Tin Swift by Devon Monk
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Another 5-star Roller Coaster Ride from Devon Monk! Is Tin Swift great literature? Nah. But is it a whole lotta fun, written well, developed well, and filled with excitement, cover to cover? Yep! If anything, Tin Swift is even better than the first book of this series, Dead Iron, so it gets a full 5 stars from me for pure entertainment value.
Again, the setting is an alternate steampunk version of America and the westward expansion, as it never was, of course, but as it is cleverly re-imagined to have been. The book begins with the same group of players from Dead Iron, on their journey to take the witch, Mae, back to her coven who are calling (forcing) her home through some pretty wicked mind games that nearly destroy her. This doesn’t sit well with our hero, Cedar Hunt, who is definitely sweet on Mae. And their journey is made even harder by the evil Mr. Shunt, who has managed to pull himself back together–literally, with needle and thread–in order to chase them down and wreak havoc at every turn. (Did I mention that Mr. Shunt is one of the scariest Bad Guys I’ve ever read about? Geesh, he makes me shiver!)
Battles and drama ensue, and new characters are introduced, all with a flair for pulling readers into this world. Devon Monk has a way with words that I really enjoy. She often uses very elegant phrasing to describe the most ordinary of things. Height: “Hink scraped up a full six foot, three inches, and had shoulders that took the sides off doorways if he wasn’t mindful.” Daybreak: “Dawn had taken the bruise off the night…” The sky: “Morning had chalked clouds across the sky.” I purely love unexpected phrases of this nature, so the book gets an extra point for that style of writing alone.
If you are only familiar with Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, you might be very surprised with this one. I read the first Beckstrom book and was pretty much “Meh,” about it, myself, though it seems to have a very big following. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t think the book was bad, or anything. More that it was something I just wasn’t compelled to pursue, and there were a few things in it really annoyed me, though that was more to do with the premise of the book and rules regulating magic, than poor writing. The Age of Steam series, however, shows a completely different side of Monk’s writing skills. Her voice is stronger, her prose more eloquent, and the excitement and pacing much, much better. At least in my opinion, which I get to express here, because hey…my blog. 😉
If you want your rip-roaring adventures to coincide with some well-developed characters and thoughtful relationships, this series is loads of fun. I was so impressed with Dead Iron that I ordered Twin Swift and Cold Copper at the same time, and have just started the latter. When I finish that one, I suspect I’m going to be very antsy for the next in the series to be made available. The Age of Steam is completely addictive!
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