The Iron City is the industrial city at the heart of an empire ruled by the wealthy and the politically powerful. An urban dystopia where the poor and the disenfranchised are used for cheap labour.The rich elite plot and scheme amongst themselves, while one of their number plans something terrible, and aims to use the rebel faction of idealistic freedom fighters known as the Fist of Truth as a pawn in his scheme. Meanwhile, a young man inadvertently steals an item which may bring those plans tumbling down. In the run-down slums of the Skein, one woman will lead the Fist in a daring plan to rescue their leader, and in so doing, set up a confrontation which will have long lasting implications for the entire city.
Iron City Rebels was my first forage into the genre of Steam Punk, which (according to Mr. Google), has a Victorian England ‘feel’ to it, and has an emphasis on steam as the main source of power.
This book certainly en-captured both of these elements. The first chapter is very ‘Victorian,’ as a couple of tea-leaves (thieves) are in the process of breaking into a house. The inequality between the rich and the poor is established clear early on, as is the Steam Punk element, and the reader is introduced to the ‘world’ of the Iron City Rebels at a steady pace.
I have to say, I was totally engaged with this book from the first page. It was a fascinating introduction into a genre I’d only heard about before now. I was a little confused with a certain ‘gadget’, but Donlan is quick to dispel this confusion as further information about its workings are revealed in later chapters (and it is a rather a remarkable gadget, I might mention).
The editing is of a very high standard. There were a few typos here and there, (I stress the few), but certainly nothing to jar you from the story.
In my opinion, Iron City Rebels is an excellent debut novel, well worth a read, and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.