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Iron & Blood

(Jake Desmet Adventures #1)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A Steampunk novel set in the fictional city of New Pittsburgh.

New Pittsburgh in 1898, a crucible of invention and intrigue, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, New Pittsburgh is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the city, sup
Paperback, 407 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Solaris (first published July 2nd 2015)
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Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

Iron & Blood is another genre blender story from Gail Z. Martin; this time with Larry Martin as co-author. The novel reads very much like a traditional murder mystery except that it is filled with magical creatures, ghosts, witches, zombies, steampunk airships, and tesla rays, and is set in the alternate history city of New Pittsburgh circa 1898.

The main protagonists of the tale are Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import C
Bob Milne
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
As alternate history adventures go, Iron & Blood was a heck of a lot of fun. There's a nice mix here of science fiction, pulp adventure, mystery, and supernatural horror, with some interesting commentary on the clash between magic and science that serves to keep it all in context. While I didn't find this to be as memorable as Gail Z. Martin's epic fantasies, the collaboration with Larry Martin has certainly introduced some fun elements that I felt were absent from her urban fantasies.

Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dosadno. Jako dosadno.

Svet sam po sebi je dosta interesantan posto predstavlja klasican 19vek ali u steampunk varijanti prosaranom magijom. I sam world building je fino obradjen sa dovoljno detalja da prenese potrebno ali ne i suvise da smori.

Ali zato sve ostalo...

Prvo prica je varijanta borbe za mocni macgiffin koji smo citali milion puta. Sama misterija je ne postojeca posto cim naletimo na nesto neobicno odma biva objasnjeno ili koji chapter kasnije. Sami likovi su takvi klasicni heroji iz dr
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, netgalley
Magic and steampunk collide, mixing things that haunt the night with genius inventors in a new fusion genre of mystery, adventure and historical fantasy, taking it far beyond investigating a murder. The characters run into things you could never imagine, using technology the characters could barely dream of, and with a touch of Tolkein's Mines for the most ominous touch.

(view spoiler)
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
2.5 stars

The back cover blurb would lead you to think that this was a story about Jake, his lifelong friend, Rick, and his cousin, Nikki. Well, you'd be wrong. They are part of the story but there is also a plethora of secondary characters, so many, in fact, that it feels a little overcrowded. It doesn't help that it is actually several of these other, secondary characters that actually do much of the heavy lifting as far as moving the story along and resolving problems/obstacles goes. Frankly,
Lynn Williams
Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Iron and Blood is a fun, steampunk adventure involving vampires, ghosts, witches, magic and madcap inventions.

The story gets off to an immediate start with an explosion of action! Jake and Rick, accompanied by their cousin Veronique (or Nikki) are returning from what should have been a fairly small scale smuggling excursion. Jake and Rick are heirs to the Brand and Desmet Import Company which specialises in acquiring goods for their customers, som
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was ok.

It starts out entertaining enough but the further I got into the book, the more bored I became, and the more I wanted the book to end.

It's not boring because there isn't any action. There's plenty. The problem is that the action becomes repetitive. Each encounter follows the same formula. The characters investigate/poke around somewhere. Bad guys show up. Good guys defeat them due to Deus Ex Machina or something equally contrived. Rinse and repeat. It's like that quote "Coincid
One part old magic, one part steampunk and one part action adventure is the recipe for Iron & Blood.

Jake and Rick are attacked while acquiring a difficult item for a collector, but it seems the attack is not just focused on their mission but their family at its core. With a terrible loss, They return home with their cousin Nikki in tow.

They must discover the plot behind the machination for power before more family members are killed. Traversing a slipper path between magic, mechanics and pol
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
The setting of New Pittsburgh makes use of the history of the Gilded age and mixes some steampunk elements along with some magic to set the stage for this new series. Jake and Rick are friends and heirs to their fathers’ shipping company. Most of the business is above boards but sometimes they retrieve items for their customers that need a delicate and discreet touch. The book opens with one of these assignments ending in a hail of bullets and an airship battle on the way back to America. Jake’s ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw some of the reviews for this I didn't hold much hope but I really enjoyed this. It's a SteamPunk jaunt with a mix of genres, there's Witches, Vampires and an assortment of demons and other spooks. There's action from the start and continues through the book. There was a wee bit at the end that didn't feel right to me and I would have given it 5* if it hadn't been for that. Looking forward to the next.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
I was neither impressed nor disappointed in this book, so this is one of those reviews which is super difficult for me to elucidate. I thought the premise was a bit new and interesting for steampunk, which is a plus, as is the lack of emphasis on any romantic angle. Usually steampunk is utterly focused on romantic subplots for some bizarre reason. So, the absence of the usual trope was admittedly refreshing. (Also, I got my 19th century gun trifecta: derringer, Remington, Colt).

Then there was th
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was a big fan of the first Necromancer books when they came out, though I haven't kept up with the author's more recent works. When I saw this come up on GoodReads I was excited, as I enjoy steampunk and really like the author's characters and complex plot lines. Fortunately, I was able to snag an egalley through NetGalley, and really enjoyed my read.

Unlike so many steampunk books, this one is not a romance. It also takes place primarily in the US, in the Pittsburgh area. It takes advantage of
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Iron and Blood is an action driven story filled with magic, great inventions, ghosts, vampires and witches (most who are male). While the action does drive the story there are a whole cast of characters who are part of the action.

Rick Brand and Jake Desmet are a big part of the story line and the action. For everything to work there has to be world building and back-story. The story line helps with the world building. The back story is worked into the dialogue. There is often mention of past act
All Things Urban Fantasy
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

IRON & BLOOD has it all. It’s an excellent murder mystery novel filled with steampunk airships, vampire witches, clockwork zombies, tesla rays, and much more, all thrown into an alternate history taking place in New Pittsburgh.

