Tag Archives: steampunk

Review: The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick


The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick

Series: The Elemental Web Chronicles

Genre: Steampunk Romance




London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.

Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.

After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?

Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.

Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.

Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.

Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.

I am always on the lookout for a decent steampunk read and The Golden Spider blurb caught my attention. What is there not to like, Victorian London, intelligent and feisty female character and a growling male?

The book can be read as a mystery with a touch of romance. The steampunk world is mostly there with krakens and dirigibles. The clockwork spider was definitely a unique piece of equipment that I haven´t come across in any other books. The London setting is well described but could have had a bit more. The plot is well developed with a few twists that keeps reading interesting. I enjoyed the main characters and secondary characters are well written that along the book you grasp the different personalities. There are no editing issues in this book that I noticed, whether typos or grammatically.

My one negative remark on this book is the medical lingo, way too much and too detailed for someone without medical background. At a certain point I started skipping the dialogue feeling utterly lost and confused with the exchanges. There is also no way to verify what the author is saying is accurate or not, well I could google it but that is not the point of reading a book.

If you like steampunk you should enjoy this book, you will probably enjoy it more if you have some medical knowledge to help you through the technical dialogue. If like me you don´t, it´s still readable .

Overall I did enjoy this book and will read book 2 in the series, The Silver Skull.


Review of the The Kraken King, Part VIII: The Kraken King and the Greatest Adventure (Iron Seas #4.8)

The Kraken King, Part VIII: The Kraken King and the Greatest Adventure (Iron Seas, #4.8)

The Kraken King, Part VIII: The Kraken King and the Greatest Adventure (Iron Seas #4.8)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)

Experience the incredible adventure and heart-stopping romance of the Iron Seas in this thrilling steampunk tale from New York Times bestselling author Meljean Brook.

The Kraken King, Part VIII
The Kraken King and the Greatest Adventure

Arriving in Krakentown with their enemies in hot pursuit, Zenobia doesn’t know how they can even hope to win. Being terrified brings forth an undeniable truth: she loves Ariq and will do whatever it takes to stand by him.

But as their adversaries appear on the horizon, they realize that not all is lost. Drawing on the power of the terrible war machine, Ariq, Zenobia, and the entire town must put their lives on the line to protect what they love.

My review

And so arrived the dreaded last Kraken Tuesday, I delayed starting the book, stupid I know, the fact that I delay starting is not going to avoid the end, but alas the end has arrived and I have reached it. Is it unfair to say that I was expecting the excellent installment? Probably not, the author has yet to produce a book that can be called less than wonderful. It is with a mixture of happiness and sadness that I write this review. Happy that I had the opportunity to read such a great book and sadness that I am saying goodbye to the most amazing alternative world, airships and incredible cities that one could imagine, I even liked the kraken’s. The characters, well the characters, if I actually knew how to write (author writing that is) I could probably write an essay on the characters I have come across in the Iron Seas novels and the Kraken King is no exception.

Why should you read these books? Well if you like steampunk you will not be disappointed, Meljean Brook has yet to disappoint in that field, adventure.. oh there is plenty! Action? All the time! Complicated plots and political intrigue? Well, you will look around you and where ever you are will feel like you live in Switzerland. Romance? Oh hell just grab the books and read them, this is so worth every cent I paid for it.

There is a lot to say about this book, so many great characters and places. I don’t like giving away spoilers so I will just say that this was a fantastic read. And the cherry on top of the icing is that the author will finally write about the Blacksmith! I am so looking forward to that.


Meljean Brook and why I read her books

There are different reasons to read books, I’m all for fiction and it can be a far fetched fantasy, I don’t really care if there are vampires, werewolves, demons or any other paranormal creature in them as long as they are well written with a good plot and well developed characters. Of course if there is a little romance that is always a bonus, anyway, recently I decided to give steampunk a try and I fell in love with the genre. Of course finding good authors in any genre is always a challenge but I did find a few and Meljean Brook was one of them, she offered everything I look for in books. A good plot, wonderfully well described locations and scenes, well developed characters, action, political intrigue and of course the swoon worthy romance.

The attached link is just one of the reasons her books are a must read, the research that is put into them and the link between reality and fantasy is really well done. I’m loving the Kraken King but then again I’ve loved all of the Iron Seas novels.

