Shadows of Asphodel
by Karen Kincy
Publisher: self-published through CreateSpace
Page Count: 350
Release Date: September 13, 2013
How got: personal library: bought via Amazon
First attention getter: synopsis
She never asked for the undying loyalty of a necromancer.
1913. Austria-Hungary. Ardis knows better than to save a man on the battlefield. Even if he manages to be a charming bastard while bleeding out in the snow. She hasn't survived this long as a mercenary without some common sense.
When she rescues Wendel, it isn't because he's devilishly handsome, but because he's a necromancer. His touch can revive the dead, and Ardis worries he will return from the grave to hunt her down. Besides, a necromancer can be useful in this world on the brink of war.
A gentleman of questionable morals, Wendel drops to one knee and pledges his undying loyalty to Ardis. She resists falling for him, no matter how hot the tension smolders between them. Especially when she discovers Wendel's scars run much deeper than his skin, and it might be too late to truly save him from himself.
Star Rating - 5
I’ve never read the whole steam punk/diesel punk genre before. This was my first introduction. To me, it just reads like an alternate history/historical fantasy book. With that frame of mind, this is a very enjoyable read. I loved the characters and the story definitely doesn’t lack in suspense.
From skimming other people’s reviews, it seems like a great majority of people don’t like Wendel. Yet, I think I might like him the most. He’s a layered individual who’s brash, over-confident exterior hides a very vulnerable interior. He’s had so many hurts and has fought for so many years that his exterior is probably his best, and sometimes probably his only, defense against a very harsh world.
Ardis is another great character. I loved how strong and confident she was. She knew what she wanted out of life, went for it, fought for it, and if she didn’t get it, she found another route and plan. I also loved her heart, how she identified with those less fortunate and cared for those she protected or served.
I loved the leads together, too. They’re an intriguing mix of strong personalities and vulnerable souls. Sparks seem to fly from the very beginning and never let up. Ardis and Wendel even each other out wonderfully, both coming from very harsh backgrounds. I think that helps them to understand each other better and gives a stronger sense of loyalty and love to each other.
I think the mix of magic, machines, and alternate history might make me seek out this subgenre more often. I loved seeing how the world might have developed with a magic net that stops bullets, necromancy, automatons (Transformers!!!), assassin/mage guilds, and bloodthirsty swords. I was sucked in from the first chapter; it probably didn’t hurt that the book opened on a battlefield and rising corpses. The story is also as heart-pounding. From kidnappings to showdowns in warehouses to confrontations at sea, the reader is never left bored.
This is a great introduction to the whole steam punk/diesel punk thing. I just thought of it as historical fantasy and that worked well for me. I loved the characters, their main relationship, the story, and the world-building. I look forward to the future books in the series.