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Steampunk Romance Review: Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy (Shadows of Asphodel #1)


Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
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?

Amazon  UK | Amazon kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *
First of all, Karen Kincy is definitely favored by cover gods! Even the first cover for this book was wonderful. The second one is just more to the point.

Secondly, I don't know why it took me so long to read it. First chapter was a bit of a struggle, but then I got right into it.

Easy, adventurous, clever dieselpunk fantasy which by its tandem of a necromancer and a mercenary strongly reminded me of Melanie Card's fantasy series.


 Ardis is an American half-Chinese who escaped her own country because she murdered a man who couldn't take "no" for an answer. She arrived to Europe just before the First World War and got hired as a mercenary working for peacekeeping Archmages (technomages).

On a mission she discovers Wendel, a mysterious young necromancer, who she takes hostage after he tries to attack her. Wendel is a talented assassin for The Order of Asphodel, and he desperately wants out. He is on the run from countless assassins and he unwittingly makes Ardis their target as well, when they become romantically involved.

Wendel and Ardis have great dynamics as a couple. Both hardened, full of secrets, their own agendas and strange vulnerability, these two sarcastic smart-arses can't stay away from each other, and after few tries to think rationally and separate, Ardis gives up and starts helping Wendel in his quest.

This is a very intriguing, light and easy read, a great beginning of a promising series, and I very much recommend it to any fun of steampunk or urban fantasy.

* * *
Милая книжка с чудесными главными героями и хорошим построением мира.

Не знаю, почем я так долго сидела на первой главе, но после медленного начала книга пошла как по маслу.

Ардис - наполовину китаянка, сбежавшая в Европу из Америки два года назад, устроилась на службу Архимагам Австро-Венгрии в качестве наёмника. Теперь Европа стоит на грани первой Мировой, которую Архимаги безуспешно пытаются предотвратить, и Ардис  постоянно находится в гуще битвы, где и встречает молодого, талантливого некроманта Венделя. 

Вендель как и Ардис полон секретов, и динамика их отношений очень напомнила мне фэнтэзийную серию Мелани Кард.  Он - ассассин секретного ордена Асфоделя, безуспешно пытающийся от него сбежать, и Ардис невольно ему в этом помогает, что заставляет тот самый орден заметить и её.

И Венделя и Ардис тянет друг к другу физически, и несмотря на то, что они пытаются не вступать в пагубные для них обоих отношения, судьба постоянно сводит их вместе. Оба - яроничные язвы, не склонные никому доверять, и от того их любовь друг к другу делает их очень ранимыми.

Ждите весёлых приключений и очень задорное начало хорошей серии. Рекомендую.

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