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I Belong

Review: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

Title: Dead Iron

Author: Devon Monk

Genre: Steampunk

Series: Age of Steam (Book 1)

Publication Date: July 5, 2011

Format: Paperback, 337 Pages

ISBN-10045146396X (Penguin/ROC)

ISBN-13: 978-0451463968 (Penguin/ROC)

Reviewed by: Sheila


Welcome to a new America that is built on blood, sweat, and gears…

In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother’s death. Then he’s offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he’s going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all…

Quick & Dirty: A true steampunk adventure where humans (and those a little less so) fight to stop a door from opening up to a world full of creatures bent on our destruction.

Opening SentenceCedar had stared straight into the killing eyes of rabid wolves, hungry bears, and charging bull elk, but Mrs. Horace Small had them all topped.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The steampunk genre has always fascinated me.  Fantastical machines and notions that seem to crawl right out of one’s imagination.  To be honest, Dead Iron is the first steampunk I have read in a while that doesn’t have any smut in it; romantic interest but no smutish love scenes.  I’m not sure whether or not to be sad about that.  Barring my love of novel smutitude, I have to say that this was a fantastic read!

Cedar Hunt is a werewolf.  No really, he’s a werewolf.  He has chosen to hide his true nature and live in a forgotten little town in Oregon called Hallelujah.  This is a small minded community where the unusual is looked down upon and strangers are to be feared and rejected.  When Cedar decides to get involved with the search for a missing local boy using his special abilities, he finds himself way in over his head.  With the help of some unusual helpmates and devices, Cedar and company attempt to stop a very bad man from transforming their world into a playground for the Strange; a hungry and amoral species that feed off of humans.

Cedar’s character is intriguing.  He is a man with a strong code of personal ethics and morals.  He is also a cursed man; doomed by an ancient god to roam as a werewolf and hunt down the Strange.  Though it is in his best interests not to get involved with the locals and their troubles, he still feels the need to help find a little boy that has gone missing from his home.  When he realizes that this may be the work of the Strange, he pursues with a single-minded devotion to hunt down and kill what doesn’t belong in this world.  Even after he uncovers information concerning his brother’s fate, he does not give up his mission to save the boy.  The juxtaposition between beast instinct and human logic makes Cedar a wonderful character.

Mrs. Jeb “Mae” Lindson is another major character in this book.  Her story is one filled with magic and love.  She is a witch that has magically sealed her life and soul to her husband, Jeb, in such a way that gives a whole new meaning to the term “Until death do us part.”  When she feels his death, she is hell bent on revenge.  She teams up with Cedar to hunt the person or thing that killed her husband.  Her character is very heartfelt.  The pain and grief she feels about losing her husband is shown in every action.  And while she does find closure, her love for her husband will always live within her heart.  These emotions and trials are what help shape and hone the strength of character that Mae exhibits.

The antagonists within this book are amazing.  Not only do you have the small town fear of the new and unknown, you have to contend with the Strange which are dangerously new and unknown in a far more global scale.  The small mindedness hatred that some of the townsfolk exhibit toward relatively harmless people are in direct contrast to the welcoming of what is apparently a much greater danger to everyone.  I really enjoyed the overall social theme that this book described.  Illogical fear and loathing can lead a person down a much more dangerous path than the righteous road they believe that they are traveling down.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book.  The imagery and tension within this novel make it a wonderful read for any steampunk fan.  Ms. Monk is well-known for infusing awesomeness in all her work and this new and exciting new series is no exception.

Notable Scene:

The man hadn’t walked away, nor had he hid himself.  He had simply disappeared as if her were made of nothing but shadows.

She had seen spirits, and she had seen the things magic could do, but she had never seen such a Strange thing here, in this world, walking in the last light of day.  Whoever he was, he had not come calling with gentle intentions.

The edge of the forest and pale evening light were just a few strides away.  Light might not stop the man, but escaping the shadows of the forest would make him easier to see.

There.  There-she was almost through the trees.

A hand grabbed for her reins, cold as stone and sharp as knives.  Mae lifted her gun and fired, just as Prudence reared back.

The Age of Steam Series:

1. Dead Iron

2. Tin Swift

FTC Advisory: Penguin/ROC graciously provided me with a copy of Dead Iron.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payments I receive are hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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