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Dead Iron: The Age of Steam by [Monk, Devon]
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Dead Iron: The Age of Steam Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in The Age of Steam (3 Book Series)
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Review

Praise for "Dead Iron "
"Featuring a cursed hero, fabulous secondary characters, a world torn between machines and magic, and a plot that hooks your interest from the very first chapter, "Dead Iron "is a must read."--"New York Times" bestselling author Keri Arthur
"A relentless Western and a gritty steampunk, bound together by wicked magic. The action is superb, the stakes are sky-high, and the passion runs wild. Who knew cowboys and gears could be this much fun? Devon Monk rocks--her unique setting and powerful characters aren't to be missed!"--"New York Times" bestselling author Ilona Andrews
"A novel and interesting take on the steampunk tropes, with generous nods to other genres and plenty of odd but human characters and Mad Science."--"New York Times "bestselling author S. M. Stirling
"[A] steampunk world so real, I could almost smell the grease and hear the gears grind. Werewolves, witches, and creatures of both flesh and metal clash....Beautifully written and brilliantly imagined, Devon Monk is at her best with "Dead Iron.""--"New York Times "bestselling author Rachel Vincent
"A magical steampunk history...a magnificent tale....The reader will be drawn ever deeper into the ticking, dripping iron heart of this story."--Jay Lake, award-winning author of "Green "
"Powerful...hypnotic...a Wild West that is as wired as it is weird...an absolute must read."--"Publishers Weekly" (Starred Review)
"Ingenious."--"All Things Urban Fantasy "
"A brilliant and gritty world rife with elements drawn from steampunk, blended with dark fantasy and a glint of glamour."--"Fresh Fiction "

About the Author

Devon Monk has one husband, two sons, and a dog named Mojo. She lives in Oregon and is surrounded by colorful and numerous family members who mostly live within dinner-calling distance of each other. She has sold over fifty short stories to fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, and young adult magazines and anthologies. Her stories have been published in five countries and included in a Year's Best Fantasy collection. When not writing, Devon is either knitting, remodeling the house-that-was-once-a-barn, or hosting a family celebration.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 906 KB
  • Print Length: 351 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 045146396X
  • Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (5 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Y3HG9M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #332,535 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Devon Monk is best known for her Allie Beckstrom books set in a modern environment. Dead Iron is in a somewhat older environment, but one where the train is setting its tracks accross the US (and, of course, also includes magic).

We find werewolves, elves, witches and devisers (people who somehow manage to imbue mechanical devises with magic).

Cedar Hunt is a bounty hunter. His talent is finding people, due to a very sensitive nose. He sets out to find a child and on that hunt he'll end up having to save a whole town, save a witch and try to get rid of a VBP (very bad person).

Devon Monk writes excellent urban fantasy, and now she shows that she manages the style of steam punk as well. The book is full of action and is quite an entertaining book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fabulous book, I just wish the cover hinted at more of the fantasy elements.

Cedar Hunt has been cursed with lycanthropy (werewolf). After the grief of his brother's death leaves him wandering the west, working as a gun for hire, he stumbles into a sleepy western town where supernatural "Strange" beings have kidnapped a young boy.

Not so much steampunk as fantasy with a steampunk twist. It's a great read, especially for urban fantasy fans, as it has that urban fantasy spunkiness. (There is more steampunk in the next book)

Highly recommend. Give it a shot.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read the 'taster' for this book at the end of one of the Allie Beckstrom ebooks. But there is no way on earth that I'm going to pay £8 plus for it on Kindle. Especially when the mass market paperback is £4 plus. Shame, I was quite looking forward to reading it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Magical fantasy masquerading as Steampunk 18 Sept. 2011
By LoneStarReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Based on the front cover art of a man wearing goggles and carrying a gun-that-never-was, I expected Dead Iron to be a rip roaring, action-packed thrill ride of a steampunk novel. Instead, it's a slow, actionless fantasy that puts on a steampunk costume to pay dress up.

I am okay with a little magic in steampunk. Hey, we're re-imaging history here. What's a few magical elements among friends. However, the key word is 'few'. When the magic overwhelms the steakpunkiness, the book ceases to be steampunk and is an everyday fantasy with a few machines throw in.

Dead Iron is not a badly written book. In fact, much of the prose boarders on beautiful. What it isn't is a book that lives up to the promises made by the front cover artwork or the back cover blurb. The story takes way too long to get started and lacks the tension necessary to encourage readers to keep turning pages. Also, there is too much detail about too many characters. All resulting in a book that meanders aimlessly.

