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Dead Iron: The Age of Steam (Cedar Hunt) (edition 2011)

by Devon Monk

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2441447,176 (3.62)15
Member:BookishBrunette
Title:Dead Iron: The Age of Steam (Cedar Hunt)
Authors:Devon Monk
Info:Roc Trade (2011), Paperback, 352 pages
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Dead Iron by Devon Monk

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Very interesting, first in a series - will def. look for the follow-ups. ( )
  amobogio | Oct 28, 2013 |
Dead Iron falls into the category of paranormal steampunk. I really looked forward to this book when I saw that it was chosen as the book of the month by one of my Goodreads reading groups; however, that excitement quickly turned to dust, and I found myself looking for anything to do other than reading this book. How do you know when a book is bad? When you find yourself thinking after reading a few pages, hnmmmm I suddenly have a desire to clean the kitchen, or a do a load of laundry. Yes, housework is more amusing than this book.

One of the major faults with Monk's work is how convoluted the story is. First we have a werewolf named Cedar Hunt, who is considered an outsider in the small Oregon town of Hallelujah. He has moved to Hallelujah in an attempt to forget his past. Hunt believes that he killed his brother, one night when the wolf's blood lust blocked out his ability to reason. His wife and child are also dead. Out of the blue, Rose Small, the General Store owner's adopted daughter tells him about a missing child named Elbert Gregor, and he decides to hunt him down. Because Rose has told him that she believes that the boogeyman took the child, he decides to pay a visit to the Madder brothers, who seem to have a special skill working with stone. Even though he has no connection with this child, he is willing to owe the Madders a favor in order to secure their help.

If that were not bad enough, we learn that Hunt is a werewolf because he was cursed. When asked what he had done to cause a God to be angry enough to curse him he said, "I walked on the wrong land. Pawnee land. I did no harm other than to be under the wrong go's scrutiny." (pg. 193) He then goes on to say, "Told me there were Strange rising in the land. Told me I was to hunt them. Kill them." Okay, keep in mind that this is the 1800's, and that White settlers and the government are busy slaughtering, raping, and starving Native Americans. It is absolutely problematic that the only time First Nations people are mentioned, is for one of them to choose a White man as their champion. Has Monk ever read a history book or had an actual conversation with a First Nations person? Somehow I doubt it.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
Dead Iron falls into the category of paranormal steampunk. I really looked forward to this book when I saw that it was chosen as the book of the month by one of my Goodreads reading groups; however, that excitement quickly turned to dust, and I found myself looking for anything to do other than reading this book. How do you know when a book is bad? When you find yourself thinking after reading a few pages, hnmmmm I suddenly have a desire to clean the kitchen, or a do a load of laundry. Yes, housework is more amusing than this book.

One of the major faults with Monk's work is how convoluted the story is. First we have a werewolf named Cedar Hunt, who is considered an outsider in the small Oregon town of Hallelujah. He has moved to Hallelujah in an attempt to forget his past. Hunt believes that he killed his brother, one night when the wolf's blood lust blocked out his ability to reason. His wife and child are also dead. Out of the blue, Rose Small, the General Store owner's adopted daughter tells him about a missing child named Elbert Gregor, and he decides to hunt him down. Because Rose has told him that she believes that the boogeyman took the child, he decides to pay a visit to the Madder brothers, who seem to have a special skill working with stone. Even though he has no connection with this child, he is willing to owe the Madders a favor in order to secure their help.

If that were not bad enough, we learn that Hunt is a werewolf because he was cursed. When asked what he had done to cause a God to be angry enough to curse him he said, "I walked on the wrong land. Pawnee land. I did no harm other than to be under the wrong go's scrutiny." (pg. 193) He then goes on to say, "Told me there were Strange rising in the land. Told me I was to hunt them. Kill them." Okay, keep in mind that this is the 1800's, and that White settlers and the government are busy slaughtering, raping, and starving Native Americans. It is absolutely problematic that the only time First Nations people are mentioned, is for one of them to choose a White man as their champion. Has Monk ever read a history book or had an actual conversation with a First Nations person? Somehow I doubt it.

Read more ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Cedar Hunt is a tortured man cursed as a werewolf. He is on the run in the American West just as steam machines are becoming commonplace. He finds himself in Hallelujah where Shard LeFel plans to bring the railroad as well as the demise of humanity. To stop LeFell will require Cedar to team with several other characters: the Madder borthers, Rose Small, and Mae Lindson, they find themselves in a final showdown between good and evil.
As the first book in a trilogy, I found the start a bit slow as each ensemble character was introduced. However, the later half of the book moves much more quickly. ( )
  4leschats | Mar 20, 2013 |
Dead Iron has glints of promise, but large parts of the book feel like a calculated marketing exercise. The formulaic elements in plot, characterisation, and world-building excludes demanding readers from enjoying the book, and left me somewhat indifferent.

Cedar Hunt is hiding out in rural Oregon, and chaining himself up every full moon when he turns into a mindless wolf. But his misanthropic lifestyle gets a shake up when his gifts - and curse - are needed to rescue a missing child.

The story of Dead Iron is almost aggressively stock. Handsome, tortured protagonist; moustache-twirling villain; beautiful, newly-single woman. There's even a MacGuffin in the form of an apocalyptic device set to go off in exactly three days. The coincidences - all the right people being in a tiny frontier town, the arbitrary time limit, the miraculous arrival of Cedar's brother - start to pile up.

The world itself has a bit more, but not enough originality. Monk has fused a Western setting with steampunk - devisers and steam-driven creatures contend with more typical magic. Again, I felt a much of this was rote; Monk goes out of her way to point out the cogs and clockwork on *absolutely everything* - whether it has some kind of steampunk function or no.

I'm not overly familiar with the genre, so I don't know if this is a regular thing - I found it annoying and it broke me out of the book more than once. It was much more effectively executed in M.K Hobson's The Native Star - a similar book that's better on just about every count.

This is not to say that Dead Iron is terrible - it's not. It's just quite average. If there's a genre standard or a stock way of doing things, Monk seems to prefer taking that route rather than anything original, confident in the knowledge that a dedicated base of people will buy - and enjoy - anything to do with steampunk.

It's a shame because many of her characters - and more than a few ideas here and there - are interesting and original, but the plot is older than the dark magics threatening to destroy everyone, and the needless valves and pumps start to wear a man down. ( )
  patrickgarson | Mar 18, 2013 |
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Cedar had stared straight into the killing eyes of rabid wolves, hungry bears,ans a charging bull elk, but Mrs. Horace Small had them all topped.
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"Welcome to a new America that is built on blood, sweat, and gears... 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.."--… (more)

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