Review: Tin Swift by Devon Monk

Posted July 11, 2012 by B. in 4.5 stars, Rating A, Steampunk Fiction Tags: , , ,

Tin Swift
Author: Devon Monk 
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Roc Trade
Age Of Steam Series Book 2
ISBN: #978-0451464538
Genre: Steampunk Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley 
About the book:
In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle to claim the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, one man fights to hold on to his humanity—and his honor…
Life on the frontier is full of deceit and danger, but bounty hunter Cedar Hunt is a man whose word is his bond. Cursed with becoming a beast every full moon, Cedar once believed his destiny was to be alone. But now, Cedar finds himself saddled with a group of refugees, including the brother he thought he lost.
Keeping his companions alive is proving to be no easy task, in part because of a promise he made to the unpredictable Madder brothers—three miners who know the secret mechanisms of the Strange. To fulfill his pledge, Cedar must hunt for a powerful weapon known as the Holder—a search that takes him deep into the savage underbelly of the young country and high into the killing glim-field skies defended by desperate men and deadly ships.
But the battles he faces are just a hint of a growing war stirring the country. To keep his word, Cedar must navigate betrayal, lies, and treacherous alliances…and risk everything to save the lives of those he has come to hold dear.
What B is talking about:
Cedar Hunt is a man divided. And in more ways than one. Bearing a curse that makes him hunger for the destruction of the Strange, he is sometimes more beast than man himself. Bound by his word and heart to a band of outcasts whose kind inclinations put them at risk in a harsh land that will do nothing but punish them for it, he finds himself a reluctant soldier in a war against evil made flesh—or at least evil in the form of a walking nightmare with saw blade teeth and a dragonfly heart.
From the opening scene, it’s clear that Tin Swift isn’t going to be a gentle read. Ms. Monk has crafted a world filled with vengeance and blood, where profit sometimes outweighs survival, and second chances don’t exist. It is a novel filled with chases and explosions, shirt-twisting tension, and near misses. There’s a lot going on in this story, but I was so engrossed that following along wasn’t a problem. While not a horror story, there were some especially disturbing moments, which, surprisingly, made Tin Swift even harder to put down.
Tin Swift also boasts an entire cast of wonderful characters. Cedar and his companions are all fascinating, troubled, and determined, and I couldn’t help but be drawn into their struggles. I truly worried for them all, and breathed a sigh of relief whenever luck was on their side. Even the bad guys are vivid incarnations, their darkness a stark contrast to the life our band of heroes is fighting so hard for. Mr. Shunt, Cedar’s nemesis, is pure evil, and one of the most horrific examples of it I’ve ever read, making Cedar’s loathing of him something I was able to feel right along with him.
Although Tin Swift is a story steeped in conflict and loss, Ms. Monk expertly bridges the darkness her characters must face with a sweet kind of hope that they are able to appreciate as only those who have survived to face another day can. Cedar and his companions are at war, and they all know well that loss is sometimes inevitable. But, they’ve also learned that after the mourning is done, there’s still living to do, and if you’re lucky enough to find happiness along the way, you hold on to it as tight as you can. Though I wouldn’t have thought so, I’m absolutely hooked on this series, and cannot wait to root for Cedar and his companions again and again.
Bs Rating:

Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)

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