Looking for Steampunk

Okay, so I’ve read a few steampunk books and color me intrigued. I am, however, at a loss for some good books to read. I know a lot of you out there will probably say Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and to that I say…something else please. I’ve tried a couple of times to read that book and I just can’t do it. I’m not sure if it’s the writing style of the author or the completely BORING first chapters. I’d like to believe it gets better but I just can’t spend 10 bucks on a book that I find I have to slog through. So I’m hoping for some suggestions based on the following:

-I read The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook not too long ago and I rather enjoyed it. It was well written even if it did have entire chapters about sex that didn’t push the plot along. But the idea of zombies being creatures controlled by little nanite-type things is awesomely original. Or at least original to me.

-I love, love, LOVE Sherlock Holmes. While this isn’t technically steampunk, it is set in Victorian times (obviously). So Victorian era plus a good mystery plus a bit of snark equals win.

-A couple weeks ago I read a book called Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurances novel by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine. Originally I wasn’t too sure about it but it turned out to be a surprisingly good read. I’m looking forward to a sequel or three. I will post a review eventually I’m sure. 🙂

-The Parasol Protectorate books. Of course. I love Alexia Terrabotti. I also love how Gail Carriger has mixed steampunk with vamps, werewolves and other supernaturals. Mixing steampunk, Victorian times and urban fantasy equals big win.

So if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. And as always, I am ever searching for more urban fantasy suggestions.

The Iron Duke

I just finished this steampunk tale from Meljean Brook called The Iron Duke. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. Steamships and airships and nanobots, oh my.  It was incredibly original, which is always refreshing.  I’m not sure if I came into the middle of a story arc or not, but even if I did, I didn’t really have any trouble following the story.

Some two hundred years ago, the Mongol Horde took over Europe and England with the help of advanced steampunk-y technology, including the use of nanobots. These nanobots were hidden inside tea and sugar shipments to England, and therefore ingested by any red-blooded Englishman.  The Horde could then control those who were infected through the use of radio signals from a tower they built along the Thames after successfully invading Britain.

Their long and terrible rule was brought down by one man, Rhys Trahaearn, and his pirate ship Marco’s Terror (a reference to Italian explorer Marco Polo).  The people of England are now getting used to their emotional and physical freedom and bestowed the title of Duke of Anglesey to Trahaearn. He even got to build his own estate along the Thames.

The Iron Duke starts out with a body being tossed onto his estate and him meeting Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth, a half-English/half-Horde peeress. They have to track down who the body used to be, why it was tossed on to his estate and why. It leads them into a dangerous world of treason and high seas adventure and sexual tension. A lot of sexual tension. And then a lot of sex.

I don’t mind sex in novels, especially not if it’s well written. But I do think there was a bit too much in this novel. Basically, Wentworth and Trahaearn end up shagging quite a bit simply because there’s nothing else to do on their airship while they’re in between the action.  Really? Can’t come with anything else to fill up the time? Like chatting up the airship captain, revealing more of Trahaearn’s ‘mysterious past’ or perhaps why the emotionally fragile Mina Wentworth suddenly decided she wasn’t afraid of a good shag?  No? Okay then, we’ll just let you make with the sex then.

That being said, the mystery itself was fairly good. I can usually figure things out well in advance, but I didn’t this time around, which I always enjoy.  And the action was also quite good. I really enjoyed Brook’s ingenuity on the steampunk gadgets.  Genetically altered sharks and kraken that patrol the waters and attack anything with a steam engine; zombies are nanobot infected people whose nanobots went bad and people can get more than just hook attachments for their arms and legs.

All in all, a refreshingly original book. I recommend it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. B+