Serial Series with ‘The Kraken King’

20645265The Kraken King Part 1 by Meljean Brook (Iron Sea #4.1)
InterMix, April 15, 2014 (Steampunk Romance)*

My rating: I’d go there again! (4/5)

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the next installment to Brook’s steampunk Iron Seas series. It is one of the best steampunk romance series out there, and I highly recommend that you start at the beginning; there’s so much world building and explanations, you definitely need to. For this latest book in the series, the author is releasing it in an eight parts, and I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of part one. With this serial format, I’ve decided to do my review in two parts, first I’m going to address that actual book and then I want to take some time to comment on the serial format.

The Book

Part one started off with a bang and I expect nothing less of this adventurous series. Happily, this latest venture in the Iron Seas features Zenobia Fox, the sister of Archimedes Fox (from book 2) who writes and publishes all of her brother’s adventures. However, the time has come for Zenobia to have her own adventure, and it will hopefully not include kidnapping, since that has already happened four times! Oh, the trials of having a famous brother…

Zenobia sets forth under an alias with her old friend Helen, whom she has been lying to for years. Helen believes that Zenobia is actually Geraldine, and a widow at that. In actually, Zenobia hasn’t even been kissed. While traveling on an airship, Zenobia soon finds herself with more adventure than she would like. The airship is attacked, but luckily, Zenobia finds herself rescued by a handsome and dashing man – Ariq, former smuggler and thief.

Part one, The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster, was a great introduction to this serial. Readers are treated a great premise, a promising romance, and are given just enough information to keep them guessing until the next installment. I loved the story and I personally cannot wait to read the entire collection. The chemistry between the leads was great, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the hero. I have no problems recommending the book. I love the writing and I love the story. What makes me hesitate is the format. The idea of a serial book doesn’t really sit right with me for a number of reasons.

The Serial

The Kraken King is to be released in eight parts over eight weeks from April until June. As an avid reader I have to admit that this really irks me. I generally read at least one book a week, which means I’m transitioning between books a lot. Having The Kraken King spread out over an eight-week period is definitely going to throw me because I’m going to be reading a lot of other stuff and I know that I’ll end up forgetting the small details of previous installments when reading the current installment. As much as I loved this taste of The Kraken King I can guarantee that I wont be purchasing it in serial format and will be waiting for the entire compilation.

I know that serials were big in the day of Dickens, but I just don’t get the relevance of it today. When I sit down to read I want to read for a good chunk of time, not be left hanging, as you will be with this format. This is even truer for a series I love like I do The Iron Seas. When I’ve been waiting for a new book for months, like I have been The Kraken King, I like to set aside a good amount of time and power through the book, read it start to finish in the shortest amount of time possible. This serial format does not allow you to do that. The format has actually dampened my enthusiasm for this book quite a bit, at least until the entire eight parts are released as one. It simply doesn’t fit with the way I read. In part, I know this is because I read a lot for work and as a book reviewer, which makes it hard to get excited for a book that I would have to read in fits in starts.

From a librarian point of view, I also question the availability of this format for library collections. Yes, I’m sure that you can purchase the installments for the library’s digital collection, but how is that fair for all of the readers out there who do not have access to digital devices? And believe me, there’s a lot of people who don’t. I don’t really think it makes sense for the library to individually purchase all eight installments and then have to purchase the entire thing when it’s once again released. However, this is my opinion on the format, and I would be curious what other readers think.

Ultimately, I’m not a fan of the serial format and I will be holding off recommending this one until I can actually recommend the completed product, and I will be holding off spending my money until I can get one finished book instead of eight short snippets.

*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Similar Reads

For a little more snark with your spinster, give Gail Carriger’s Soulless a try. This one is definitely not as serious as The Kraken King, but it is full of humour and werewolves and vampires, with a dash of mystery for variety. It’s also got a dash of steampunk flavour but is more focused on fantasy elements than the gadgetry generally associated with the genre.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

Like Zenobia, Ginesse longs for adventure and the opportunity to make her own mark outside of her famous family in The Other Guy’s Bride. So a trip to Egypt is obviously in order! This one was so much fun and I highly recommend it.

The Other Guy's Bride (Braxton, #2)

There’s something about the hero in The Lone Assassin that reminds me of Ariq in The Kraken King, at least from what I got from this short installment. This one was a surprise read for me; I loved it and I really wasn’t expecting to. But this fantasy romance has the same romantic intensity that I’ve seen in the Iron Seas series.

The Lone Warrior (The Four-Sided Pentacle, #3)




  1. I recently read a book in installments, too – an urban fantasy by S.L. Viehl. I agree with you – I’m not a fan of the format. Possibly it may have appeal to other readers today, since everyone always seems to be pressed for time, but I think there’s still something lost in the time spent in between installments.

  2. Yes, something is lost in translation. I don’t know if it’s a format that might appeal to less avid readers, but for me, it wont ever be the preference.

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