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.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.79(d)|
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Shadows of Asphodel
By Karen Kincy
Curiosity Quills PressCopyright © 2015 Karen Kincy
All rights reserved.
Ardis trudged across the blood-churned earth, blinking as the wind whipped spindrift snow into her eyes. Her arm ached, but she kept a good grip on Chun Yi, her sword. Above, the drone of zeppelins heralded the advance of the medics who would decide the fate of the men and women lying broken on the ground. Ardis tugged her scarf over her nose, trying not to gag at the stench of diesel and blood.
She should hurry. She couldn't see the height of the sun behind the clouds.
The battle was over, but a storm was coming.
Ardis walked quietly among the wounded, giving distance to rebels in their ragtag uniforms. Her enemies looked helpless, but she could hear their groans and prayers. Her fingers tightened around the sharkskin hilt of Chun Yi, and she hoped —
A man staggered to his feet. His mane of black hair flew in his face, hiding it, and his ragged breath fogged the air. He didn't look like a soldier or a rebel, dressed in a fine coat of gray wool and wolverine fur matted flat with blood. His hands hung empty at his sides.
What was a gentleman like him doing on the battlefield?
The man cleared his throat, clenched and unclenched his hands. "I'm unarmed."
His words were at once smooth and rough, a honey-gravel voice. He spoke German without any trace of an accent.
"Hands on your head," Ardis commanded.
The man did as she said, and the wind blew his hair from his face. Ardis had to stare.
He was starkly handsome, with an arrogant elegance only gentlemen have. Dark slivers of eyebrows, cheekbones so sharp you could cut yourself on them, and eyes exactly like those of a snow leopard, a stunning, pale green.
A thin smile tugged at the man's lips. "How are you going to kill me?"
She kept her face blank. "I haven't decided yet."
"I would prefer your dagger," he said. "It looks sharp."
"Sword," she said.
"Ah. My apologies."
Ardis narrowed her eyes. She couldn't believe how glib he sounded, like they were in a fencing match and he had nearly lost.
No, not nearly. If he was unarmed, as he said, then he was her prisoner.
Ardis had never taken one of the enemy alive before. It had always been kill or be killed, but he wasn't making this easy by acting so vulnerable. Now she would have to shackle him somehow and march him back to camp. Well, he was a gentleman, so perhaps there would be a hefty ransom involved, and she —
"My name is Wendel," he said.
Ardis squinted at him. The battlefield seemed like an odd place for introductions.
"Thank you," she said. "I will make sure it goes on your grave."
He laughed, then clutched his ribs. His hand came away red with blood.
"You're wounded," she said.
"Very observant." Wendel wasn't looking at her now, and pain sharpened his voice. "I might die before you kill me."
He laughed again, despite himself, and coughed up a spattering of blood in the snow.
Ardis frowned, her fingers even tighter on Chun Yi. She could let Wendel bleed out, but that might not be quick, and she would have to watch the whole thing. Or she could try to salvage him and collect that hypothetical ransom.
Wendel swayed on his feet. "May I sit?" he said. "I don't think I can —"
He fell to his knees in one swift movement, like a glacier cracking, then crumpled on his side. He reached out, his fingers splayed, and grabbed a fistful of snow as if to claw himself upright. A war dog's stiff corpse lay nearby, its blood melting the snow where Wendel had fallen. Wendel's fine coat was altogether ruined now.
Ardis watched him, her jaw taut, and tried to make up her mind. "How bad is it?"
Wendel didn't look at her. "Bad enough."
She sheathed Chun Yi, her muscles shaking with fatigue. He reached out again, groping blindly, and his hand closed on the war dog's paw.
"All right," Ardis said. "I'm taking you —"
Wendel shuddered, and the dog kicked its legs. Adrenaline jolted into Ardis's veins. She drew Chun Yi and stepped into a defensive stance. The dog climbed to its feet, its ruined throat gaping, and growled at her.
No breath fogged the winter air.
Ardis braced herself as the dog charged. Its paws thudded in the snow, its fangs glinted in the overcast sun. The dog veered for her left arm, jaws wide, and she dodged right. It spun, nimble for such a huge mastiff — for such a dead mastiff. She retreated, blocking with her sword.
