ended, Britain is at a crossroads The descendants of the wealthy Brits who fled England before they were infected have returned, creating tension between the infected buggers and the uninfected bounders as to who hasright to Britain Does it belong to the people who spent the past few hundred years hiding out in Manhattan City in the New World, or to those who endured and overcame Horde rule, but will always be susceptible to control because of their bugs In the midst of this heady drama, a body literally lands on the Iron Duke s front steps and Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth is called in to investigate Born after a Frenzy, where a Horde signal causes all buggers to copulate with each other, she s the half breed daughter of a English countess and a Horde member who was at the state dinner her mother was attending Though her parents are noble and she s a distinguished member of the Metropolitan Police force, she encounters constant abuse due to her Asian features As a result, she s a bit like Eve Dallas a big squishy ball of insecurities well hidden under a granite facade Through the love of her supportive family and a singular dedication to her work, she gets by in a world she feels completely apart from.Working on the mystery of the body tossed onto the Iron Duke s steps tests her resolve As a former pirate, Rhys is accustomed to taking whatever it is her desires, and he decides that Mina will be his latest acquisition As they fly and sail around England, Europe and Africa unraveling the murder mystery and uncovering a doomsday plot that endangers all the buggers in Britain, the two also are working to figure each other out Rhys is determined to have her, and Mina is determined to resist him, lest everything she or her family has worked for go up in smoke in the subsequent mockery of the Iron Duke taking up with a Jade whore The world building was superbly done, creating a full, complex world and divulging it at a natural pace throughout the book All of the secondary characters were fully fleshed out, providing bits of humor, drama, action and everything in between when the plot required it but without feeling convenient The action keeps a steady, energetic pace throughout the book, making it a hard book to put down at times Brook has created a stunning steampunk setting that s creative and expansive while remaining entirely accessible There are easily drawn parallels to our own world and the messy politics of today without anything being obvious, sanctimonious or preachy It s complex enough a world to let you forge your own theories of what is afoot, and approachable enough that you d want to do so.While I loved the steampunk aspects quite a bit, the romance didn t move me There was just something about the romance that left me kinda cold I almost resented the breaks in the action plot and half skimmed the sex Their emotions towards each other felt a bit forced, so I felt like a voyeur watching them together The sex didn t seem to be resolving a tension between them anguish over memories of a past Frenzy notwithstanding and so it felt gratuitous.Part of the issue might have been that I didn t feel I really knew Rhys or Mina I loved them as catalysts for the action Rhys the alpha, protecting what he considers his and Mina the fighter, always trying to forge order from chaos but didn t get a good feel for them as humans I was told that Rhys respected the hell out of Mina, but I was never really shown why What made her so special to him What about Rhys tempted Mina I needed to seetalking, vulnerability and emotional intimacy between them As it was, I was told they were hot for each other, and I watched them bone, and that was the romance.As a romance, it lacks a certain something As a straight sci fi, I think I d have loved this book unreservedly The world she s created and the secondary characters she populated it with are absolutely spellbinding For all its faults, it was still a hard book to put down I m certainly itching to read the sequel a year from now.