Review of The Kraken King, Part VII: The Kraken King and the Empress’s Eyes (Iron Seas #4.7)

The Kraken King, Part VII: The Kraken King and the Empress's Eyes (Iron Seas, #4.7)

The Kraken King, Part VII: The Kraken King and the Empress’s Eyes (Iron Seas #4.7)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)

Experience the incredible adventure and heart-stopping romance of the Iron Seas in this thrilling steampunk tale from New York Times bestselling author Meljean Brook.

The Kraken King, Part VII
The Kraken King and the Empress’s Eyes

In the imperial city, nothing escapes the attention of the empress’s spies. After a visit from an old friend rekindles her every fear, Zenobia must decide whether to trust Ariq with her heart—and the Kraken King must decide whether he can ever let her go.

But when danger invades their lovers’ sanctuary, Ariq and Zenobia will have to put aside their troubled emotions. Outwitting their enemies and the Empress will be no easy feat. Luckily, they have a few allies waiting in the wings.

My review

It’s Kraken Tuesday again and by now you know I’m loving this book, so far all the installments have received a five star review. Suddenly the author reminds us that this is the second last installment and that next week will be the last Kraken Tuesday and my heart breaks a little. It’s so sad to say goodbye to a good book and even sadder to say farewell to well loved characters.

This installment brought tears to my eyes, 90% was read with my heart in my hands and tears threatening to make their way out. There is beauty in the pain and there is so much love in the suffering and the bottom line is that this is a beautifully painful and emotional series.  I finally understand Zenobia a bit better, I always admired the practical and resourceful character, there is so much to like about her and Ariq is my definition of a perfect man.

Again the descriptions are very well written, not just the surrounding but the secondary characters. I sometimes wonder what took me so long to find this author but I am very happy that I did.

A review of The Kraken King Part VI: The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls

The Kraken King Part VI: The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls (Iron Seas, #4.6)

The Kraken King Part VI: The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls (Iron Seas #4.6)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)

Experience the incredible adventure and heart-stopping romance of the Iron Seas in this thrilling steampunk tale from New York Times bestselling author Meljean Brook.

The Kraken King, Part VI
The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls

Reunited, Ariq and Zenobia must journey over the red wall and make a desperate appeal to the one woman with enough power to halt the marauders’ plans—the Empress of Nippon.

But even the Kraken King cannot demand the attentions of an empress. Masked and quarantined, Ariq and Zenobia are forced to bide their time. Despite the fact that they are as physically close as two people can be, Zenobia is trying to keep the man she can’t help but love at a distance, terrified she’ll be hurt again. And all the while, the mysteries of the Living City grow around them.

My review:

Tuesday’s, an otherwise inconsequential day in the week is now what I call the Kraken Tuesday. By now you must realise that this series is published every Tuesday and this weeks series? Wow! What to say?

Some books are difficult to review, mainly because all that you want to shout out about is a spoiler. Maybe I can mention… no not that scene, maybe the one where…… no not that one either. So basically in this review I’m not telling you squat! But I suppose I do have to write something, anything? Okay, so maybe I can tell you that I sighed a lot (enough to get hubby to glance at me sideways) and that this was the most amazingly beautiful part of the series so far. Oh myyy! The descriptions of the Red City are wonderful and Zenobia’s character, well she is just an amazing character, inspiring to real women showing us to be practical and that courage comes whether you believe you have it or not. What am I learning from this character? Embrace it, embrace it all with everything that life has to offer.
And Ariq, well I could tell you but then your reward would be lessened when you read it. But I can tell you that MB has pretty much screwed things over for men, every woman that has read this book is going to be wishing for an Ariq. Mr Darcy? Who is Mr Darcy? Who needs a Mr Darcy when you can have a Ariq instead?

Can’t say much more without giving away spoilers… so I will just say, if you are not reading this you have no idea on what you are missing.

A review of the Kraken King part IV

The Kraken King, Part IV: The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction (Iron Seas, #4.4)

The Kraken King, Part IV: The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction (Iron Seas #4.4)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)

The Kraken King has declared that Zenobia Fox is under his protection—and with her identity revealed, she needs that protection more than ever. But it comes with a price when Ariq demands that Zenobia reveal her secrets in return.

Ariq wants nothing more than for Zenobia to trust him, and he knows exactly which sensual tricks will breach her defenses. But although she urgently desires the powerful governor, Zenobia isn’t a woman who will be easily won with a few passionate kisses.

