Book Review: Dead Iron

Monk combines a gritty western with gear-driven Steampunk, shapeshifters and magic for her latest series starring Cedar Hunt, a man cursed with lycanthropy by a Pawnee god. Carrying a load of guilt for the death of his brother Will, Cedar is a hunter and his latest quest is a small boy kidnapped from his bed in the small western town of Hallelujah by something from the Strange. For Hallelujah, the coming railroad will be a lifeline to the outside world but for Mr. Shard Le Fel, building the rail line is simply a means of achieving his ultimate goal of escaping mortality. With his creepy servant Mr. Shunt, Le Fel sets his elaborate scheme involving a dreamer, a powerful earth witch, and a wolf into motion. Cedar, a young woman, three brothers and a dead man may be the only ones standing between Le Fel and the end of the world as they know it.

First of a new series, this inventive story revolving around magics and a new railroad has enough action and odd characters to keep even the most jaded reader happy. The antagonists are suitably dark, devious characters who provide an excellent challenge to the cast of protagonists out to save the town despite itself. There is definitely more to the Madder brothers then meets the eye but then, that’s true of most of the fascinating characters in this fast paced, vividly imagined book.

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