>> Saturday, April 26, 2014
TITLE: The Kraken King Part 2: The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm
AUTHOR: Meljean Brook
SETTING: Steampunk version of the 19th century
TYPE: Adventure romance
SERIES: Second part of 4th full length book in the Iron Seas series
As they continue their expedition across Australia, Ariq is determined to stay close to Zenobia and figure out what kind of game she’s playing—even as his admiration for the enigmatic woman starts to override his suspicion.
For Zenobia, revealing her identity to a man who once made his living outside of the law is out of the question—even though Ariq’s dashing looks and blunt manner are distractingly appealing.
But before anyone’s secrets or desires can be exposed, an unexpected attack threatens to destroy them all…
Link to my review of Part 1
Ok, so I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you've read part 1 (but not necessarily this part, so no spoilers for that here).
In The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm, Zenobia and her companions leave Krakentown with Ariq's party. Ariq and his people are trying to find information about the marauders who attacked Zenobia's airship (and have been attacking others in the area) in an effort to prevent the Empress from solving the situation in the simplest, more ruthless way: by laying waste to the entire area.
Ariq is not particularly keen on Zenobia leaving, but at least this way he gets to spend some more time with her and he can try to understand why she changed her mind so completely about him, after initially finding him attractive and looking quite tempted to give in to this attraction. We know it's all based on something Mara overheard and misinterpreted, but Ariq has no idea.
I really liked both the adventure and relationship aspects of this installment. On the adventure front, the abominable worm was a particularly exciting highlight (as were the jokes that such worms inspired), but I also liked the worldbuilding details about how things work between Ariq and his people and the Aboriginal Australians.
On the relationship side, the chemistry between Ariq and Zenobia continues to develop very satisfyingly. The sexual chemistry is scorching, but what I liked best was seeing how well suited they are to each other, and having them increasingly realise that this is so. I mentioned the worm jokes in the previous paragraphs; what was great about them wasn't just that they were funny, it was the way they showed very clearly Ariq's personality: his confidence and therefore his willingness to take the mickey out of himself quite happily. I can totally see why Zenobia would find this very attractive.
As I mentioned in my review of Part 1, I had this part provided by the author together with the first part, but my intention is to read this serial as it comes out. I resisted the temptation to keep going and read this only on the release date (while on some unexpected travel, which unfortunately prevented me from posting this until now). It worked really well that way. Whatever catch-up there was (mainly about why Ariq wants to find out more about the marauders, and a bit about why Zenobia changed her mind about him) was really unobtrusive and felt natural. I wouldn't think those reading the collected version in a few months would find it cumbersome (or even notice it, really). The break at the end of this part is again at an appropriate place, more a natural break than a cliff-hanger. There is a revelation where one of the protagonists finds out something about the other, and it made me speculate about what effect this would have on their feelings and future actions, but it didn't feel like an unfair or manipulative place to stop.
So far so good, can't wait for next Tuesday!