here there be dragons

Last year I discovered steampunk. For those of you new to that term, check out this post. Firstly, I was intrigued by the corsets and parasols and sci-fi. I mean, that combination practically screams awesome. Then I discovered the Victorian/industrial world building, and the joys of brass goggles and gears. I’ve happily read many steampunk books I’ve found since then, and others not quite as happily (sigh. no genre is perfect!). But the point is that they’re out there, they’re so hot right now, and whenever I hear of another author joining the party I’m excited and pleased.

Enter the Iron Seas Challenge, hosted by Velvet at vvb32reads. To start, author Meljean Brook sent out copies of Burning Up, the anthology in which her novella ‘Here There Be Dragons’ is featured. It’s the first entry in The Iron Seas series, which promises steampunky goodness with a romantic bent. Thank you, I’ll have twelve. Seriously.

I was introduced to romantic hilarity, steampunk style via Gail Carriger’s Soulless, and I’ve gladly added Meljean Brook to my go-to list. SIDE NOTE: I know the cover will turn some people off. It's classic paranormal romance marketing. But if you can find it in yourself to look past it, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. And, you know, there are these things called e-books. No embarrassing half-naked men in public, unless you want there to be!

Meljean Brook launches a bold new steampunk series as a desperate woman strikes a provocative — and terrifying — bargain to gain overseas passage.

You can read an excerpt at the author's website [here].

As both a short romantic story and an introduction to a new steampunk world, ‘Here There Be Dragons’ gets high marks. I was impressed from the start at the story’s full immersion in danger and alternate reality. The world in which the Iron Seas series takes place is caught between poles of power. No one is sure if and when and where the evil has gone, so there’s constant peril, scheming and adventuring afoot. Add in the steam age and creative blacksmithing, pirating and airships, and you’ve got a steampunk romp of the first order.

Our main character, Ivy, is resilient, resourceful and clever, even though she’s put in several untenable situations. Her nemesis, Mad Machen, is also fascinating – I kept expecting one thing and getting another. I like that in a romance. It’s one test of a good storyteller – will she be able to take familiar plot devices and forge something original, all the while keeping in mind that the characters must be believable and sympathetic? This tale succeeds in that respect. It is a satisfying little novella on its own, and it also whets the appetite for more. I’ll definitely be looking forward to additional steampunk romance with The Iron Duke!

Recommended for: fans of steampunk, historical romance, pirates, and light sci-fi. I imagine that the series will be very popular among fans of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, though in this case the action is more prominent than the dialogue. Pick it up if you’re in the mood for romantic adventure!

I received a copy of Burning Up directly from the author as part of the Iron Seas Challenge.


vvb32 reads said...

huzzah! thanks for the review ;-D

Sullivan McPig said...

Great review! I loved this story the best of all four in the anthology.

Lexie said...

I'm right there with you--the corsets are what drew me originally and then it was like 'hey! we have goggles! and airships! and automatons!' and it became my love.

I enjoyed Meljean's story the best as well!

Chas @ LLL Reviews said...

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes... oh and did I say YEs!!!


I love this novella and was so sad to have it end. I was enticed from the start. The ending is so perfect. AHHHHH, I just want to scream for more... now!! hehehe!

Great review!

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