Review: The Kraken King by Meljean Brook

Posted January 31, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 22 Comments

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Review: The Kraken King by Meljean Brook
The Kraken King

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Series: The Iron Seas #4
Genres: Steampunk Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on November 4, 2014
Pages: 576
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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The Delight

I came late to the Iron Seas steampunk romance series, but I fell hard as soon as I started reading the opening pages of the Iron Duke.  I devoured each novella and novel in the series and now have come to the last remaining unread installment, The Kraken King.  I’ve had it on my shelf for several months, but I knew once I read it that I would be out of Iron Seas adventures.  But, alas, it was time.  I  bucked up and dove in thanks to the nudge from a few of my reading challenge requirements.  Adventure and excitement steampunk-style did indeed await and I had a nice long series of connected tales to finish things off right.


The Kraken King is book four in the Iron Seas series.  A new reader could do all right jumping in at this book, but they would constantly feel like they had missed a great deal since there are constant references to other characters and situations.  This was originally a serial story which is evident when the reader begins, but it has been edited to make a nice cohesive novel.

Kraken King introduces a new hero, new geographic setting and situation, but the heroine has been a side character since book two.  Zenobia Fox is the sister to the hero, Archimedes Fox in Heart of Steel.  She’s a writer who uses her brother’s adventures, real and imagined, along with adventures for Yasmeen, Archimedes wife, in her popular books.  She hides her identity as the writer and as Archimedes’ sister because of the danger.  Her quiet life of writing about others has her dissatisfied and wanting her own adventure so when a childhood friend decides she needs to go around the world to join her ambassador husband at his posting, Zenobia goes along.  Little did she know that her own dangerous adventure awaited in the form of the infamous Kraken King, an old smuggling partner of her brother’s.

Ariq doesn’t know what to make of Miss Inkspell, but he knows she is lying and hiding secrets.  He’s intrigued in the woman he rescued from an airship attack, but also has his hands full with governing his town on the wild Australian continent, looking after his brother, and figuring out what the mysterious marauders are up to with their odd attacks on random airships that don’t appear to be for profit or any other gain he can see.

The action-packed intrigue and adventure along with spicy romance are good strong elements, but I also appreciate the creative world the author has written and developed across all her books.  I love how each major novel and some of the novellas expand across the Iron Seas’ world.  The Kraken King is far from Europe and focuses on the Australian and Nipponese (Japanese) culture that did their own freedom fighting against the Hoarde that spread from Mongolia in their direction just like it did across the Asian subcontinent, Africa, and Europe.  I love that I could anticipate a new exotic setting along with a new group of characters with this one.

I enjoyed Ariq and his backstory.  He was a fun rascal and is straight up with his words and his feelings.  He is blunt and shocking, but oh so tempting to a woman like Zenobia who writes a good game, but has little experience.  Zenobia was something of a hang up for me.  I get why she thought she had to keep secrets particularly about who she was because she’d been in danger before when people knew her identity.  However, there was a part of me that it didn’t sit well when she was hiding that she’s a writer and treating everyone and everything around her like fodder for her books.  I give her credit that she kept what was between her and Ariq off limits, but that was for selfish reasoning.  And, here’s the thing, she stuck out and drew attention that she supposedly didn’t want with her scribbling her notes and poking and prodding with questions.  She was asking to be whisked into the damsel in distress role.  So, it took me a while to warm up to her, but I did enjoy her and Ariq together as they brought their own talent to the table and had a nice opposites attract thing sizzling between them.

The build up was good if a bit lagging at times before the end and I was well satisfied with what I got.  I’m sad it is all over.  This is without doubt one of my favorite steampunk romance series and one I will not hesitate to push at anyone looking to start the genre or needing a great steampunk world full of colorful characters, suspense, gritty action, and an exciting, clever world.

Challenges Met

Mt. TBR #11
Literary Pickers #19 South Seas Island
Romance-opoly #5 SPR

Books Recommended

  Review Scarlet Devices by Delphine Dryden


About Meljean Brook

Book info: I am the author of the Iron Seas steampunk romance series. I’ve written a guide to the world (including a map) on my website.

