Monk has done it again! The second book in the Age of Steam series is as entertaining as the first. This skilled mashup of steel, steam, magic and the Wild West will appeal to Ilona Andrews fans. The addition of airships designed to prospect for glim (a powerful and rare substance that can power machines, grow crops and extend life) contributes to a masterful mix of elements. It is strongly recommended that you read the first book, Dead Iron, before you start this one, as book two picks up on quests and storylines left unresolved in the last adventure.
Cedar Hunt, bounty hunter, shapeshifter and magic tracker, has made several conflicting promises. He has promised to get Mae back to her coven so they can break the spell binding Mae and driving her mad — a spell cast by the coven. He has promised the Madder brothers that he will help them find the Holder, a mysterious magical weapon that could destroy mankind. He is also trying to shield his brother, tortured so long that he can no longer change from wolf to human. And Cedar is also trying to protect Rose, who, while proficient at devising and controlling steam objects, is still young and innocent. The world seems to conspire against Cedar, as one encounter after another makes keeping his word ever more difficult and complicated. Drawn into air battles and rebellions, navigating betrayals and undead monsters, Cedar is determined to do right by the people he cares for. (ROC, Jul., 384 pp., $ 15.00)