NOTE: This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!
I loved this story… Absolutely loved it.
The Kraken King is an epic steampunk adventure filled with airships, monsters, abductions, hilarity, and romance. For those who are new to Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series, this is the fourth book, but it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone. That being said, if you want to get the full experience, read Heart of Steel first, the book in which we get to know the Fox family.
I laughed more reading this book than during my last 10 in this genre combined. Meljean Brook captured Zenobia Fox’s wit and writing style perfectly, making this a joy to read. Plenty of letters between Zenobia and her brother, Archimedes the grand serial adventurer, also make an appearance, which was one of my favorite aspects of Heart of Steel. Within the first 50 pages, I found myself texting hilarious quips and excerpts to a friend in hopes of enticing her to pick up the book, as well.
A note about Zenobia, the Scribbling Spinster:
There is a little bit of Zenobia in all of us. She has felt ugly, trapped, pained, lonely, and horribly disappointed. This is the story of how she experiences all of those things again, as well as love, deep-seeded joy, and contentment — all while being fabulously witty.
Zenobia’s voice and subtle strength are present in every aspect of this story: the format, titles, letters, passages from her perspective, and even those from Arik’s as we experience his impressions of her. This voice and perseverance truly made the story and had me laughing hysterically and then holding my breath through all of the 576 pages.
Zenobia, describing her friend’s condition:
She had been separated from her husband for over a year. If Helene was with child, either Bastile Auger had astonishing ejaculatory capabilities, impregnating her from halfway around the world, or she’d lain with another man.
A note about the Kraken, himself:
The Kraken King had me at “had a kraken inked across his back.”
I loved Arik. I kept likening his character to a wonderful combination of the Iron Duke and General Li Shang from Mulan. His moral compass and sense of honor were astonishing, as was his dedication to Zenobia.
“You are my queen. I am your sword and your shield. I am your wolf and your steed. Mountains will tremble at my approach, for they know I will tear them apart if ever they stand between us. But you need not be afraid, Zenobia Fox, because my heart is iron and my will is steel, and before the new moon rises, I will come for you.”
I would read about Arik over the Iron Duke any day. (It might be more of a toss up against Archimedes, though…)
A note about the format:
The Kraken King was originally published serially in a total of eight parts, each ranging from 70-100 pages in length. They are all still progressing the same story, though, and each one leaves you dying to immediately begin the next. The parts can be purchased separately (e-book) or in one volume (e-book or hard copy).
I know some reviewers were put off by the format and prolonged release, but even reading it in one block, I thought the format really added to the story. Due to the nature of serial publication, each part has to hold the reader’s interest and progress the story in a meaningful way. Meljean Brook did not disappoint. Even the titles contributed to the story with a bit of foreshadowing and humor. This was a long, epic adventure, as Zenobia truly deserved, and the format couldn’t have been more apt. Besides, the whole story is available now, so no more waiting with baited breath!