I also write a paranormal romance series, the Guardians. That series guide is also on my website, including a “The Story So Far” feature, which allows you to catch up on all of the books that previously released in the series if you start after the first installment.

Goodreads info: I am slowly, slowly adding to my shelves and reviews. It’s unlikely that I will join many book discussions (especially of my own work) simply because I don’t want to stifle reader conversation.

Bio: Meljean was raised in the middle of the woods, and hid under her blankets at night with fairy tales, comic books, and romances. She left the forest and went on a misguided tour through the world of accounting before focusing on her first loves, reading and writing–and she realized that monsters, superheroes, and happily-ever-afters are easily found between the covers, as well as under them, so she set out to make her own.

Meljean lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Melanie Simmons
1 year ago

I’ve yet to try Meljean Brook, though this series has been on a TBR list for a long time. I really need to give it a try. I’ve not read much (if any) steampunk. I’m going to have to try to move this series up my list. Great review.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

If I were to recommend Steampunk to someone who wasn’t really into it, but wanted to try then this would be the series. It feels like paranormal romance with suspense much of the time even though there aren’t really any PNR elements.
The first two are my favorites.

1 year ago

I have a few books by the author but I haven’t tried them yet

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Melliane

I think you’d have fun. By the way, France is zombie-infested in these. 😉

Debbie Haupt
1 year ago

Oh this is new to me Sophia Rose it’s going on my list. Great review

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Always happy to set someone up with a book they might love, Debbie. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

This series sounds fun. So all the books are out? I may need to add them, even if this wasn’t as strong as the others.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

It’s a blast. I’ve heard she’s writing another one, but its been a few years since that rumor. But, the books are all connected standalones so there is no sense of needing the next one so much as just wanting more. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
1 year ago

I still haven’t read a steampunk novel. Maybe one day.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Definitely. I think you’d enjoy these. 🙂

Laurie | Bark's Books

I have yet to read Meljean Brooks. One of these days though because this series sounds like my kind of thing.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

These are an absolute blast, Laurie. Book two is my fav. 🙂

Carole rae
1 year ago

Super neat!! 😀

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Carole rae

It was a jazz! 🙂

1 year ago

I haven’t read steampunk yet and not really sure about it at all. Having said that, I am so glad this was a wonderful series for you even if the heroine wasn’t a favorite this time.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Lorna

It will be fun to see what you think when you try it. Some are better than others just like with any genre. This is a series that peaked for me at book two. I’ve enjoyed each story, but that was my favorite and the ones that came after became gradually lesser for me without me actually disliking them. Nobody could top an adventurer and a lady pirate for me. 🙂

Anne - Books of My Heart

I have some other friends who absolutely love this author. I have read only a little and not this series. Someday. Wonderful review.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

I need to try her other books. I waited a while to try this series and her writing style and clever worldbuilding were great.

herding cats
1 year ago

I do enjoy those straight forward blunt characters. They can be so entertaining. I need to give her full lengths a try sometime soon. I’ve enjoyed her novellas in the past 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  herding cats

Haha! Yes, Aric left no question about what he wanted or thought- not that he didn’t keep some things to himself, but not what he wanted with Zenobia. She got all flustered every time. 😉

It’s definitely a fun series. I loved book two the best with book one being the second fav, but each of the others has brought more to enjoy, too.

1 year ago

OMG… I miss this series. It is SOOOOOOOO good. I read this when it first came out – it was released two chapters at a time. I think it was my favorite… well, I just don’t know. They are all so good. This is one that I would love in audiobook so I could just listen all over.

Do you think we’ll ever get the Blacksmith? Or any books again from Meljean? She was one of my favorite authors.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Jen

I want the Blacksmith’s story, too. Seriously, he’s the most mysterious figure through the whole series. 🙂 Maybe, maybe….

1 year ago

Oh, I have to get back to some steampunk. Have strayed away for awhile. Loved this series when I started it.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  vvb

Yes, steampunk is great. I try to read a few each year. I’m sad the series seems to be ended.