If you're a reader who enjoys magical fantasy, you might like this book.

If you're a steampunk purist, you probably won't like this book.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suffers from a slow start and some crucial missing backstory pieces, but once the story got going, it was full steam ahead 6 July 2011
By AJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
America was built on blood, sweat, and gears. Is that not the best tagline ever? It's also a pretty apt description for the story in DEAD IRON. The steam age America that Monk has created for this series is ingenious. The details of this world are revealed layer by layer until the whole setting is laid out is a glorious magic meets machine old West. Specifically the gadgets in DEAD IRON are magnificent both in conception and description, couple that with a motely crew of noble and nefarious characters and the result is a lovingly crafted world that needs just a bit of tinkering to really shine.

The story in DEAD IRON is told through several different point of views, all of them a little Strange. There's the main character from the description, a werewolf plagued with guilt; a witch desperate to avenge her husband's murder; a displaced girl who longs to escape her small town life; a man who manages to nearly elude death; and the Strangest of them all, the villain who ties them all together.

The first hundred pages or so are a bit sleepy, despite the lovely writing. It takes a while for the gears to really start turning in this story and all the various POVs to make sense together. I also had a few issues with the backstory, or lack there of. There are so many key incidents that are referred to repeatedly throughout DEAD IRON but only vaguely. The result felt many times like I was reading the second book in the series even though this is the first book. It's unfortunate because I think that had Monk explained exactly what had happened with Cedar and his brother and the villain and his brother (the most glaring examples) their motivations would have been so much stronger. As it is, I'm left feeling ignorant and not a little frustrated.

Overall, DEAD IRON suffers from a slow start and some crucial missing backstory pieces, but once the story got going, it was full steam ahead. The old west world is harsh and beautiful and the steam devices plentiful and fascinating. Monk's writing is quite beautiful as well. The next book in the Age of Steam series should be published in 2012.

Sexual Content:
Kissing. References to rape
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Through a glass darkly 9 July 2011
By Macawesome - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book combines story of the railroad coming through the small western towns and changing the landscape with a world filled with the magic and matics. The magic is supernatural beings - both benign and evil, and matics are steam and 'glim' based machines (automatics).

But, everything moves slowly - the plot plods, the supporting cast are cardboard and one-dimensional until the end, there is constant reference to matics and pipes and copper and the Strange over and over and over again. And the motivations kept being restated over and over and over again. I get it. It's a new world. Folks have things they need to do. Bad guys do bad things because they're bad. Stop hitting me over the head with it!

For me, this book was a tough read. It was like walking through the mud and having to do heavy lifting just to keep moving forward. Or, like trying to keep walking on those really humid days where the air feels like it is coalescing around you.

I slogged through the book, but it was a slog, rather than a joyful read. I usually have trouble putting a book down, but this one I could easily put aside and go back to work at the end of my lunch hour. I finished it because I should, and because I decided to review it and the author deserves my review to at least be based on completing the full book so that it had a chance to redeem itself. The book may have captured me with a slow slog, but it didn't captivate or sparkle or bewitch.

I'd probably only give it 2.5 stars, but I'll be generous and round up to 3 because maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but slow 27 Aug. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was pretty excited to start this book. I liked that the author set the story in a Western environment and that the back cover indicated that the main character would be a guy. I've been trying to read more books with guys as the main character. They're not quite as easy to find in my genres of choice as I would have first assumed. But this book surprised me. To me, Cedar Hunt was not the main character. In reality, there were multiple main characters. Cedar Hunt was not given any more page time than them, and I was disappointed that I was never able to sink into his character and get to know him well.

In my opinion (based on time spent in POV sections) there were at least three main characters. Cedar Hunt, a cursed man who's determined to hunt for a missing boy, Mae Lindson, a grieving widow out for revenge, and Shard LeFel, the man at the center of all the unrest in the area. In addition to cycling through those main POVs, we also spent time in the heads of multiple other characters. Because of this, I never became substantially invested in any of the characters. I felt a distinct lack of depth, despite finding the plot intriguing.

I found the storyline fascinating, although after finishing the book I find myself with a lot of unanswered questions. Being that this is a series, it's possible that the author wants to dole those answers out slowly, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. The mix of magic and Steampunk worked very well together. Curses, magic, werewolves, zombies, and the Strange...they were all fascinating. And occasionally really creepy! Mr. Shunt and his freaky ability to stitch himself back together gave me the shivers.

