I first came across Iron Dominance on a Twitter channel I am following. I had not heard of Cari Silverwood before, so I proceeded to look her up on the ætherweb. What I found explained why I had not heard of her: Ms. Silverwood specializes in erotic fiction, a genre I tend not to read and I have mixed experiences with the books I have read and reviewed here.
Still, the story sounded intriguing enough and the BDSM theme promised a different flavour to what I had read thus far. It was also highly recommended as a highlight of Steampunk erotic fiction by some credible sources, so I decided to give it a go.
I start with the one thing I found disappointing: Iron Dominance is not Steampunk. Granted, the female protagonist, Claire, is a biological construct and the male protagonist, Theo, is the captain of an airship. At one point it is made very clear they wear brassgoggles while the two fly an ornithopter together. There is also a galvanic healing device.
All this is rather superficial, I think. They stand alone. Except for those obvious and rather flashy Steampunk elements, there is nothing. I had expected to see some automatons working on Theo’s vast estate, or some devices being employed in cleaning the manor or in the kitchen. Ms. Silverwood has simply taken Steampunk elements and painted her BDSM tale with it. It is science-fantasy, but not Steampunk.
This, as I said is the one, and only, thing I did not like. Apart from this single disappointment, Iron Dominance is an excellent read. The book is a page-turner, and it actually has a real story. Some of the erotic literature I have read before were just a number of scenes involving the human procreational act, linked by laughable empty stretches of what should pass as a storyline. Not here. For one thing, every single character introduced is real and, except for the obvious single villain, likable. Some of the characters, such as June, are a bit off-the-shelf, but they all fit in rather neatly. The chemistry between Claire and Theo becomes clear quite early and you actually want to cheer them on to finally get together.
The development of their relationship also is natural, nothing is rushed. The story does not force the first sex-scene, when it happens, it is what it should be.
This brings me to the next bit: The erotic content. I will refrain from using explicit language, but Ms. Silverwood has a way with words there. Her descriptions are red-hot, steaming and very effective without ever being crude. Enough said, I suggest you find out the rest yourselves.
Apart from the erotic content, Iron Dominance offers intrigue, deception, friendship, suspense, character development and a few interesting stories along the way which offer material for sequels or other tales set in the same world. Dankyo and Kirsten come to mind…
When you leave the BDSM elements out, you are still left with a beautiful romantic tale, a modern and slightly weird version of Cinderella.
So, Iron Dominance is an excellent erotic novel of the more intense kind. Very well written, very enjoyable and even without the erotic content, it would still be a beautiful science-fantasy romance.
Nine out of ten Zeppelins.