A man with a curse. A frontier town full of suspicious people that reluctantly tolerates him. A railroad baron that is much stranger than he seems. A beautiful witch. Her dead husband out for revenge. Three silver miners with odd contraptions and even odder secrets. Magic twines around the gritty gears that drive Dead Iron by Devon Monk.
The world is certainly different from anything I’ve seen before, and at first the supernatural elements seemed a little jarring. There’s a portion of chapter three where things become entirely unfamiliar and seem almost unsupported by the story up to that point. Yet, with a little more explanation, things do fall into place, and after chapter four, the story gets a lot better. I won’t spoil it, because it is definitely worth discovering on your own, especially when there’s an underground zipline involved.
I was saddened to find a handful of typos and nonsensical sentences sprinkled through the prose. It seems Ms. Monk’s editor was asleep on the job, and it really hurts the story.
I must say a few words about the awesomeness of the character Rose Small. She’s an unconventional foundling who, in my opinion, totally steals the show. She really shines by the climax, taking up arms in the defense of [spoiler redacted]. I wish her mysterious past had been explained rather than just hinted at.
I give Dead Iron three and one half gears out of five. It was quite good, but could have used another tweaking to make it truly brilliant. Nonetheless, I highly recommend this book if you enjoy the dark and supernatural in your Steampunk.
Your Correspondent From The Bookstore,
Penny J. Merriweather