I thought Mae's storyline about her murdered husband was very tragic. Seeing Jeb's POV gave their bond a particular poignancy. I think that's why I resented the author's subtle attempts to set the foundation for a future relationship between her and Cedar. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't in your face and there's no actual romance in this book, but the author would throw in a little bit of lingering eye contact and subtle attraction that irritated me. Her husband died two days ago and they had such a soul deep bond that he was forced to be killed multiple times because the bond was so strong it pulled him from death. Trying to forge the seeds of a connection with another man while her husband is barely cold seemed a smack in the face to the bond that they shared.

My favorite characters were Rose Small and the Madder brothers. The Madder brothers were so fierce and wild and a little creepy. Their ability to pop up at just the right time and their habit of bargaining for favors made me intensely curious about what they are. The hints we were given about their connection to LeFel's home just intensified that. And the way they shake hands--what's up with that? Rose was impossible not to like. She was stuck in a life where she was unappreciated and thought a little mad. Watching her open herself to other people like herself was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Although the storyline takes place over a very short amount of time it never felt rushed. It actually felt a little bit slow at times. I'm interested in seeing where the author takes the characters in the second book. My only hope is that she gives her characters a little more depth. While I liked the book it felt more like I was watching a movie play out rather than immersing myself in a book.

Favorite Quote:

"Now, isn't that a pretty thought? Forks of silver, spoons of moonlight. What do you suppose your knives should be made of, Mr. Hunt? Tears?"

Cedar cocked the hammer back on the Walker and aimed it at Alun's head. "Don't know about my knives, but my gun's made of pain."

Review originally posted on Fiction Vixen.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and Predictable 16 Sept. 2012
By Gustav - Published on Amazon.com
Dead Iron is a disappointing novella. Devon Monk brings to us very little that could be considered original. Everything is less than it should be -- with flat characters, a paint-by-numbers plot, and a barely-realized setting.

The characters are two-dimensional cut-outs of the standard Old West archetypes, with very little motivation beyond "he done me wrong." The protagonist is your standard loner bounty hunter (and a werewolf) that fled to the west to escape his past. The secondary protagonist is a reformed witch who fled to the west to escape her past. The villain is a railroad tycoon, and of course in the western setting this makes him the automatic badguy for bringing prosperity, culture, and technology to the wild west -- and he's also some sort of evil elf who was banished to Earth for crimes against the Crown. There is nothing more to these characters, no further facets of their personalities. Whenever there's a quiet time for self reflection, the author just repeats these factoids in slightly different wording. The author doesn't bother to actually go into any detail about any of the characters' pasts, however. There's also three brothers who are miner-wizards and their only purpose is to be mysterious and give away plot coupons.

The plot is very superficial. A child goes missing, and the hero sort of meanders about in a general sort of way, thinking about searching for the kid but not actually doing anything about it until halfway into the book. The witch heroine finds out her husband has been murdered, and eventually decides to find the killer and get some old-west revenge on him. The villain has his own viewpoint chapters, where he smugly gloats about his superiority over all other life on the planet, and giggles over how he has all the plot coupons needed to end the world. Seriously, this is the villain's only motivation -- become immortal and kill all life on the planet out of spite. There's two other character viewpoint sub-plots, but they don't really do much beyond fill time between weak cliff-hangers. There's a macguffin that is introduced, and a big neon sign is hung over it saying "This Device of Doom is going to be broken apart into separate components and scattered across the nation, for the heroes to eventually recover over the course of several sequels."

The only saving grace in this book is that it isn't grim-dark like a large portion of other steampunk novels. However, the steampunk setting isn't very well realized. The description of the land and town is brief and vague, perhaps hoping that the reader has seen or read about western towns and wilderness in other media. The steam-powered and clockwork devices that are usually showcased in these types of books aren't really shown or described, or put to use. The author merely says they're in the town and at the railroad work site, but doesn't actually say anything about them. There's some magic-powered killer robots, but their appearances are brief and there's very little detail.

All in all the book feels like an overly long prologue, to set up the series' story-arc of gathering together all the parts of the Device of Doom. The last chapter almost outright says that the real plot will take place in the sequels. If the author had cut away the pointless extra subplots and used that extra space to give the characters and setting more depth, this might have been worth reading. I do not recommend spending money on this -- if you can't find anything else in the steampunk western genre to read, find this at a library.
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