Oh Wow am I happy to be a part of this blog tour! The Shadows of Asphodel is a New Adult book about a mercenary, Ardis and a necromancer, Wendel. I haven't read a necromancer book yet. Can you believe it? But this one was a great one to get started with. Oh, and it also has a bit of Steampunk in it! And romance, you know who I'm talking to. So I hope you follow the tour and put this one on your Goodreads shelf!
Shadows of Asphodel (#1) by Karen Kincy
New Adult Dieselpunk
Paperback 350 pages
Received e-ARC through CCB Book Promotions for Blog Tour
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?
(Dieselpunk romance. Recommended for ages 17 & up.)
First, don't worry about the term "Dieselpunk". It won't get in the way of you enjoying this thoroughly action packed, romance filled novel. Yep, there are automatons, zeppelins and other machinery, but it just kind of blends into the story. There is MAGIC! And it is so unique how the machines and the magic blend together and how each property, if magic can be called a property, war against each other.
This is the first novel I've read by Karen Kincy and I'm impressed. The novel jumps right into the end of a battle, with Ardis looking for survivors. Ardis, the heroine, is a "peacekeeper." She works for the archmages. She is a mercenary. She keeps the peace by killing the rebels. Ardis is there for many reasons, but if fate were the reason, she is there to find Wendel on his death bed siccing a reanimated dog on her. Ardis realizes he is a necromancer, reanimating a dog gives that way, and she has heard stories about dealing death to a necromancer so she takes him prisoner. And to the medicine tent because he is alarmingly pale.
Ardis is practical, she recognizes that Wendel is a necromancer and that she needs to keep that fact a secret for his safety. She also notices that he is quite handsome and believes he must be from nobility of some sort. But his touch disgusts her and she isn't sure what it can do to her. So wisely she decides she will demand a ransom for his return. But through their journey together, she begins to like him more than a little and the very inhuman and lonely Ardis starts to thaw. She is forward and honest in what she wants. And she is not weak when Wendel can't offer her what she wants. She walks away. But, when it really matters, she is strong, maybe too much so, and she might commit the biggest mistake of her life.
Wendel is easy to like. He is charming and funny. But then he turns and becomes moody and unreachable. The truth is, he is broken, but he hides it well. He lets bits of it leak out and it is only Ardis that can get the whole story out of him. And then not the whole story. He is definitely handy in battle and a little creepy with his magic. But he is open and honest with Ardis so any shortcomings can be easily overlooked.
The fascinating part of this novel, not that Ardis and Wendel weren't enjoyable, was the world. The complexity of mixing "dieselpunk" with magic, Archmages and assassins, and necromancers-the purest form of magic of anything in the book, it was an incredible world. And I never got lost or gave up because there was just too much. A couple of times I was just plain jealous at Karen Kincy's creativity. You'll see what I mean when you read it. To twist all these complex things together and make a world that works in a historical setting, altering real world events, just slightly to change history, it's ingenious. And makes for a great story.
Ardis is complex. She has revealed little of herself to us and even less of how she feels about her personal history. We see a little more of Wendel's personal history and he is even more sweet for it. I just wanted to hug him to me. And kill some people. I really enjoyed the two of them together and separately and I cannot wait for the next in the series. I was so happy to see it would be a series!
I did receive and e-ARC as part of the tour with CBB Book Promotions. This did not influence my review. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you to both CBB Book Promotions and the author for the review copy.
About the Author
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.