Joint Review: The Kraken King (Parts V to VIII) by Meljean Brook

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Where did you get the book: E-arcs from publisher

Publisher: Intermix/Penguin

Release Date: Out now



With their lives and the fate of an empire at stake, Ariq is forced to leave Zenobia behind. Held captive by their enemies, Zenobia can only pray that Ariq keeps his promise to come for her—until a terrible loss prods her to action.
Ariq has no intention of handing over the Skybreaker to the two men responsible for the marauders’ attacks against Krakentown—but without a ransom to give them, Ariq must risk everything to rescue Zenobia and stop the swarming forces bent on destruction…

*Blurb taken from Goodreads*

Cass: Warning! I have issues with these installments. At this juncture, plot spoilers will be unavoidable. We’ll try to keep it vague – but it’ll happen.



Has: At the halfway stage of the serial, things are heating up between Ariq and Zenobia, with their romance intensifying. As well as the ongoing plot with the different factions on the hunt to find the war machine which Ariq has hidden away and could turn the tide in the rebellion in the Horde empire.

I loved the how the romance between Ariq and Zenobia has evolved in the serial. I really liked that in the previous installment, Ariq married Zenobia although she wasn’t fully aware this was a serious commitment. I liked how this played out because it was fun but also illustrated the depth of his feelings towards Zenobia who was the one who still clung to her own inner walls and doubts. Although Ariq is great in giving Zenobia her space and time to figure out her own feelings towards him and the commitment he offers. I found their relationship sweet, passionate and intense and it was a joy to see how this all plays out. Especially when the danger around them deepens when they’re both threatened for the knowledge of where the war machine’s whereabouts when Ariq is faced in breaking his own resolve for the greater good to protect those he loves.

Cass: I was, as mentioned previously, tepid on their romance and angst. He tricked her into marrying him?! Unacceptable! What is he going to do next? Sabotage her method of birth control so she gets pregnant and is even less able to leave him? Separate her from her bodyguards? Isolate her from her family and finances? Oh wait….. I wanted to punch him in the head, and was elated everytime he was in danger. Ariq deserved whatever was coming to him.

I did, however, like that he used his bad-ass reputation to effectively stop any future attempts to kidnap her. Though I liked how they lampshaded her perpetual kidnapped-damsel-in-distress routine, it was still tiresome. Hopefully this means that we won’t have watch Yasmeen and Archimedes take breaks for their many adventures to rescue Zenobia in the future.

I remain a soulless automaton. I didn’t get any vibe that Ariq truly loved Zenobia. He did, however, appear to be extremely possessive of her. Like a dragon guarding a pretty bauble in his hoard. Admittedly, Zenobia appeared fond of him. (I blame her poor judgement on her abusive father. Something about the Fox siblings’ upbringing clearly caused them to be attracted to emotionally distant and/or dangerous people. The difference is that Archimedes and Yasmeen worked as equals.) Zenobia’s wishes were just too subservient to Ariq’s for me to feel invested in their relationship.


Has: I disagree about Zenobia being so much a doormat although her abusive upbringing is a factor in her being reticent especially when the few times she did venture out on her own, she was abducted for ransom! So I really don’t blame her for feeling like this although I think her interaction with Ariq and this adventure had made her break out of the prison of her own making and the circumstances that surrounded her to be wary of others. It was also Zenobia who made Ariq work on wooing her, and even though he was offering and providing her protection, she was more independent and freer than she was ever before. I actually found it ironic that the man of steel was so vulnerable and that Zenobia became his Achilles’ heel in so many ways and that he actually liked that because it didn’t make him weak. In a lot of ways they really balanced each other out. Ariq needed some vulnerability as well as offering the role of protector, while Zenobia finally discovered her sense of self and breaking free from her chains of her past. Her writing and the new direction it took illustrated that and it was interesting that they both had to experience loss or chinks in their armour to discover this.


Cass: It appears we are in agreement on the fact that Ariq often displays poor judgment when experiencing feelings – no matter how deep they may run. I was particularly horrified by his defense of his uncle, who is the mastermind (?) behind a Horde Rebellion.

