So I just finished Dead Iron by Devon Monk. I won it in a contest she had on her blog site (can I say thank you to her and to all the wonderful authors who offer up these contests for die hard fans). I am, admittedly, a fan girl of her Allie Beckstrom series. I have a serious thing for Zayvion Jones. And a minor thing for Shame and Terric. (I know Shame keeps saying he doesn't swing that way, but damn - for some reason I'm hoping he and Terric get it on - lol).
Anyway, Dead Iron is a fascinating book. I'm not even sure how to describe it...I think it needs it's own category....steampunk western horror sci-fi fantasy. It's a brilliant mix of all that and more.
The story revolves around a main character - Cedar. He's a man with a dark history. His wife and child are dead (tho we're not sure how) and he and his brother traveled west only to run into a Pawnee god who cursed them both. Cedar is forced to become a wolf for three nights during the full moon. His brother - well, Cedar woke up after his first change beside the dead body of a wolf. He's a tragic figure, our Cedar. His one mission - to kill the strange creatures that are wreaking havoc in our world.
Then there's Mae. Witch. Married to a black man. She is as isolated as Cedar, avoiding contact with people in town. Only Jeb, her husband, has gone missing and Mae wants answers as to why.
Next are the Madder brothers. Miners. Drunkards. But talented with gears. Who are they, really?
And Rose. Adopted daughter of the local merchantile owners. She's odd. Some say she's crazy. She wants out of the town that scorns her for her oddness.
They are all loners. (Well, the brothers are loners together.) They all see the world within our world - the world of the Strange. Gears and magic. If I were going to try to describe the creatures of the Strange, I would say a cross between evil unseelie fae, demons and steampunk robots.
They are all on a collision course with Shard Lefel - the railway man with a plan. A dark, evil plan. A violent plan. A plan that threatens to destroy everything. A plan that has already destroyed so much.
How do all of these characters come together? In a phenomenal, fast-paced, horrific, bloody, brilliant BRILLIANT manner. You see, the local blacksmith's son has gone missing, too. He's just a little boy and Cedar knows its something Strange that took him. Cedar intends to get him back. Only problem? It's full moon time. Oh, and the Madder brothers want something from him. And Mae wants his help, too, to find out who is keeping her husband from her.
Devon Monk creates a world that is beyond creative. It's downright genius. Dark, frightening, and filled with incredible potential. I'm being completely honest here when I say I'm not a fan of westerns. And while my house is decorated with steampunk, I've found a lot of steampunk books strangely tedious to read. Not this one. This one had me hooked almost instantly. And I can't wait to read more.
I give Dead Iron by Devon Monk the coveted 6 stars. Because it plain deserves the first 5 stars for its engrossing, intelligent, well devised characters, world and storyline. And it gets a bonus star for making me abandon everything to take my time reading and absorbing it. I LOVED it.