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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about Here There Be Monsters

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Only 1 complaint -- TOO SHORT!

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.

8 people found this helpful

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A Bargain!

Any additional comments?

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.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Perhaps better on paper?

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!

3 people found this helpful

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Swashbuckling steampunk romance

Excellent opening story for the Iron Seas steampunk romance series.

The series takes place in an alternate Europe, newly freed from two hundred years of Horde subjugation that included a plague of nanobots which created crazed zombies out of people, caused bug-fever and death, or permitted controlling people to make them Frenzy. This is steampunk with dirigibles, Krakens (robotic octopuses), and mechanic enhanced people. Each book follows a different couple with various degrees of success. There are occasional F bombs, explicit get togethers, and ongoing themes of slavery, prejudice (against enhanced people), abused women.

This prequel: Ivy, a skilled clockworks builder, attempts to bargain for safe passage aboard a ship to a land of sanctuary, but comes up against Eben “mad” Marchen, a scary Captain used to giving orders without explanation. Although their conflict could have been avoided if any of the main/supporting characters bothered to explain things, I forgave the contrived lunkheadedness due to the shorter length of this book and the sexy danger vibe that the misunderstandings create. The broody romance schtick goes well with steampunk worlds, and Eben is in the end all bark and no bite. This prequel is a complete story.

This prequel gives a good taste of the world and minor teasers for the first two books as it references the Iron Duke, whose story is found in book 1 and features a few scenes with Yasmeen, the Captain of the Lady Corsair, whose story is found in book 2.

Book 1: The Iron Duke: a mystery thriller combined with romance between Inspector Mina and a duke (and former pirate captain) Rhys, who join forces to investigate a murder, search for a hijacked ship, and track down a dangerous weapon.

Book 2: Heart and Steel: Tomb Raider goes zombie steampunk as the dashing Archimedes Fox goes treasure hunting through Europe while courting the phenomenal, and utterly mercenary, Captain Yasmeen. This was my favorite book for balancing fun, action, and adventure with the dark, zombie-pirate-steampunk vibe.

Book 3: Riveted: It’s an on-the-run mystery adventure as an inexperienced pair seek Amazons in Iceland- it’s a bit more sweet than I like, dwells too much on the prejudices against mechanically enhanced people and LGBTQ relationships, and the “two virgins figure it out” plot had creepy Blue Lagoon, child romance vibes. Unlike the other books’ gritty steampunk feel, this one felt more anime and silly. Also, the narrator changes to someone who makes lead Anika sound like she’s 12. This was definitely my least favorite.

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Wow!

Loved this world, the writing, character development. Awesome story and stellar narration. Just wished it had been longer.

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Available on audio at last!

I have been awaiting the audio release for some time and was not disappointed. I only wish it was longer!

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Heroine bugged me

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.

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I want more…..

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.