I enjoy steampunk novels. The alternate technology amuses me. When a stream of magic is blended into it as well, a steampunk world is a great place to set a story. The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers has just such a setting.
Eva Forge is the last Paladin of Morgan, the God of War and the Hunt. He fought many battles, won many wars, and then was killed by his own brother, also a God. The followers of Morgan were once numerous and powerful. Eva is not the last of her kind — there are a few others — but the Cult of Morgan is in decline.
The compelling, action-packed storyline deals with an attack on the Cult. Its adherents are being targeted and murdered, and Eva gets caught up in a serious fight early in the book. Eva is hard-charging, violent, pushy, violent, dedicated, and did I mention violent? Akers never says it, but you get the feeling that she’s pretty and deadly… kind of like the sword she carries.
The magic is the best part of The Horns of Ruin. As Eva charges into battle, she deploys magical invocations that consist of stories about the God Morgan. Each story carries certain magical effects. Other Gods focus on different effects, and Akers creates a variety of invocations.
The city of Ash is well-drawn, as is the meshing of magic and technology. For example, Eva carries a sword, as one might expect of a fantasy heroine, but is also armed with a blessed revolver. Between the history of the Gods, the description of the city, and the political climate, this is an interesting world to read about.
Akers doesn’t leave a lot of loose ends hanging, but there’s plenty of room for more stories in this setting. I can’t wait for the sequels.