The dog leapt high, aiming for her throat, and she brought Chun Yi up to meet him.
With gritted teeth, she sliced through its thick neck and beheaded it cleanly. The animal crashed into the snow, dead again.
Ardis's heartbeat raced. She wiped the blood from her blade.
"Well," Wendel said. "It was worth a try."
She faced him, but didn't stand so close this time. Wendel huddled sideways on the ground, his teeth chattering, clearly weaker for having used some of his magic. A widening bloom of blood stained the snow.
"A necromancer?" she said.
There was something remarkably similar to fear in his eyes, but he smiled. "Yes."
Wendel's eyes flickered shut, and he collapsed in the snow. She edged closer and nudged him with the flat of her blade. This could be another trick, though she doubted it. If she were lucky, maybe he was already dead.
Ardis sheathed Chun Yi. She crouched and felt for a pulse in his neck. There, beneath her fingers, a faint heartbeat thumped. He was still handsome, even unconscious, even covered in filth and blood. His skin felt warm and soft enough, like any other person's. Not like a necromancer's. She shuddered and wiped her hand on the snow.
The burning cold almost erased the feeling of having touched an abomination.
* * *
Ardis waited for the medics to come. The necromancer lay still and silent in the snow, but he was alive; she held Chun Yi near Wendel's mouth and waited for his breath to fog the blade. She wouldn't touch him again, not unless necessary.
You didn't want to kill a necromancer. If you killed him, he would come back ten times stronger. If you killed him, he would lose the last traces of his humanity and become a monster that mercilessly hunted you down in revenge.
That's what Ardis had heard, though she had never seen a necromancer before.
She didn't want to risk him dying.
Wendel was still breathing at her feet, but he wouldn't last much longer bleeding like that. She scanned the battlefield. Medics in their beige uniforms trudged toward the wounded with backpacks of medical supplies.
Ardis raised her arms above her head. "Over here!"
A medic glanced at the others, then broke into a trot. He was a twitchy man with wide eyes behind his glasses, and he wasn't much older than her, at most in his late twenties. When he saw Wendel, he got to work.
The medic stripped the necromancer's ruined coat and shirt. A narrow wound ran from Wendel's left shoulder across his chest. She judged that a blade must have slashed across his ribs without slicing much deeper, so Wendel had a fair chance of surviving. If he stopped bleeding. If his wound healed cleanly.
And if the medics didn't know he was a necromancer.
"Did you do this?" the medic said, with a thick Hungarian accent.
Ardis blinked. "What?"
The reflection in the medic's glasses hid his eyes. "Did you wound this man?"
"No," she said, "but he's my prisoner. I want his ransom."
The medic made a grunt of disapproval. Medics were impartial, healing both friends and foes, but this was in theory. Ardis doubted they would keep treating a necromancer, if they knew, unless they also feared him dying.
Her stomach tightened into a knot. She would have to protect him now.
"How long ago was it?" the medic said, narrowing his eyes. "The wound?"
Ardis frowned. "I don't know. I just found him here."
The medic swore under his breath. "Then he must have walked here. He's missing a lot more blood than what's on the ground."
"Fix him," Ardis said.
The medic ignored her.
She sighed and sat on a nearby boulder. Snowflakes drifted from the sky. They fell on Wendel's face and melted slowly, as if his skin was growing colder. The medic finished bandaging him and stood.
"Shouldn't we move him somewhere warmer?" Ardis said.
"Listen." The medic glowered at her. "This isn't your job. If you didn't damage so many people, I wouldn't have so much work. So if you want to help, be quiet and do as I say. We need to move him out of here. All right?"
She nodded, her face impassive. She was used to taking orders.
* * *
Ardis rested at the edge of camp, toying with a talisman. It wasn't much more than a twist of horsehair rope and a piece of wood painted with a blue-and-white eye. The medics had hung the talismans around the perimeter of camp to ward off evil. Clearly, the superstition had done nothing to stop the necromancer.
She climbed to her feet and walked back to the tent where they had taken Wendel.