IRON & BLOOD had an Indiana Jones meets James Bond feel. A lot of the book revolves a couple of lost ancient artifacts that Jake and his two cohorts, Rick and Nicki, are trying to recover before the enemy does. The rest o
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a fun novel. To me it felt like Indiana Jones + Steampunk + old magic/ghosts. The steampunk technology was quite innovative, but I like how it was also merged with older magic and abilities such as someone who can talk to ghosts, and prophecy. If you enjoy a good adventure story with fun characters, you should definitely check out this novel!

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-order
I enjoyed this book. It was a little hard to get into at first, but when I did, it was very interesting. I was glad to see a view of American in a steampunk-ish novel. Britain didn't have a monopoly on amazing scientists and inventors! There was a lot of the supernatural in this story, but at the same time, a lot of the plot turned on cleaver inventions. A nice mix. I'm hoping to read more about these characters, but maybe with less world-shattering problems.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
I haven't read a lot of steampunk novels, but this seems pretty typical of what I've read so far. Minimal character development, lots and lots of action. The book was a lot of fun to read, but I didn't come off with a deep need to know what's going on with the characters next. Reminds me a bit of a Clive Cussler novel or a James Bond movie. Pure escapism without much depth.
I would read another in the series though, because it was fun.
David Miles
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
A fun and entertaining romp through the steampunk genre. The characters were well-developed and the plot was well-laid... My only issue is that the plot was laid out from the very beginning and the only surprises were from the point of view of the protagonists.

I'd definitely read a sequel if one became available.
Bitsy Vontrapp
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent adventure, loved it.
Terelyn Marks
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very fast-paced, entertaining, every happens, but they all survive AND solve the mystery. A lot of fun. Hope there will be more.
Angela Cutrell
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: steampunk, adult
I really wanted to like this book. It had everything. Unfortunately, that ended up being its downfall. It had EVERYTHING. It had heroes, it had villains, it had adventure, mystery, and some great historical steampunk/horror/almost-Lovecraftian elements. It also had murder, magic, detectives, ghosts, vampires, Tesla inventions, zombies, government agencies, witches, airships, visions, hell hounds, wraiths, automatons, demons, and to be honest, probably some other stuff too that I just forgot. It ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Well...a fun romp but it suffers from too many heroes. In the first two chapters I count five people who could be the hero. Most of them have more defined attributes than the actual hero, Jake, whose sole claim to personality seems to be that he's a good chap in a fight.

I also was mildly annoyed at the repetition of some facts. It's like one author put in something and then the other author thought "wpoh, we can't forget this" and then no one actually edited the narrative to make a good flow.

Fraser Sherman
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
An off the wall steampunk set in 1898 Pittsburgh where magic works alongside the advanced tech. Jake Desmet works for a family company that recovers artifacts and antiques from owners of dubious provenance. When his father is killed, Jake and his friends are embroiled in finding and stopping the killer, which ties in with a series of supernatural killings in the city. Fast moving, fun and lively, though it did get overcrowded (throwing in Jack the Ripper and the federal agents after him). Fair w ...more
Fangs for the Fantasy
Jake and Rick, with their cousin Nicki, work for their father’s company retrieving hard to find items at very high cost for their very rich clients. Unfortunately, not every item is safe nor is every client as they find out when Jake’s father is murdered

They must return to New Pittsburgh, ducking hired killers along the way to uncover a conspiracy that is festering in the city and goes far further than a few items they transported.

There’s a lot about this book I love.

I love the characters – each
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I won my copy of Iron and Blood from Goodreads.

A fast paced, steam punk fantasy.
Kitty Lusby
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I so expected to love this book. It claims to have all the elements I love in a great story - action, intrigue, magic, a touch of the paranormal, a healthy dash of steampunk...and the cover design was so eye-catching and interesting. I looked forwards to receiving my copy in the Goodreads giveaway and moved this to the top of my to-read pile as soon as it showed up at my doorstep. Oh, I was so disappointed.

After the first chapter, I was already a bit let down, but I was willing to give it a chan
Online Eccentric Librarian
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, steampunk, au

More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

Iron and Blood presented a bit of a challenge in that it is solidly written, imaginative, and with a fun set of characters. But at the same time, it felt very overwritten as to suck most of the life right out of the story for me. Because we knew everything in advance - the monster, the murderer, the bad guys' plans - the impetus of the story was sabotaged. Rather than excitedly finding the answers with the characters, we
Chris Legassick
Nov 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'll try not to put spoilers in this review but can't promise anything.

I picked this up hoping to have finally found a good steam punk novel. Sadly I was disappointed. The novel is so full of tropes and stereotypes that it's almost comical, worse than that I found the plot to be predictable and lazily written to the point it seems convinient to the main characters.

There are numerous examples where instead of solving a potential dilemma, someone swoops in and saves the main party. In one unforgiv
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This is actually a 2.5 star book. Amusing but with some flows.

As you can conclude from the previous sentence, I enjoyed this book, but there are definitely some flaws here. This whole book felt to me like the account of somebody's roleplay campaign. You have a lot of characters, who all have some interesting sides, but none of them is really fleshed out.

Another issue I had with this book is that every investigative scene or long conversation between characters ends in an action scene. Somebody
Jul 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
I wasn't blown away by this book nor totally bored. That being said it took me awhile to get through because Life in general for me has been busy, and I was somewhat intrigued by the book. Overall, I thought the premise was somewhat original for steampunk, or at least the ones I have read, because there wasn't much of a romance to it. Usually, steampunk tends to have a romantic subplot or two.

There was a plethora of characters thrown in which made it feel alittle confusing. A lot of people to k
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Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wroteat age fivewas about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer. She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites. She is married and has three childr ...more