I liked this a LOT more than I figured I'd would. The world is fully built, as it were, and Brook is a very visual writer. I liked Mina and The Duke together, but I felt as if it were always from a distance. I could sympathize with each of their situations, but nothing really gutted me. Their attraction to each other was handled well, but although it was completely justified within the realm of the story, I thought the "it will destroy her" stuff went on a bit long. I also thought the 'misunderstanding' near the end was, well, a little clunky. Until that point they'd seemed very much on the same wavelength and it seemed strange that suddenly neither knew what the other truly felt. Eh, I don't have a huge amount of experience with romances, maybe that's expected, but with the way Mina had been drawn and the strength of the Duke, the whole hurt feelers situation didn't quite jibe for me. I mean, it seemed clear from their first encounter that they'd be together, and it seemed like just one more little bump to delay the gratification. I understand the reasoning, but it didn't really work for me.
Also, some of the language during their "encounters" struck a little clunky, but then again, I don't read a lot of romance, so that may be the standard. I just can't help it, though: every time the Duke said "shag," I pictured Austin Powers. Took me right out of it.
I will say that the writing, in general, was lovely. Smoothly flowing and very evocative of the era she's created. The machines were ingenious and I never felt lost or confused by what went on or the purpose or looks of them. When I think "steampunk," I think about that horrid "Wild Wild West" remake Will Smith did eons ago. I liked this a LOT more than that!
I actually enjoyed Scarsdale and Newberry a bit more than the main characters. I have a soft-spot for redheaded men, and for self-deprecating, brave, intelligent, and loyal sots.
Overall, a fine read. I've already purchased the second one.