Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dead Iron - Where the west was devised and conquered.

Title Dead Iron
Author Devon Monk
    Genra Fantasy/Steampunk/Western
     Series Book #1 in the Age of Steam series 
     Pages 352
     My Average 4.8 pages a day

    Where the west was devised and conquered.

Nomad, Cedar Hunt has a secret, a cursed secret, but so does half of the sleepy town of Hallelujah. With the promise of the new rail pounding through the town, comes the dark underbelly of trouble. Trouble by the name of Shard Lefel.
When a boy goes missing in the sleepy town, Cedar takes it upon himself to find him. Cedar soon will discover that strange things are afoot and it’s up to him to sort them out.

What I liked:
Devon Monk is a master of the written language. Poetic paragraphs describe instantly the message she wants portrayed. This is something we in the written world salivate over. We want to describe a scene in one word. An instantaneous connection. I have personally flagged a few lines that stick out vividly in my mind. Lines that I may steal one day...

For example, in the very first paragraph you get an excellent since of the main characters... character. Cedar is fearless and determined. Nothing will get in his way. This in turn, sets up the entire story line.

Hit after hit of suspense sucks you right into the first chapter and spits you tumbling out at the end. Cedar has secrets you want to know. What power overcomes him and makes him a killing machine? What is his curse?

Cedar harnesses his curse as a weapon to help him hunt down the missing boy, with the help of a little steampunk weaponry and gadgetry. As this is my first steampunk novel to read, I believe I chose a good starting point. I have watched steampunk movies, but never read a novel from the genera. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with steampunk, think Wild Wild West or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.) Monk doesn’t over describe or under-describe the steampunk aspects of the novel. I will admit, it was a little hard at first, but I slipped right into the genre soon after the first paragraph and found myself envisioning little spider-like machines helping me type up this review.

There is also a wide range of emotions from desire to hatred to sadness. Monk doesn’t just tell you how to feel, you feel it with the characters. I felt Cedar’s desire to move to kill to live. I even found myself feeling bad for some of the unlucky mattics that weren’t among the chosen to seek and kill. Yes, I did secretly want Shared Lafel to “Release the hounds” ... all of them. They seemed so sad, shackled to a wall, unable to kill with their friends.

What I didn’t like:
At times, there was too much describing. I understand the need to describe a fictitious world like steampunk, but there were times when I just wanted Monk to hint at the objects instead of describing each bolt and nut. Hint at the surroundings. 

And the last and final thing that I would change is the ending. I won’t spoil it for you but I felt like it could have ended on page 321. Though every reader cry’s for more, “More, tell me more... what does he do in 5, 10... 15 years? Will he marry, have children, grow a garden in a quiet town on the opposite side of the country...” The fun about getting to the end of the book (at least for me) is daydreaming about how it ends after the writing has finished. How the main character lives his/her life after this event has occurred. It gives us, the reader, a chance to feel like we are writing part of the story too.

Rating: B+

About the author:

I had the pleasure of meeting Devon at a book signing in Houston at Murder By The Books. A friend of hers, Ilona Andrews retweeted (on twitter) that Monk was in town signing books. I am an avid reader of the Magic series by Andrews so I decided to check it out. 

Devon showed up to the signing adorned in her Steampunk getup... so cute I especially loved the gloves and goggles. Anyway... back to the author, she was fun to talk to and excited about the warm Houston weather (as opposed to the wet, cold climate of Oregon)

Along with The Age of Steam series (Dead Iron), Monk has also written an urban fantasy series,  Allie Beckstrom.

As she states on her website, she has one husband... so close your jaws men, she's taken and not looking for a brother-husband. She also has two kids and a dog... and a love for knitting. I have tried to convince Monk to consider taking up Yarn-Bombing or at least writing about it...

Devon Monk is an all around nice person and interesting writer with a love for dark fiction that shows in her work. 

Stay tuned for the next book:
Rodney Walther
Broken Laces

1 comment:

  1. I came here via Amazon. I enjoyed your review of Dead Iron - I loved it (Dead Iron) and have enjoyed all her other novels and short stories.

    I was also envisioning Wild Wild West, with the addition of weres and magic. Loved her take on steampunk.