Iron Duke by Meljean Brook is the established author’s first foray into the steampunk genre. The book is a great read, with an atmosphere, which combines the British Regency with an Industrial Revolution out of control. Brooks builds a world in which the defeated Horde had previously infected people with nanotechnology, which would allow them to control infected individuals with a simple radio frequency. In the wake of their defeat, people such as detective inspector Lady Wilhelmina Wentworth are still trying to simply survive and keep food on the table of her family. Mina’s job leads her to the doorstep of the man that effectively defeated the Horde five years prior, Rhys Trahaearn who is most often referred to as the Iron Duke. The two have a shared attraction and a desire to get to the bottom of the crimes and intrigue that have brought them together. There are airships, nanotechnology, and metal creations to assuage steampunk fans and eclectic characters, subterfuge and danger to please romance and adventure fans. Brook’s world and character development has me eager to see what will happen next in this new series, and am eager to read Heart of Steel which is due to be published in November 2011.
Supernatural Noir is a collection of short stories collected and edited by Ellen Datlow that will be published June 22 2011.The collection is a great group of stories that combine the noir flavor with events and people with of paranormal persuasion. Stories include tales of love, frightening lawn gnomes, magical artifacts, a hit man killing with coincidence, horrible appetites hiding worse secrets, and a detective stuck between two worlds. All of the tales were dark, with magic and irony playing a part in the best of the stories. Most anthologies contain one or two fantastic pieces, and at least one that just felt like it could have been left out. This was not the case with this anthology. Yes, there were three or four stories included that really stood out as fantastic and made me eager to explore more from the author. However, there were no stories that stood out in a bad way, although some were just good rather than great. The stories range from disturbing to delightful and I recommend the anthology and consider it well worth exploring by fans of any genre.
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston is a young adult novel that is both a fractured fairy tale and a work of noir fiction. The story takes place in the world of fairy tale creatures, including animals that have evolved and become anthropomorphized, long after the fairies have disappeared. The action in this story revolves around the big, bad wolf’s son Henry who is living in a juvenile detention center for a reasonably small offense. The big, bad wolf in in prison for killing a girl and her grandmother, however even that case might not be as cut and dry as it first appears. There is a creature pulling the strings, a conspiracy involving fairy dust and some unexpected twists. If you are looking for a unique take on characters from classic stories had what the bigger picture might be for them, then this book will deliver. My complete review is available on Associated Content.