When his ambush goes awry, Ariq discovers just how deeply he can hurt her—but the real danger to Zenobia is one that he never expected.

My review:

So I nearly had a nervous breakdown when Amazon tried to screw me over and I wasn’t able to download this story when I got home from work today. My husband looked at me and weighed his options: (i) a hysterical woman without her book and (ii) the peace and quiet of the said woman sitting perfectly still reading her book (maybe devouring is a more appropriate word here). Hubby came to rescue and downloaded the book for me (I will thank him later).

Now, I am staring at my kindle, slightly nervous at what Meljean Brook has put into words this time round. I’m currently in a love hate relationship with this author, I love what she writes, I hate that she is supplying it slowly (painfully slowly). Finally I opened part four of this series and it brings a rather surprising relief to the weekly anxiety of waiting for the next installment of the Kraken King. Drama queen much? Not at all, you can’t understand this suffering if you’re not reading one installment at a time. Of course you can take the pain free method and just wait for all installments to be available and read happily to the end. But I made the mistake of reading the first one and there is no going back and no waiting for the end, so I will endure this self inflicted pain.

I happily opened the book and found myself somewhere over Southwestern Australia making my way to the Red City on May 27th. I smile because this is my father’s birthday and three days before my own. Aforementioned hubby has now disappeared as I’m no longer in my comfortable home, but instead I can feel the hot desert air that’s scorching my skin and I’m surprised that I will miss the smugglers den as Zenobia and Ariq continue their journey to the Red City.

Zenobia’s letters to her brother are most entertaining, her sense of humour shines through in her words to him and I can only hope that the author will continue with these. Avoiding boring dialogue between the characters, Meljean Brook manages to supply us with a fair amount of background information on who they are, their fears and hopes helping us understand them better and thus their actions too.

Finally I know why they call it the Red City, I confess I was very curious about this. How exciting, this is a city full of strange customs and even more peculiar people and I will not share the most astounding revelation of how this city is built, only that is beyond imagination and very original (unless you’re Australian, then you would probably have thought it). The steampunk theme is always present, amongst other things there are the airships. There is something fascinating about airships and I love imagining them hovering above the cities, balloons, wings and steam engines, how can one not be captivated with these descriptions?

There is no risk in repeating myself when I say that I am swooning at the sweetness between Zenobia and Ariq as this is the first time that the beauty of romance sweetens this book. I love a good and well written romance, so I’m smiling. But now I risk repetition by saying that I was not disappointed by the extremely well written action scenes and the elaborate political intrigue that I look forward to in this story and always find. Damn I am a sucker for a good plot!

What? It’s finished already? Meljean Brook is that anyway to end this story?

Here comes the love hate thing again… Another week of waiting, another week of agony before I can read what will happen next.

Review of the Kraken King part III

The Kraken King, Part III: The Kraken King and the Fox's Den (Iron Seas, #4.3)

The Kraken King, Part III: The Kraken King and the Fox’s Den (Iron Seas #4.3)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)

After a harrowing escape, Zenobia, Ariq, and their company take refuge in a gold rush town—but their temporary port is just a respite before traveling to the dangerous smugglers’ dens. Ariq is determined to uncover the men responsible for the threat to Krakentown, even if it means confronting the notorious den lords.

But when he discovers evidence in Zenobia’s letters connecting her to the Horde rebellion, he realizes that the threat is far greater than he had suspected. His loyalties torn, Ariq must distance himself from the fascinating woman he desperately wants to hold closer.

Stunned and hurt by Ariq’s inexplicable coldness, Zenobia prepares to leave the dens and continue her journey to the Red City. But in the smugglers’ dens, danger lurks around every corner, and all of her protection is gone.

My review

Apr 29, 14

Oh myyy!! The dens! What an interesting place to visit. As Zenobia’s adventure continues as she finds her way to the Red City, Australia reveals itself to be the most intriguing country. The dens was a most interesting place and the arena reminded me of ancient Rome, just different era’s, continents and creatures. And the fortress in the sky, again very well thought up, new and very interesting and blood thirsty characters, the twins freaked me out slightly but in a good way. I must say that as Meljean Brook develops the secondary characters and we get more than a glimpse of them and as the story moves along I dislike Helene more and more, and on the other hand, Mara and Cooper become more likeable.

Slightly disappointed that the story was too short but still, so much more to look forward to.