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Paranormal Fantasy Novel Review: Ironbound by Mel Sterling

Ironbound by Mel Sterling (Portland After Dark #2)

ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
The Master of the Wild Hunt

In a single cataclysm of magic shattering a centuries-old bond of servitude, the Unseelie Queen of Forest Park loses her fiercest huntsman. Now Hunter is free to abscond with half her court and the Wild Hunt is his to command. Yet between the Queen's deadly incursions and a mysterious sickness spreading through his followers, Hunter's rebellion is doomed unless he turns to an even deadlier poison—mortal iron, and hands capable of shaping it.

The Mistress of Cold Iron

Dove Paisley ekes out a living as a modern-day blacksmith and office cleaner. Accidentally swept up in the Wild Hunt, Dove finds herself prisoner in a plague-stricken fae mound and forced to confront Hunter, the harsh, forbidding King in the East. Dove must drive the hardest bargain of her life: her freedom in exchange for forging the weapons that can turn the tide in a supernatural war.

But fae bargains twist on those who make them. The Master of the Hunt may have met his match, and if he isn't careful he'll be bound to a human woman by more than her iron sorcery. Together, the fae hunter and the mortal blacksmith must break the Queen's malevolent enchantments before she binds them all forever in Death's cold hands.

Welcome back to Portland, After Dark.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK

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Despite picking it up during my reading slump, I still managed to enjoy Ironbound which is a testament to Mel Sterling's skill.

Ironbound is a moody, twisted winter fairytale for lovers of dark chocolate and Guillermo del Toro. Don't wait for "and they lived happily ever after" either. It's rich, bitter and beautiful just like dark chocolate, and you either have a taste for it or you don't.

There is a continuation of Tess and Thomas's tragic love story in this book, but the true stars are Hunter and Dove aka Sparks. Their personalities clash and sizzle, hiss and sparkle. There is anger and indignation instead of sadness and despair, and I loved their clever, carefully worded dialogues.

When Hunter leaves The Queen, he also leaves magic that influenced and shaped him for so long. Amidst all the chaos of establishing his mound, battling hunger and sickness of his people and warding off The Queen's spies, he starts remembering who he really is.

When Sparks comes into his life, no matter how unwillingly, her humanity, warmth, compassion and inquisitiveness speed up the process, making him question centuries old prejudices and beliefs.

Dove aka Sparks in many ways reminded me of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson. She has this amazing ability to sharpen and narrow her focus on what matters most, and it helps her take charge of her situation and survive. She is also practical, down to earth, and feels others' emotions keenly.

It helps that Hunter and Dove have great, tumultuous chemistry together, and that the supporting cast has intriguing and sweet characters like Sharpwit or Torchy.

Overall, this is a dynamic dark paranormal fantasy reminiscent of War for The Oaks or Patricia Briggs's writing. Enjoyed it, recommended.


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  Несмотря на то, что читала я "Скованные Железом" в то время, когда мое чтение и рецензирование замедлилось до черепашьего темпа, книга мне эта все-равно понравилась.

Мел Стерлинг создала дремучую, темную зимнюю сказку в духе Гильермо дель Торо. Насыщенную, горькую как темный шоколад, но не каждому по вкусу.

Вот не ждите "и жили они долго и счастливо". Тэсс и Томас с их трагической любовной историей наконец-то удовлетворительно завершают свою сюжетную линию в этой книге, но настоящие звезды шоу - это Хантер и Доув ака Спаркс.

Их сильные характеры пикируются и обжигают друг друга, да так, что сыпятся искры и шипит пар! Я приветствовала их ярость и возмущение больше, чем меланхолию и отчаяние Томаса и Тэсс.

Хантер, уйдя от Королевы, оставляет и ее магию, которая формировала его образ Мастера Дикой Охоты. Внезапно к нему начинают урывками возвращаться воспоминания о прошлой жизни.

Присутствие Спаркс, захваченной Дикой Охотой, с ее человечностью, теплотой и любопытством, ускоряет процесс и заставляет Хантера, который пытается наладить механизмы правления своим холмом, борется с голодом и болезнями своих подчиненных на фоне наступающей зимы и бесконечных шпионов Королевы, пересмотреть свои предубеждения и идеалы.

Доув мне напомнила Мерси Томпсон из серии книг Патриции Бриггз. Она умеет сосредоточиться только на самом важном и отсеять все второстепенное, чтобы выжить в этой новой для нее реальности. Она очень практична, мягкосердечна, хорошо чувствует эмоции окружающих и не выносит несправедливости.

Добавьте к этому искусно сформированные диалоги между ней и Хантером и их безумный магнетизм, а также солидную команду второстепенных персонажей, среди которых милый Торчи и интригующая Шарпвит, и это паранормальное фэнтези читается динамично и с удовольствием. Рекомендую.

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