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Book Review: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

Dead Iron by Devin Monk

Title: Dead Iron

Author: Devon Monk

Series: Age of Steam

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Overview: 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…-Goodreads

The Review:

There’s really no other way to sum it up: Dead Iron was weird.

I’ve been dabbling in clockwork & steampunk lately, and Dead Iron comparatively did a great job creating a unique overall atmosphere in line with that theme. As a general rule, I don’t have a lot of patience with bizarre, but it was balanced enough here that I was still able to enjoy the story and appreciate the elements.

The story bounced around between several POVs, and while I liked all the characters, I struggled to find a real connection to any of them. Possibly because their personal conflicts were each so off the wall that it was impossible to focus on anything else (the side characters were even more odd). I needed at least one of them to have a relatable problem, then I would’ve been more invested.

That said, I liked the basic writing (on par with my limited but good experiences with Devon Monk), and appreciated how well the words flowed off the page. Regardless of my preferential issues with story components, the writing was good enough to solidify my resolve to read more from this author.

Overall, I’m left with a few more positive vibes than negatives, but I find myself not eager to dive into the next book (I think I’m worried I’ve seen everything it has to offer already and will just get bored with the rest of it). It was memorable enough that I don’t think I’ll forget key components or characters any time soon, so I might bump it back down the list and start a few others before continuing.

Recommendations: as I mentioned, if you like steampunk and clockwork, this is a great pick. Bonus points if you also like the Wild West, bizarre scenes, and an urban fantasy writing style. It perhaps might have been a bit too weird for my tastes, but if you’re really in the mood for something out of the box, here you go…

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Hell Bent by Devon Monk

16158553Title: Hell Bent

Author: Devon Monk

Series: Broken Magic #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: November 5, 2013

The Overview: Instead of the deadly force it once was, magic is now a useless novelty. But not for Shame Flynn and Terric Conley, “breakers” who have the gift for reverting magic back to its full-throttle power. In the magic-dense city of Portland, Oregon, keeping a low profile means keeping their gifts quiet. After three years of dealing with disgruntled magic users, Shame and Terric have had enough of politics, petty magic, and, frankly, each other. It’s time to call it quits.

When the government discovers the breakers’ secret—and its potential as a weapon—Shame and Terric suddenly become wanted men, the only ones who can stop the deadly gift from landing in the wrong hands. If only a pair of those wrong hands didn’t belong to a drop-dead-gorgeous assassin Shame is falling for as if it were the end of the world. And if he gets too close to her, it very well could be…

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Nik’s Notes:

Hosted by Breaking the Spine, Wednesday is the day to daydream about future releases. Since I’ve already featured all of my top upcoming releases (The Fiery Heart, Champion, Allegiant to name a few) I thought this week I would focus on a book that I am reasonably sure I would be excited for if I were caught up in the series. I love what I’ve read of Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, and the idea of a spinoff with of male protagonist has me very excited. Because it’s a spinoff, the rules of the world are already established, which means the author can jump right into the action of the story… it bodes well, I’m just saying.

 What book are you waiting on?

Niki’s Book Recommendations!

If you liked: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs…

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Then you might also like:

a1Title: Stray

Author: Rachel Vincent

Series: Shifters #1

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Shifters was an incredibly absorbing series that I can still remember vividly years later. The first books is weakest, but the rest of the series boasts great character development, world-building, and overall story. This is my first pick for fans of the Mercy series. (MA: sex and violence)

a2Title: Succubus Blues

Author: Richelle Mead

Series: Succubus #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Fiction

One of my favorite authors, the Succubus series will knock your socks off! Fantastic character-driven story that also manages to build an interesting magic system while following a great story-line. I read these back to back – I haven’t done that with a series since grade school! (MA: sex and language)

a4Title: Magic to the Bone

Author: Devon Monk

Series: Ally Beckstrom #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

This series has a strong concept and magic system, with a touch more grit than the mercy series. (MA: language (I think))

a7Title: Ill Wind

Author: Rachel Caine

Series: Weather Wardens #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

I picked these up after reading the author’s Morganville Vampire novels, and I have to say, it’s a highly original urban fantasy. For me, it had the same overall feel as the Mercy series.

a3Title: Dead Witch Walking

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: Rachel Morgan #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

I love Kim Harrison!!! She is quickly creeping up my list of all-time favorite authors. It’s the series as a whole that makes me feel this way, and I wasn’t totally on-board until a few novels in. Now I can’t put them down! The similarities to Mercy here are great characters, great writing, and similar genre. (MA: sex and violence) Read full review

a5Title: Grimspace

Author: Ann Aguirre

Series: Sirantha Jax #1

Genre: Science Fiction

I’m recommending this one because, even though its science fiction, it reads more like an urban fantasy. The characters made me incredibly nostalgic about Mercy, and it was one of the most entertaining series I’ve ever read. The world-building, at least in the first book, is probably its only flaw. (MA: Language/Sex/Violence) Read full review

a6Title: Full Moon Rising

Author: Keri Arthur

Series: Riley Jensen

Genre: Urban Fantasy

For the longest time, this was my favorite urban fantasy. I love the cast of characters, I love the plot, and I love how sexy it is. Definitely for mature audiences only (sex, language, and violence)

Coming Soon: Magic for a Price by Devon Monk

Title: “Magic for a Price”

Series: Allie Beckstrom #9

Author: Devon Monk

Release Date: November 6, 2012 Now Available!

Allie Beckstrom is one tough chick. I read the first book several years ago and really liked it, but somehow never got around to continuing the story (stupid college/homework). Anyway, this series has moved back to the top of my TBR list and I’m really looking forward to giving it the attention it deserves. Although I’m not very far along, I know this much – if you like Kim Harrison an Patricia Briggs, Devon Monk is right up your alley!

by Niki Hawkes