TITLE: Dead Iron (The Age of Steam #1)
AUTHOR: Devon Monk
PUBLICATION: 2011 by ROC
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…
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .
I confess that I do not read steampunk literature, which is funny because I don’t mind watching those kind of movies. I guess the only example that I’ve come into contact with in the past has been The Time Machine? Anyway I came across this book from my county library’s website and the cover attracted me. I clicked and the summary intrigued me: American West + lycanthropy + steampunk = something I’d want to try.
I was enthralled by the book pretty much from chapter one. I believe I have stated on this blog before that I love werewolves so this book was a perfect temptation for me, especially in a western setting. Guns and a tormented protagonist? I can dig it. There were a lot of things going on in this novel so rarely was there a dull moment. It’s hard to say why I felt so attracted to reading it. Perhaps because it was different from my usual reading fare? The actual story itself only covers the span of a few days so it’s not like it was drawn out. I thought there would be threads left unresolved, but everything came together in the end.
Monk’s interpretation of lycanthropy is that it is a curse with few benefits. I don’t mind because werewolves should be vicious, and the internal struggle of Cedar to maintain his humanity when the moon takes him pleases me. I guess I’m a sadist because I feed on the anguish of characters in stories. My recent experiences with books (and we all know what books these are) leave me still fearing for characters’ lives, so I wasn’t sure whether or not Cedar was expendable or not, but I kept telling myself that it was a series and not every author is going to kill off their best characters!
There have not been many books I’ve read to date that involve zombies, but I would say this is my favorite so far. And it’s interesting how the author still incorporates eating brains, as the dead man extracting the glim that runs the contraptions from their heads. So I definitely didn’t mind the inclusion of this branch of the undead family!
There’s not an immediate love affair in this book, but I doubt that Mae would be a likable wife/widow if she allowed herself to be drawn into a romance so soon after her husband’s death. (I know that I wouldn’t like her if she did.) Still the author gives hints that Cedar would perhaps like to be the next man in her life once she was done grieving. Although I think I would rather like the idea that Rose would become Cedar’s future love interest… so I guess we’ll see how things pan out!
I really liked this book and can honestly say that I look forward to the next book in the series. Has Dead Iron turned me into a steampunk fan? Perhaps. If I read anymore really good ones like this volume! (Feel free to recommend me titles!)