Book Critique – Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas 0.5)

For review of all books in this anthology: Go here

Stars: 3 / 5

My Recommendation: A novella that gives us the elements and background of the Iron Seas series, all the while taking us through the protagonists love story, luring the readers farther into the depths of the plot.

Here There Be Monsters is the fourth and final novella in the Burning Up anthology by Meljean Brook first published in August of 2010 and later republished in February of 2014. Meljean has her book along-side three other authors - Nalini Singh, Angela Knight and Virginia Kantra - in this anthology. This also forms the novella in the Iron Seas series by Meljean.

Iron Seas series is set in an alternative world where the Eurasia and Africa are conquered by the Mongols using war machines and nanotechnology. Iron Duke and his followers work towards freeing England and eventually the world from the clutches of the Mongols. As part of the series we get to see pirates and steam technology on the same page as the Golden age of Piracy.

Ivy Blacksmith, desperate to free from London, purchases her passage to sea from pirate captain Eben "Mad Machen". But the price that Mad Machen's agrees for is her body as opposed to coin. Now Ivy is stuck in a bargain with the cruel pirate. Will she have her freedom at the cost of her virtue? 

This is my first time reading a steampunk novel, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I do have an internet friend who writes steampunk novels (which I have to say unfortunately I havent read any of their books so far), but hadnt ventured into that genre. I have to say, being the first read, I am impressed by the genre. 

I felt the book a very futuristic one though have shades and shades of Restoration and Georgian era. They would fit neatly along-side the Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh. We do see quite a few things in the plot supporting the same - nanoagents infected to humans; prosthetic limbs made of mechanical flesh; modified megalodons with armor plates; expanding and contracting boxes and beds; biperspic lens (perhaps something similar to a telescope); influence machine, an electrostatic generator.

The language and some of the words used at times needed the help of Google for me to get the complete meaning. Yet just like how I was drawn to Nalini Singh's Psy Changeling series, I am drawn to this series as well. However, with so many books already lined up to read, I would have to put this in that list, sadly.

A novella that gives us the elements and background of the Iron Seas series, all the while taking us through the protagonists love story, luring the readers farther into the depths of the plots. Definitely a gripping read even though short one.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Mad Machen was part of Rhys's crew aboard his pirate ship Terror, before he acquired his own ship, Vesuvius. 

b. Mad Machen's crew - Barker, the quartermaster; Tom Cooper "Duckie", his valet; Simms, the navigator; Mr. Leveque, engine master; Teppers; Cookie, the cook; Mr. Ayeto; Jannsen, the surgeon; John Davies

c. Yasmeen - captain of Lady Corsair, the airship; Mad's nemesis as well as partner in crime.

d. Ivy's shopmate is Netta

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. Seven years ago Rhys Trahaearn, the Iron Duke, had freed England from Horde rule and destroyed the Horde tower that controlled the nanoagents infected into the humans. Horde is now coming back to London searching for slaves, with his paralyzing devices and controlling towers. 

b. Frenzy - a period during which Horde and his men send a radio signal causing all humans to have sex, leading to pregnant women and babies for Horde's slavery. 


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