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?
Sword fights, Necromancers, Romance, OH MY!
I decided to read this book on a whim. Okay, so maybe I really decided to read it because it's marked as deiselpunk. I mean, what the heck is that? I'll tell you what it is (at least in the case of Shadows of Asphodel), it's flippin' good! That's what dieselpunk is.
I love when an author has the ability to seamlessly weave a complicated world into a story. No info dumps, no definitions of words I can't pronounce and end up forgetting a page later. The best world building occurs without the reader even realizing it's happening. Think Harry Potter. The entire wizarding world is laid out in an easily understood and picture perfect way while the actual story is being told. That's what I need and Karen Kincy delivered.
I loved the first meeting between Ardis and Wendel. He is so nonchalant when assuming Ardis will kill him. His matter-of-fact attitude is unexpected for someone meeting his potential killer. But the banter is entertaining and in one scene you get a real feel for who the characters are.
While I thought the relationship was a bit insta-love, the rest of the heart-pounding journey made up for that fact. Ardis is a total kick-ass heroine that I could fully support. It took me a bit longer to get on board with Wendel. He definitely wasn't my taste, but then again Ardis and I are nothing alike so I can't fault her for her choice in love interests. And as I mentioned before, the banter and push/pull between the two is entertaining.
I really can't say enough about the world building in this novel. It is done brilliantly and I love the alternate history aspect. If you enjoy the steampunk genre, you will definitely like Karen Kincy's take on dieselpunk. Shadows of Asphodel is action packed with a complicated romance between two complicated characters. Dive into Ms. Kincy's world and get lost with Ardis.
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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