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Dead Iron: The Age of Steam Paperback – July 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: The Age of Steam (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Trade; 1 edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045146396X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451463968
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By LoneStarReader on September 18, 2011
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.
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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.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Macawesome on July 8, 2011
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 27, 2011
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.
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