What is it about Steampunk that pulls people in?
Is it the alternate history lines? The romance of Sky-pirates and forgotten chivalry? Those definitely make for one hell of a tale and they are all key elements in Iron Horsemen.
For me the little things stand out. Brad R. Cook did an excellent job of researching his characters and their broad thinking. The main character’s mundane schooling in numerous languages turns into a vital element in his role as a hero. This story has all the ingredients of a good coming of age tale and adds in a lot more flavor to give the reader not only a great escape, but also some ideals to mull over.
And best of all (I know I’m a sucker), there’s a stubborn young woman who doesn’t stick to traditional constraints for women of her age. She’s great and all, highly entertaining, but it’s her pet dragon that really captured me.
Writers who incorporate animals and pets into their stories seem to offer broader world building. I hate novels that never mention anything other than people and their struggles. The world isn’t just full of people, there are so many other creatures that to avoid placing them at least in the background seems absurd.
So many of us have pets and those who don’t still see birds in the sky, bugs flying through the air, raccoons and opossums rifling through the trash. And with fantasy and Steampunk especially the possibilities are endless.
The dragon in this story is made of bronze, but there is still that connection. Details like this make stories so much more enjoyable. The writing was pretty good, but it is the story itself that really drives this book.
The sequel Iron Zulu is out and available. I may have to pick it up soon.