Cold Copper is the third book in Devon Monk’s steampunk series, Age of Steam. This is a series that I feel keeps getting better with each book as the readers learn more about this alternate American West and the fantastic characters that populate it. This is also a series that must be read in order or you’ll be lost, so fair warning, there may be spoilers ahead for the first two books in the series.
Cold Copper picks up pretty much where book 2, Dead Iron, left off. Cedar Hunt and his brother, Will, have teamed up (reluctantly) with the mysterious Madder brothers to help them hunt down the Holder. The Holder is a dangerous weapon that has been split into many pieces, and as luck would have it, Cedar and Will’s curse makes them the perfect candidates to track the pieces of the Holder. Accompanying the boys on this adventure is the witch and widow, Mae Linston – who is also Cedar’s lady love. Mae has been recently released from her coven and is enjoying her freedom. While the group is on their way to find the pieces of the Holder, they are drawn to the city, Des Moines, Iowa, because of a debt the Madders have to fulfill. Now the Madders and the Hunts have to discover why the children of the city have been disappearing and rescue them if they can, all the while a power hungry mayor tries to lock up the Madders and have them executed.
Alongside Cedar’s narrative, we also have Rose Small’s. Rose is a brilliant inventor who decided to stay behind with the witches’ coven to help repair Captain Hink’s airship. Rose can’t wait to see the world and hopes that being part of the crew of the airship will take her far and wide; it also helps that she’s in love with the captain. However, the captain’s been spending too much time in the local brothels and Rose is none to happy about that, so she decides to strike off on her own, only to find herself in heaps of trouble that looks to be leading her straight to her old friends in Des Moines.
This was another great addition to the Age of Steam series and I wish I could get my hands on the next book immediately. I felt like there was not enough answers to the questions raised in this one. Why can’t the author write faster??? Is that too much to ask?
As I wrote earlier, this is a series that gets better with each book. With each addition to the series I feel like I get a better understanding of not only the world, but the characters as well. Now, I’m a big fan of character driven type books, so I was initially not a lover of the first book; I felt it was too plot based and I wanted more character information. Luckily I decided to give the second book a shot and have not been disappointed with the direction of the series.
What I also find very interesting about Monk’s writing style is the alternative view points we get from characters. The only consistent person we hear from is Cedar. For the rest, we get characters from an alternate trajectory that eventually converges with Cedar’s narrative. At first I found this technique to be a bit strange and hard to follow, but I have come to appreciate this style and I like that the writing feels like a puzzle that will eventually fit together at the end.
Overall, I loved this newest addition, although I hope in the next book we get something from Will’s point of view. He’s an interesting character since his curse is the reverse of Cedars: he remains in wolf form and only returns as a human for short periods of time. I’m hoping that now Will’s in human form we’ll get more development from him since he seems like a cool and funny character (at least when he’s human). I’m also interested to see how the romantic relationships develop. Mae and Cedar seem like a solid and guaranteed thing (but who knows in the world of books), but I also find Rose and Hink’s relationship to be adorable. Looks like I’ll be waiting awhile for the next one!