This is the first book in Becca Andre’s new series, Iron Souls which stars a young woman named Briar.
Briar is a boatman that traverses the Ohio and Erie canal making a living off transporting goods up and down the river. She’s unique in that she’s young and a woman; and although is doesn’t live a traditional life and follow exceptions of the time, she is respected by her crew and merchants for her abilities. Briar has a nose for trouble and it leads her down a rabbit hole into a world of magic and secrets. While trying to determine if the railroads that are going to destroy her way of life are using a Ferromancer, she kidnaps Grayson, and together they begin a strained relationship that is surrounded by mysteries.
This is a very detailed book about how the canals were used to transport goods that at times can seem tedious, until you realize the details are what makes this time period visible in your imagination. With the current fast paced life that we live today, it’s hard to imagine moving goods upriver using mules and maxing out at 4 mph. Andre’s a wonderful writer that is able to create a historically accurate time period and give it a slight twist to include magic without ruining the story or the readers ability to accept this new reality.
One frustrating part that I had with this book is that since Briar is naive and ignorant of the magical world of Ferromancers, we have to learn about it with her at the pace that Grayson wants to reveal it. There were times that I wanted to skim ahead just to see what this world is really about, but held back because I didn’t want to fall into the trap of knowing more than her. Even with as frustrating and annoyingly slow as the reveals were, it helped to connect with Briar as she struggled to learn about this world and all it’s intricacies.
Overall, this is a great, well written story that grabs and keeps your attention until the last page with all of it’s twists and solid cast characters. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book.