Tuesday, February 04, 2014

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When Ardis discovers a man bleeding to death on the battlefield, she knows she has to walk away.

1913. In her work as a mercenary for Austria-Hungary, Ardis has killed many men without hesitation. One more man shouldn’t matter, even if he manages to be a charming bastard while he stands dying in the snow. 

But when he raises the dead to fight for him, she realizes she must save his life.

If a necromancer like Wendel dies, he will return as a monster—or so the rumors say. Ardis decides to play it safe and rescues him. What she doesn’t expect is Wendel falling to one knee and swearing fealty. Ardis never asked for the undying loyalty of a necromancer, but it’s too late now.

Ardis and Wendel forge an uneasy alliance underscored with sexual tension. Together, they confront rebels, assassins, and a conspiracy involving a military secret: robotically-enhanced soldiers for a world on the brink of war. But as Ardis starts to fall for Wendel, she realizes the scars from his past run more deeply than she ever imagined. Can Ardis stop Wendel before his thirst for revenge destroys him and everyone else around him?

This novel was (sorta) my first introduction to the idea of Dieselpunk - I say this because I watch The Legend of Korra, which is also technically Dieselpunk, but I had never actually heard the word until I came across this book. If you're also new to this term, you may notice that it brings to mind the Steampunk genre, which is actually something completely different. One of the most obvious differences between Dieselpunk and Steampunk is that while Steampunk is based on the Victorian era, Dieselpunk is based on the era between World War I and World War II, though both also feature modern and/or postmodern technologies mixed-in with the technologies of those eras.

Anywho, Shadows of Asphodel is a Dieselpunk story about a blonde Chinese-American mercenary, Ardis, who happens upon a ruggedly-handsome necromancer, Wendel,  and reluctantly saves his life. The two end up travelling together, and learn a few big secrets about each other along the way. They also have a lot of run-ins with assassins, take part in some cool sword-fights, and meet an awesome Archmage by the name of Konstantine, whom I feel should have gotten a lot more "air-time" due to how love-able he is (here's hoping he gets his own side-story - or at least a novella, perhaps? pretty, pretty please?).

I feel I should also mention that this book definitely falls into the "New Adult" category, since the main characters are in their twenties, and there's a healthy sprinkling of steamy scenes throughout the novel (they were tastefully done, yes, but they were also pretty hot). And don't expect to get into this novel without feeling ALL OF THE FEELS. And mostly for Wendel. Let me tell you, necromancers do not have it easy - apparently, people who can raise the dead are completely despised by society. Who knew?

While the plot was gripping, I felt that this was mostly a character-driven novel. There were so many dimensions to Ardis and Wendel that I felt they honestly could have been real people. I even tried to drag-out reading this for as long as possible, since I didn't want to leave the world that Ms. Kincy had created. That said, there are still some questions I have that I'd like to see answered later on in the series, such as whatever happened to Wendel's siblings? or how did the meeting between Margareta and The Grandmaster go? I also hope that more details on the war are given in the later books, since the war wasn't described as much as I'd have liked. At any rate, I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for us in book two! This one gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Karen Kincy (Redmond, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen  State College.

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  1. I love the sounds of this one and how character oriented it sounds! Dieselpunk is also new to me so this would be my first book in the genre! So happy you liked it! Great review, Kimberly!

  2. This sounds interesting and I haven't really read a lot in the New Adult category! Thanks for the giveaway :)
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  3. Thanks, Kimberly! And (SPOILERS) Konstantin will return in the sequel, Storms of Lazarus. :)



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