Jul 5, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 17 Comments

Review plus Giveaway: Dead Iron by Devon Monk (Age of Steam #1)

July 5 2011
Trade Paperback
352 pages
Roc Publishing
Received from publisher

From Goodreads
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…


When I think of Steampunk, I think of Victorian England, men in waist coats and crazy spectacles, women in corsets and steel boots.  Why do I think this?  Because that is the only type of Steampunk I have read really.  And because I had never read anything other, that is what Steampunk was to me.  But all that has changed now that I read Dead Iron by Devon Monk.

Dead Iron is the first book in Devon’s Age of Steam series.  It takes place in America during the pioneer days.  No corsets here.  Just mobs that go after witches and praying if people think you’re crazy.  And I for one loved the change in scenery and the feel of this book.  And I found it to be just enough steampunk.  What I mean by that is I didn’t find it overpowered the story, as steampunk often does.

If you notice, I didn’t write a ‘yummy man’ and ‘kick ass chick’ at the beginning of this post.  That’s because the way this book is written, there is no single hero and heroine, and there really isn’t a love connection in this book either.  There are many little stories in one book and all of these stories intertwine to give you one big story.  It never feels muffled.  If never feels forced.  Even though it takes at least 60 pages to know enough about each character to see where their part of the story is headed, you never feel lost or confused.

I really enjoyed Cedar.  Out of all of the characters, he may have been my favorite (he’s on the cover).  After ‘knowing him’ just a short while, you want him to have a happy life.  He really does deserve one.  But there is also Mae.  She may actually be my favorite.  Her story is heart-wrenching and her love for Jeb… I cried at the end, it was so sad yet beautiful.  Then again, I really did like Rose…and the Madden brothers…  There are so many wonderfully written characters in this story, and each one receives the attention they deserve.  Each gets enough page time that you end up caring about them.  Even the villain gets a nice amount of story time.  But you don’t root for him.  He’s slime and deserves bad things like ingrown toenails.

Even though Steampunk is not my most favorite genre, I gave Dead Iron a try because it was written by Devon.  And I’m glad I did.  The characters are really well done, but the highlight for me was the writing.  Devon wrote this book beautifully.  I don’t know of many authors who could have pulled of writing so many plot lines without jumbling them all up.  The descriptions were perfect – not too wordy or confusing.  And when creating a Steampunk world inside a reader’s mind, the description is key.  In this book, it is very visual.

The only reason I rated this book the way I did is because, as I’ve mentioned, Steampunk is not my most favorite genre.  And even though the writing was wonderful, I don’t see myself reading this book again someday.  But it is definitely worth a try if you are in the mood to read something different and well done.

3 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

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


Cedar felt along the left side of his eye and up to a lump and a cut at the edge of his hairline.  He sighed.  Bleeding and hungry had to be two of his least favorite ways to start a day.


Giveaway!  I have a copy of Dead Iron to give away to one lucky commenter!  Simply leave a comment below and you’ll be entered.  Contest open to Canada and U.S. only and you have until Tuesday July 12th 2011 11:59pm to leave your comment.  Good luck!

  1. this seems to be my kind of game.
    but not open to my area. 🙁

  2. I love Devon Monk and thanks to Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate and Meljean Brook’s Iron Duke, I’m starting to enjoy steampunk as well. Looking forward to this book!

  3. Tina Dudley says:

    I so want to read this! I loved Moira Roger’s western steampunk ebook and this looks similar (although probably not steamy like Rogers’) I have heard mixed reviews about it but it sounds more my thing than the Victorian Series (drawing blank at last name but Gail B?).

  4. Ohh I loved the Becstrom series, cannot wait to read some IRON!

  5. This looks great. I cannot wait to see hoe Devon Monk branched out from the Magic series with Dead Iron.

  6. This one sounds good. I love Devon’s work! Count me in please!

  7. I like steampunk so for me it worked 😀

  8. Joslynn says:

    I love Devon Monk so I cannot wait to read this:)Thanks for the contest!

  9. Jennifer E says:

    I enjoy a good steampunk novel. My favorite is The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith. I want to check out Dead Iron too.

  10. I have a really hard time reading steampunk, but I’m currently reading The Iron Duke and I’m liking it. lol Maybe I’ll give Dead Iron a try.

  11. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this, but I do like steampunk so I’d love to give it a try.

  12. I have read several reviews recently about this book and I’m glad you gave it a try and it wasn’t a complete waste of your time. I have never read anything Steampunk…I still don’t completely understand what the genre is but I’m up for giving it a try. 🙂

  13. Julie Witt says:

    I really, really want to read this book! I’ve been following the tour and trying really hard to win a copy! Thanks for an awesome giveaway:)

  14. I love Steampunk and this book sounds great. I’m in the States so I can participate in the Giveaway! YAY!

    Julie, you are hilarious, your creativity amazes me… “He’s slime and deserves bad things like ingrown toenails.” LMAO

    Great review!

  15. Yay, a giveaway! This sounds like an interesting book. I’ll have to add it to my TBR list.

  16. whitewolfreads says:

    I can’t wait to read Dead Iron. I’m really starting to get into the steampunk genre and I love Devon Monk so I’m really exited to see what Dead Iron has in store.

  17. MichelleKCanada says:

    I’ve never read a Steampunk book yet. Can you count me in for the contest?

    another_look_book_reviews at hotmail dot ca

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