Whoosh! It’s already the weekend! In a few short days, Part II of THE KRAKEN KING will be hitting your e-readers. I don’t plan to post any long excerpts because they will be terrible spoilers, but… I guess there might be a little something at the end of this post that shouldn’t spoil the action too badly.
A reminder about NetGalley ARCs and Part II:
If you received a copy of Part I through NetGalley, you probably already have Part II. I’ve noticed that quite a few readers have been thrown when Part I ends around 43% and is followed by an excerpt from THE IRON DUKE. Scroll past that excerpt and you’ll find Part II!
Links and discussions:
I animated some covers! If you missed it, I Smell Sheep is hosting a giveaway for a poster of all the covers for the serial — and as part of the guest post, I got out Photoshop and played around with balloons and tentacles.
Earlier this week I posted a little bit about my reasons for writing THE KRAKEN KING as a serial, and how I see the format as a feature rather than a bug. I know not everyone is happy with the format, and the comments at other blogs range from interest to dislike to anger, so Sunita of Vacuous Minx looks at that in a really great post about experimenting with story length and format.
Reviews for Part I (and a few beyond!)
“I got this book via NetGalley. I don’t like to read serial books until the series is completed and I can read the entire thing. I hate to wait for bits to be doled out. That being said, Meljean Brook books are like crack to me, and so I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to read part I of the Kraken King, even knowing it would absolutely kill me to not have the rest of it. And sure enough, I am totally jonesing for the rest of the book now, now, NOW!”
THE KRAKEN KING 1 was such an adventurous read in so few pages. It already gave me wonderful angles to explore starting from the lush and exotic setting down to the colorful and very diverse characters. The romantic tension between Zenobia and Ariq was quick to materialize but it’s not an insta-love connection. Zenobia is going to make Ariq work for the nookie and I’m sure the Kraken King will give our scribbling heroine a lot of material for the book she’s currently writing. I say that’s great motivation to read part 2, don’t you think so?
Brie from Romance Around the Corner writes a guest review for Parts I – IV at Dear Author:
There are so many other things I want to mention, like how Zenobia and her friend are basically the only white characters in the story so far, or how finally this series has a villain that promises to be worthy of its adversaries and not just a weak afterthought added at the end, but this review is already long, and there’s one more praise I want to fit into this gush-fest: The Kraken King also happens to be the most romantic (half) book I’ve read this year.
The Kraken King has everything I love in a book; an exciting adventure filled plot, a heroine I really liked and connected with as well as a hunky hero I didn’t mind having a few fantasies about. It thoroughly absorbed me, before I knew it I found I have finished all three of the installments and was researching the release date for the next one!
I was immediately drawn into the story and was quite taken with the witty, strong Zenobia and the fearless Ariq. I can already feel their chemistry jump off the page.
I enjoyed Ariq as soon as he came on page. He’s dangerous, adventurous and sexy. That’s quite the trio and he’s completely taken with Zenobia and refuses to stop his pursuit. I’ve liked Zenobia since she was first introduced into the Iron Seas series. She’s funny, has a wicked sense of humor and she’s a heroine that will be easy to cheer for throughout this series.
As always, please feel free to post a link to your reviews in my comments. I try to scour Twitter for links when I’m rounding the reviews up, but I know I miss some. If I did, let me know, and I’ll link to you in the next round up. 🙂
An excerpt from THE KRAKEN KING AND THE ABOMINABLE WORM…
She looked to the south and saw him walking toward them, with his brother and Commander Saito at his sides. He stood a head taller than the other two men. Gone was the beautiful embroidered tunic from the first evening. He’d replaced it with a simple blue one that fastened with a brass buckle at his shoulder, edged in darker piping that matched his trousers. A wide belt cinched the tunic closed. Zenobia’s own tunic was disturbingly similar. Though longer, with a hem that reached her knees instead of stopping at her thighs, it had apparently been made of the same fabric by the same seamstress.
It wasn’t so surprising. This was a small town. The seamstress made men’s clothing, too, and she likely had a limited variety of cloth. Half the people in Krakentown probably had a similar tunic.
Still, the tips of her ears burned. She and the governor looked like a matched set.
Helene muffled a laugh behind her hand, then rushed out from beneath Zenobia’s glare.
“Governor! Commander!” Her friend hurried forward to bow and give her thanks.
Zenobia remained where she stood, her stomach in heated knots. She wanted to tell herself that it was just remembered anger, or hurt—or even the irritation of wearing similar clothing, as if it declared her his.
But, no. This was the portion of herself that still wanted everything between them to be like that first day, when she’d held his every glance and word and laugh close to her heart for safekeeping. When she hadn’t been able to stop looking at his mouth and anticipating a kiss. When she’d felt a part of something unexpected and wonderful.
