There are two reasons I decided to review Devon Monk’s steampunk adventure novel Tin Swift, book 2 of the Age of Steam series, rather than book 1. First, I was instantly addicted to these books and flew through them. Second, while they both have special places in my hearts and had me literally asking for more,Tin Swift is by far my absolute favourite. It was just so much fun! Exciting, romantic, suspenseful, intense, creepy, and just so damn good, that it nearly kept me up at night. While I can’t recommend the series highly enough, if you’re only looking to get one book in the series (all the books hold up as standalones, though seriously, why would you want to stop at just one?), make it Tin Swift. Since this is book 2 in the series, there will be some minor spoilers below.
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 once thought lost.
Keeping his companions alive is proving to be no easy task, in part because of the 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 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 glimmer of a growing war stirring the country. To keep his word Cedar must navigate betrayal, lies, and treacherous alliances, risking everything to save the lives of those he has come to hold dear…
So good. SO. GOOD. I really liked the first book, with its unique take on steampunk in the American West, as well as supernatural elements commonly found in urban fantasy, the genre Monk is best known for. While I loved the combination of those elements in book 1, Dead Iron, I was able to predict a fair amount of the story. It didn’t take away from the experience at all and I still loved Dead Iron, but it’s always better when you have no idea what is going to happen next. Enter, Tin Swift, my new favourite airship.
The story opened intensely and kept up a fantastic pace until the explosive ending. This story was steampunk at its heart with daring chases, rescues, constant peril, romance, and an ending that honestly kept me up at night. I couldn’t have put it down if I wanted to. Series regulars characters like Cedar Hunt, a cursed man carrying a heavy burden, Mae a widowed witch slowly going mad under her own burden, Rose a curious tinkerer with an insatiable curios streak, and the Madder brothers, an obsessive trio who are full of quirks (and who may not be entirely human) returned, and we were introduced to new characters like Captain Hink, who is my absolute favourite airship captain EVER. Everything you want in a captain, he’s got it: Swagger, bravery, kindness, sarcasm, devastating good looks, and so much heart. Then there were the villains, who were beyond devious and evil. Terrifying and fantastic to read about.
The story took a slow point just past the halfway mark, but I was still immersed because it was filled with passion, tenderness, and built to a battle of epic proportions. I felt like I was right there with the characters. There’s so much uniqueness to this book and this series in general. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys supernatural steampunk adventures with daring airship captains. Do not miss out on this spectacular adventure!