There was a time, not long ago, when I thought that the world of steam punk wasn’t something that was for me. I’m not sure how that started really. Although, I’m sure there was one book somewhere along the line that just didn’t cut the mustard , but every steam punk book that I’ve read for LE hasn’t been too bad. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that, out of the few that I’ve read for review, they’ve all been remarkably entertaining reads. Turns out that The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers fits pretty well into that category.
Eva Forge is the last paladin of the dead God, Morgan.
Eva, forsaken by her parents and forgotten by her family, was the last child dedicated to the Cult of Morgan. Morgan, God of battle and champion of the Fraterdom, was assassinated by his jealous brother, Amon. Over time, the Cult of Morgan has been surpassed by other Gods, his blessings ignored in favor of brighter technologies and more mechanical miracles. Now, Eva watches as her new family, her Cult, crumbles around her.
When a series of kidnappings and murders makes it clear that someone is trying to hasten the death of the Cult of Morgan, Eva must seek out unexpected allies and unwelcome answers in the city of Ash. But will she be able to save the city from a growing conspiracy, one that reaches back to her childhood, even back to the murder of her God?
As Eva wields her sword and wits in a city full of wonders, her story becomes the first perfect merger of steampunk and sword and sorcery.
Now, the beginning of The Horns of Ruin was a bit slow. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why this was. It jumps right into the story, and within the first couple chapters there was a good amount of action and mystery. I think maybe it’s the fact that I had to figure out what all the doodads and terms meant that were thrown around in The Horns of Ruin. Just like any good steam punk novel there were some machines and apparatuses that, in this case, made the city of Ash tick.
Once I started understanding the terms though it made for a compelling story that had me fighting myself to take a peak at the ending. In The Horns of Ruin, there are three gods that humans worship. Risen from the hardships of humanity for their heroic deeds, these gods represent the warrior, scholar, and healer. However there is only one god that is alive, and this makes the sects that worship the dead gods without the power and influence of the one that is alive. That’s where Eva comes in. She’s belonged to the sect of the warrior since a small child, and is now a paladin. However because the god that she serves is dead, her sect has been dwindling in numbers until there are very few of them left.
I liked Eva, her brashness and bravery served her well, but there were times when she was just arrogant. Which I suppose is probably something that she was taught as a warrior. Her elders kept her in check, but when something happens and she looses contact with her superiors she’s left in charge. It makes for exciting adventure, but I couldn’t help but think there were times when a situation or two could have been handled differently. Eva’s companion, Cassandra helps to try and get Eva to see that there are other, less violent, ways to get something done, but ultimately Eva always rushes in first and asks questions later.
Even though it took me awhile to get into The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers, towards the middle and through to the end I couldn’t get enough. I love the idea of invocations and found it a unique and interesting way for people to be connected to their particular god. What it comes down to, I think, is that Steampunk isn’t nearly as bad as I originally thought it was. Maybe when I next come across a steampunk novel I won’t be so quick to dismiss it.