I am the first person to cheer when an oppressive or fascist government is overthrown. Which it appears Ariq’s uncle is working on (I smell the plot of the next book in the Iron Seas). However, it also appears that The General, the leader of the rebellion, the heir-apparent to the Horde Empire should the people succeed, has a wee bit of a history committing genocide.

Sane people would all agree this absolutely and fundamentally disqualifies you to rule. Not Ariq. Oh no. He’s just convinced that General Genocide is the best choice to take over the Horde because he’s already done the whole oppressive genocidal dictator thing. What kind of leader wants to repeat the same moves? Yawn. Clearly, he’ll think of whole new non-genocidal ways to rule. Riiiight.

Note: If you are ever supporting someone for a position of authority in one breath, and acknowledging it would be just for them to be brutally murdered for their crimes in another….you need to rethink your stance on the former point. Cognitive dissonance? Anyone? Ariq, do you have any ability to engage in higher-level brain activity?


Has: I think with Ariq, his uncle is more of the better the devil you know kind of thing. And I don’t blame him for trying to push his uncle’s rebellion instead of using a bigger and more powerful weapon which is like placing a nuke in the wrong hands or the potential of that happening. I also think his uncle may have learned from his mistakes and the bad choices that he made, and that things aren’t clear cut or black and white in this world which I think makes for interesting developments in this series. I also hope we get to see more of this fallout in the following books about the direction of the rebellion which seems to be really promising.

I also think Ariq was also more concerned in protecting his corner of the world and his people, and I don’t blame him for making those decisions because handing over a dangerous weapon like the war machine would have made things so much worse especially for the wider world. Ariq is a practical man and this is a harsh world where choices will have repercussions that he would have to live with.


Cass: I don’t want anyone to think I didn’t enjoy this plot development – or really any of politics disclosed throughout the Kraken King (holy shit the Nipponese have a Cold War with the Horde and are attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction and there is Horde Rebellion and the indigenous people in Australia are so bad ass no one will mess with them…..OMGWTF!!!!). I actually found it to be quite in line with Ariq’s character. He is a selfish self-centered individual only concerned with protecting his things. Though he is intelligent enough to immediately understand how the events in his tiny corner of the world would ripple outwards in such a politically volatile time. He just did not. care. Was his character well-developed and consistent with the world he was inhabiting? Absolutely. Did I hate him and constantly cheer at the prospect of his death? Hell yeah!

I am a vicious reader. I want catharsis for all my gripes.


Has: LOL! I though Ariq was more typical of the alpha type hero and that he would be concerned about his own people. I don’t think that’s selfish and it is hard for him to solve all the world’s problems and I think he was definitely in the position where he was stuck between the rock and a hard place that he made the right choice at the end.

The last few installments of the serial really builds up for an intense showdown between the factions of the Nipponese Empress and the General along with Ariq’s allies and Zenobia’s family. It was an excellent climactic ending and I loved the big battle scene touches on the title of the serial in so many ways.

THE KRAKEN KING is a fabulous serial, whether you read it in installments or in one glom-fest like I did, you would be swept away in a world full of imagination and high octane adventure and romance. This is a world full of depth, detail and imagination. I loved every scene and moment along with the heart-felt romance and was very said that I had to click to the last page.


I give THE KRAKEN KING (Parts V-VIII) an A-
And for the whole serial also an A-


Cass: If we were just grading based on the epic battle scene, I would give an A+. It was amazing, and now I want this. In the end, though I dearly loved the plot, the moving along of the on-going threads within The Iron Seas, and the constantly expanding world-building……I really hated parts V-VI. I’d give those a D and the last two and A. We’ll average my rating for THE KRAKEN KING (parts V-VIII) as a B.

I actually don’t recommend reading this as a serial. Certain installments are just not engaging, and could kill your momentum and interest in continuing the story. It is worth it to get to the end! Stick through the slow parts and just read it all at once. Any fan of the Iron Seas absolutely must read this installment. So much about the Iron Seas is disclosed that you will be kicking yourself if you miss it.

As a whole I give The Kraken King a B+. Be wary of a few boring chapters and don’t get discouraged. You need to know what happens. Because it is epic. (And is where that plus came from. The more mathematically inclined will note that a B- and a B =/= a B+. The + is for epic ending and Yasmeen cameo.)





















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Part V

Part VI


Part VII


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