Review: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) by Meljean Brook

September 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Rating: 2 Stars

The Iron Duke is categorised as ‘steampunk’. I have no idea what steampunk is as a book genre, so I’m winging this review. I decided to pick this book up because two of my other much-loved authors (Elizabeth Hunter and Jeaniene Frost) gave it stellar ratings and reviews on Goodreads, so I thought, why not?

My question, after reading it, was plainly just why?

The premise of the book in itself was interesting: an interesting world, with some intriguing history and an unusual society. Think Pirates of the Caribbean vs. Sherlock Holmes

It was the story line and the characterisation that I had the most problems with.

Spoilers under the Read More!

The whole explanation behind the nanos, the Horde’s control and the ‘new world’ was all a bit confusing to me and was muddled up somewhere in the first quarter of the book. I’ll be honest and say the worldbuilding wasn’t very strong because it didn’t captivate me or interest me to learn further about the world in which our hero and heroine lived in.

Our heroine, inspector Wilhelmina “Mina” Wentworth isn’t as strong as I like my heroines to be. She’s uptight, reserved, haughty at times and carries enough pride to sustain The Lion King. Rhys Trahaearn, on the other hand, carried all the personality traits of an Alpha male that I like: moody, dark and daunting, willful with bad-ass galore – but there was one major element throughout their ‘romance’ that bothered me greatly.

When a woman says “no”, even if she may mean “yes”, a real man does not take the negative and translates it to “I need to try harder” and attempts to coerce said woman into sexual relations. No, my friend. That is called rape.

I was uncomfortable and indignant for most of the middle section of the book because Mina was clearly against having a relationship with Trahaearn of the sexual nature, but did the good Captain take the hint? Nope. He pushed, and pushed, and pushed her to the point where their first sexual contact amounted to rape. I do not condone rape in any way, shape or form.

Mina may have lusted after Trahaearn, but she had her head screwed on straight and it never would have amounted to anything had Trahaearn forced himself on her, believing her to be reacting to desire. She might have been, but if she says “no”, it’s definitely still a “no”.

That was the major flaw I personally found in The Iron Duke, and it ruined the rest of the book for me. No matter if Mina and Rhys fixed their relationship afterwards. Brook also added in an ALoL moment that had Trahaearn bouncing up and declaring his undying love for Mina, if he would only never lose her again.

Ugh, I don’t know. It was a fair read, but following the plot and the numerous characters was difficult. The writing was well done, but just… certain points I could not agree with. To be honest, the sequel Heart of Steel which is the novel that explores the relationship and adventures between the Lady Corsair and Archimedes Fox sounds a lot more interesting. We shall see!

2.5/5 Stars


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