The fanciful, stupid portion of herself. She wished it was easy to tuck away, like her luggage. Right up into the belly of a cold, unfeeling machine. And fool that she was, Zenobia was staring at his mouth again, watching him greet Helene.
Then he looked past her friend and his gaze narrowed on Zenobia.
Instantly the knots in her stomach tugged tighter. His expression seemed speculative and determined, but she didn’t know what he was thinking.
She shouldn’t care what he was thinking. After an abrupt nod of greeting, she looked away. Smoke stained the view toward the bay. The townspeople must have started roasting the kraken on the beach. Above, pink and gold gilded wisps of clouds. The day promised to be hot and humid again.
Even watching the sky, she was aware of his approach. Helene’s chatter moved closer, punctuated by short replies from the men. It was as if Zenobia couldn’t hear anything but that conversation. Her friend was already telling the governor how they’d decided on their seating arrangements.
And of course she made it sound as if Zenobia had asked to sit beside him.
By the balloon flyer, Mara gave Cooper a quick kiss—Helene must not have seen that, or Zenobia would have heard a scandalized gasp—before joining them.
She was surprised when the governor’s brother approached her, as well. He spoke and Mara translated, “It would be my honor to assist you onto the ladder.”
He looked sincere. He must think that ugly women couldn’t climb, or that her long nose would get hung up while rising past one of the rungs, and had decided to take pity on her. How kind.
“Thank you,” she said, then her heart jumped when the governor spoke beside her.
“The other ladies first, Taka, so that they can settle in the back.” His voice lowered as his brother took Helene’s hand. “Did you secure everything you need, Lady Inkslinger?”
“I believe so.”
Despite her offer to pay for supplies, he’d taken care of the food, tents, and fuel. She and Helene had only needed to replace the personal items lost on the airship.
His brother turned to help Mara, but Cooper was already there. With a grin, he boosted his wife level with the carriage in one smooth toss. She easily caught the ladder at the top rung and laughed down at him before climbing in.
Unwelcome envy stabbed Zenobia’s heart. Anyone could leap to great heights on steel legs or listen to distant conversations. They only needed an infection of tiny mechanical nanoagents and a clever blacksmith to create the devices. But she didn’t know of any inventor who could build what the two mercenaries shared. People fell in love all the time. Yet somehow, love was still precious and rare and difficult.
But maybe inventors had the right idea. Creating automatons was so much easier than manufacturing love. The machines would probably be easier to live with than people were, too.
Taka glanced at Zenobia and extended his hand. The governor spoke in Nipponese. His brother moved to the side of the ladder, as if waiting.
She didn’t want to look at the governor, but movement drew her gaze to his chest. He withdrew two small bottles from the fold of his tunic and offered them to her.
“Kraken ink,” he said.
She would not think well of him. Her heart only leapt as her fingers brushed his because the ink was marvelous. “Thank you.”
“As I promised.”
Before she’d rejected him. She hoped he wouldn’t misunderstand her accepting the gift. “My friend is determined for me to sit with you. I trust you will not take it as encouragement.”
“But you may take everything I say as encouragement.”
Her gaze shot to his profile. “What?”
“Every word I say. Everything I do. You may take it as encouragement,” he said as easily as if he were only remarking on the color of the sky. He wasn’t even looking at her, but surveying the other machines as their engines started. “If you change your mind again, know that my desires remain the same.”
Like a lash of a whip, anger cracked through her surprise. He didn’t desire her. “For me to visit your bed?”
If he did want her in bed, it wasn’t for herself. Only to gain her trust, to seduce away her secrets.
“Yes.” Now he looked at her, his gaze burning. “And I desire to know why you need to leave my town so quickly. Why you travel with guards. Why your airship was attacked.”
He not only wanted her secrets, but Helene’s, too. And answers that she simply didn’t know. What could the marauders have to do with her?
“Geraldine!” Helene’s voice came from above. “We are settled!”
And waiting on her. She glanced at Taka, but the governor moved behind her before his brother could assist. Big hands spanned her waist and he lifted her onto the ladder. For a moment, his broad chest was hard against her back.
“I also want to know why you refuse me, then look at my mouth as if you wonder how I’ll taste.” Carried on a warm breath, his voice was deep and soft against her ear. “And I want to know why your friend calls you Geraldine, but your maid called you Zenobia.”
Her fingers slipped from the rung. Tension steeled her body. She didn’t fall. He still had hold of her.
Though her heart pounded, she said evenly, “You misheard.”
“I didn’t.” The hands at her waist tightened when she reached for the rung again, keeping her securely against him. “Whatever you are running from or running toward, I will help you.”
“Sir.” She put iron into her voice and gripped the ladder. “Right now, I am trying to get away from you.”
He let her go.