Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review - Dead Iron (Age of Steam, Book 1) by Devon Monk (3.5 /5 stars)

Dead Iron: The Age of Steam (Cedar Hunt)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Steampunk
Size:  352 pages
Publisher:  Roc Trade
Release Date: July 5, 2011
ISBN: 978-0451463968
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Age of Steam series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This is the first book in Devon Monk's new Age of Steam series.  Previously I have read Monk's Allie Beckstrom series and enjoyed it.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  I absolutely adored the world and some of the ideas in this book.  Unfortunately the story moved very slow in the beginning and there were so many characters I feel like I never really got to know them all that well.

Cedar Hunt is a cursed man and a bounty hunter.  He is hired to find the Holder and in his spare time is trying to track down a four year old boy that went missing from the village.  Ends up lots of people want to find the Holder and Cedar will end up pitted against an immortal beings in his search for it. He will also be fighting side by side with witches and a trio of strange brothers.  Think of this as Wild West meets steampunk meets traditional fantasy.

The world created in this book is complicated but absolutely awesome.  It is very a wild-west frontier setting but with steam devices, witches, immortals, evil magicians, werewolves and the Strange (evil creatures).  The way Monk has blended these things together is absolutely awe inspiring.  I loved, loved, loved this world and really want to read more about it.

The book has some problems though.  It starts very slowly.  This is a complicated world and the story is told from 4-5 viewpoints, so it take a long time (too long) to get things going.  I had trouble getting through the first part, my mind kept wandering.  If you can make it through the first two-thirds of the book though you are in for a crazy wild ride.  The pace really picks up in the last third and the book is impossible to put down.

Okay, now let's talk characters.  There are some great characters in this book.  Cedar Hunt is a great tormented cowboy noble warrior type; loved him.  The witch is wonderful too, as are the mysterious three brothers who are devicers and live in tunnels   Then there is Rose, the shopkeeper's daughter, she has such wonderful potential.  All of these characters have an element of mystery to them and have so much potential to be absolutely awesome.  Unfortunately they don't reach that potential in this book.  There are just too many viewpoints and characters and because of that we don't really get to engage with any of them really well.   Hopefully the next book will address this.

The action scenes are awesome, the idea of glim, and all of the wonderful contraptions are spectacular.  The book ends well; I wanted to read more about it but it wasn't a cliffhanger ending.

Overall an okay book.  I am a bit conflicted because there is so much potential for awesomeness here.  The world is absolutely wonderful, the characters could be wonderful if we got the time to know them better.  Unfortunately the first two-thirds of the book is very slow going.  The constantly changing viewpoints makes it hard to engage with the characters and really slows the story down; I found myself struggling to get through the beginning of the book and then was absolutely glued to the book for the last third of the story. This book is absolutely unlike Monk's Allie Beckstrom series and I really like what Monk's started here.  I am hoping that the next book will focus on less characters and get the story moving quicker; if it does that it will be a spectacular series.  Fans of fantasy and steampunk will find a lot in this world to love and should check it out; or at least keep an eye on the series to see if the next book is as awesome as it could be.  I will definitely be reading next book and hoping for the best.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

1 comment:

  1. Just hopping through and found your blog. You have definately a new follower. Look forward to reading your upcoming reviews and follow your blog :-)