This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
by Devon Monk
Series: The Age of Steam #3
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Dead Iron, Tin Swift, Hell Bent, Magic to the Bone, Magic in the Blood, Magic in the Shadows, Magic on the Storm, Magic at the Gate, Magic on the Hunt, Magic on the Line, Magic Without Mercy, Stone Cold, Magic for a Price, House Immortal, Infinity Bell.
Third in The Age of Steam steampunk series for young adults set in the Old West and revolving around Cedar Hunt, a man under a Pawnee curse, and Rose Small, a deviser.
It’s a case of science fiction meets the paranormal with a dash of James Bond in the Old West. You can’t miss with this one.
It’s so odd that I adore Monk’s The Age of Steam series and her Allie Beckstrom series drove me nuts. Probably because Allie was such a stupid character, and I adore Rose Small and Cedar Hunt (he’s the primary of the two — and they’re not a couple!)
Rose is a woman after my own heart. She’s absolutely fascinated by how things work and itches to discover how the bunks hinge, what keeps the heat so even, putting a boiler together — with a few improvements, lol. Nor does she put up with a cheating, lying man! At least, not until she has all the facts and examines her heart.
That ice-faring “vessel” the Madders create is ingenious, as is the platform they have for the horses. It’s this and other adventures that make me think James Bond with Cage and Rose as Bond and Bondette as they sway, swing, and jump from one action to the next.
It’s a conflict of honor, of an old promise made for favors up against the Holder destroying the earth. And it’s a position which makes Cedar laugh, for the Madders are finally experiencing what it’s like to be forced. That won’t be the only time the Madders get thwarted either, lol.
I’ll be curious to learn more about Mr. Thomas Wicks. He’s something of a mystery, especially with the subtle hints Monk drops. What I don’t understand is his attitude toward Cage/Hinks. If he truly is who he claims he is, then what’s with his statements about the captain?
I’m also curious why this conglomeration of leaves and straw would tell Hunt to run, especially as I read further into the story. I suppose it could be those weapons the sheriff and his men are wielding that encourages this Strange to bargain. You can’t blame Hunt and his party for being very wary.
What does the VB stand for?
Woo, the tension at that breakfast table is running hot, like the coffee and bacon. Sums up Vosbrough’s character very quickly, and I can understand why the brothers wanted to avoid Des Moines. You can’t fault the Madders for their provocative calm and bored insults. It only made me laugh and wonder how they were gonna get outta this one.
I don’t get these former members of Kyne’s congregation. There’s one woman who was a child with John, and as soon as his father died, she stopped going to the church. Then her kid goes missing, and all of a sudden, John is acceptable again when she goes to beg him for help. WTF?
Opportunities to circumvent the Pawnee curse crop up in here. It’s a balance in switching the burden from one person to another, several times.
And why oh why didn’t Rose keep a better eye on that clockwork dragonfly?
It’s bad news all around as a blizzard is holding up the group searching for the Holder: Cedar, Wil, Mae, Miss Dupuis, and the Madders. They’ll die if they don’t find shelter soon, and the Madders are refusing to consider Des Moines, the closest place they can shelter.
It’s Des Moines that will determine their immediate fate, for the Madders have a promise to fulfill and dozens of children to find while the Guard has a wary curiosity about why “one of the richest families in the country” is interested in such a well-located city.
Meanwhile, Rose is ready to kill. That no-good, cheating, low-life Captain Lee Hink has been playing her for a fool while she’s been busy repairing his ship.
It’s glim-worked metal that will be the danger.
Cedar Hunt is an educated man, a university teacher who lost his wife and child. A man with a Pawnee curse that forces him to pursue the Strange. His brother, Wil, is also cursed but in the opposite “direction”. He’s a wolf until the full moon when he turns human, unlike Cedar who turns wolf at the full moon. Cedar is in love with Mae Rowan-Lindson, a witch.
The inquisitive Rose Small is an orphan and a deviser to whom the plants used to talk. She’s in love with Marshal Paisley Cadwaller Hink Cage, a.k.a., Captain Lee Hink of the Swift whom we first met in Tin Swift, 2. Mr. Seldom is Hink’s second-in-command. Guffin swears in a number of languages, and Lum Ansell sings opera. The doves are part of Cage’s spy network.
The Madder brothers are Alun, Bryn, and Cadoc, all miners and devisers. They also have a prior acquaintance with Wicks.
Miss Sophie Dupuis is a very educated woman with a law degree, fortunately, and acquainted with the Madder brothers. She’s part of the Guard, a secretive group working to get rid of the Strange.
Thomas Wicks is an educated and polite man with an interest in Rose.
Father John Kyne was a young Indian boy when he was adopted by Lars Kyne to whose father, Holland Kyne, the Madders owed three favors. Now Kyne is a preacher in Des Moines.
Killian Vosbrough is the mayor. His family are the New York Vosbroughs, millionaires with a very bad reputation. Killian has a brother and a sister in Chicago and New York respectively. Hob and Sal are some of the men who work for him. Directly.
Lydia Daffin is the heiress to the Daffin Coal Company. Charles Evans Lowry is a real estate developer.
Sheriff Burchell, Deputy Greeley, and Mr. Peters (his daughter Florence is one of those taken) work as the town law enforcement. George Hensling claims that Father Kyne has gone nuts.
The previous mayor was Roy Atkinson. A man who refused to do immoral things.
Hays City, Kansas is…
…where Mae’s coven lives on their farm. Miss Adaline, Margaret, and Sarah are part of that coven. Sweet Annie’s Saloon is a bar and bordello. The elder Mr. Travis repairs watches. Miss Bucker runs a lending library. Mr. Davis is a tinker who gets drunk every evening.
Elbert Gregor (Dead Iron, 1) was the blacksmith’s son who had been kidnapped by Mr. Shunt whom Hunt killed in Tin Swift, 2. The Strange are “unholy creatures from myth and legend intent on killing good folk” who need to use our bodies to operate in our world. The Holder is a dangerous artifact that has been divided into seven pieces, and any one of those pieces could destroy our world.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a pale gray structural background with Cedar Hunt in his long brown duster, goggles pushed up on his head, his bandolier around his neck, his pistol in one hand, and a diving helmet lantern in the other. The title and author’s name are in copper, cold copper.
The title is all about a cursed metal, one that sends people mad if they touch it. Trust me, Cold Copper will kill you.