Meljean Brook launches a bold new steampunk series about a woman who strikes a provocative-and terrifying-bargain for freedom.
©2011 Meljean Brook (P)2011 Penguin
I loved the story of Ivy Blacksmith and Eben "Mad" Machen. As an introduction to Meljean's Iron Duke steampunk series, this is an amazing start. The very interesting and intriguing world building in this novella powerfully sets up the series. (My only complaint is that it was not a full length novel.) Meljean's heroes and heriones are always multi-dimensional, and Ivy Blacksmith is no exception. She is extremely intelligent, strong-willed, and equally matched by the pirate Machen. The story is entertainingly romantic and I hope to see more of these two characters some day. Yet, while I love the story, it is the audio rendition of this tale that is marvelous. Faye Adele's wonderful and rich reading of this story is absolutely magical. It is one of the best audiobooks that I have heard in a long time. There is so much variety to her voice, giving nuance to each characterization without it ever feeling forced. She articulates the inner thoughts of the characters in such lively and natural ways that I find myself listening to this download over and over again.
The Iron Seas series is one of the most well-crafted out there. World building is top-notch. This novella is a stand alone, and can be read at any point in the series. The events are set before Book 1 and the main characters make an appearance in Book 2.
Although it's only a novella, it is every bit as entertaining (action, emotion, the works!) as the full length novels. It's worth a credit, so I think it's a bargain for under $10.
The reading and overall storyline in this book, like all Meljean Brook's stuff, were really good. My problem was with the heroine who seemed to spend most of the first half of the book running away from her problems. I dislike a cowardly heroine, especially in the case of this story where most of the issues would have been resolved if she had stopped to talk with the hero for ten minutes before running full speed in the opposite direction. Of course this would have shortened the story considerably but that's my take.
Too many books, so little time. 5 stars=Great, 4 stars=Good, 3 stars=Okay, 2 stars= Sucked, 1 star=Awful.
I actually read this book some time ago before I listened to the remaining series and loved the entire series. So far all have been one great adventure after another with just the right amount of romance included. Meljean Brooks will be an automatic purchase for me now. I even liked the narrator, the story sucked me in that I didn't even notice the pauses the other critic was complaining about. I recommend this series to those who love romance, fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure all wrapped up in one.
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Start here for Meljean Brooks' Iron Duke series!
I read a lot of long books so I have to give this props for not feeling rushed or underdeveloped at less than four hours. The world building is strong, and the story puts you right into the thick of things. No boring lag times here! You'll be able to jump into the next book with a strong grasp of this steampunky universe.
Yet I'm in no hurry to get to the next books, and I think it was the narrator. It's not as evident in the sample as it could be, but she takes a noticeable pause about once every five words or so, much more obviously than you'd hear in normal conversation. I found the effect rather clunky. She also gives a lot of thrust and an imperative tone to much of the dialogue which didn't make for an easy listen. It's weird, because I'm usually pretty easy-going when it comes to narrators and can brush off other people's complaints, but in this case I won't be continuing on with the Iron Duke series on audio.
So I'd recommend listening to the sample carefully before buying! (Well, I'd recommend that anyway!) The narrator doesn't really do anything wrong, but her performance never seemed to smooth out as the book went along. Just the opposite in fact, so try before you buy!
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