It had been two hours since she had last seen him, but the medics hadn't let her inside. They had important work to do, they said, in a tone that invited no argument. Surely by now they had patched him up, and she could see him.
"Can I help you, ma'am?" said a medic-in-training, a reedy woman with suspicious eyes.
Ardis wasn't sure whether to be insulted or flattered by the "ma'am," so she put on a face she hoped seemed friendly. "I'm here to see a man."
"A man?" The woman thinned her lips. "Who?"
Ardis opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again. She hadn't told them his name. Would it be a giveaway? Necromancers were rare. Very rare.
"He's ... he's pale," Ardis said. "Long black hair. Green eyes."
The woman shook her head and riffled pompously through papers on a clipboard. "I'm sorry, we don't keep lists of physical attributes."
Ardis sighed. "I'm going in to look for him."
"I'm afraid you can't —"
"I brought him here." Ardis sidestepped past her and entered the tent.
Inside, faint light filtered through the canvas, supplemented by kerosene lamps. She wrinkled her nose at the stink of sickness and disinfectant. The wounded lay on makeshift cots, wrapped in bloody bandages, many of them lost in an opium haze that dulled their pain. A patient near her shrank back, whispering a fearful prayer, and she knew he must be a rebel. As if she would murder him in a place of healing.
There were only about a dozen cots, not all of them full. Ardis circled the tent, looking for the necromancer's face.
He wasn't here.
Ardis's throat tightened, and she took a steadying breath. She should never have left him. Maybe he had died from so much blood loss after all, and they had taken his body away already. But they didn't know he was a necromancer. How soon would he rise from the dead and come looking for her? Or ... had he escaped?
Yes, he could have slipped from the tent. Maybe he was stronger than he looked.
She strode out, a sour taste in her mouth, and flagged down the medic-in-training.
"Did any patients leave in the past two hours?" Ardis said.
The woman stared at her. "I really don't see why I should tell —"
Ardis shook her head and brushed past her. She would have to look for Wendel herself. She marched toward the perimeter of the camp, where the talismans twirled in the wind, and looked for footprints, blood, anything. Her tracking skills weren't her strongest suit, but she would be damned if she lost the necromancer.
The sky above her darkened, and the wind died to a deceptive calm.
Ardis circled the camp twice before she saw a scrap of black in the whiteness. She cut across a snowy field, pushed past the whippy branches of willows, and came upon an ice-choked river. There, on the bank, was Wendel.
He had his back to her, and she crept closer to him, her hand on Chun Yi's hilt.
What was Wendel doing? He wasn't wearing a shirt, a bandage wrapped around his pale skin offering scant protection against the biting wind. He knelt at the riverside, reaching into the water, his shoulders flexing as he moved. She sidestepped through the willows to get a better look. He dipped his hands into the river and scrubbed them together, meticulously, shook the water from his fingers, and then did it all again.
She stepped forward, her boots crunching the snow. "Wendel."
He glanced at her, apparently not startled, and clenched his hands. "Yes?"
"What are you doing?"
"Washing my hands."
Ardis frowned. "That water must be freezing. And you lost a lot of blood."
"Concerned?" He held his hands up to inspect them. "Should I be touched?"
She sneered. "I didn't drag your lifeless body all the way back to camp just so you could die of hypothermia."
Wendel dried his hands on his trousers. "I can't stay here."
"You're my prisoner."
He picked at a bandage in the crook of his arm, where they must have given him a blood transfusion. A clay amulet hung around his neck — for Aceso, the Greek goddess of healing — and he tugged it over his head and tossed it into the snow.
"I saw the slash on your ribs," Ardis said. "You still need that amulet."
Wendel shrugged. "I don't believe in that brand of magic."
Ardis clenched her jaw. "Just necromancy?"
He looked at her, his strange eyes catching the light of the fading sun. "Yes."
Silence stretched between them. Ardis ran her thumb over the tassel on the pommel of Chun Yi, the familiar feeling a comfort. Wendel stood watching her, his face inscrutable, his raven-dark hair stirring in the wind.
He took a slow breath, twisted his mouth, then got down on one knee.
"You saved my life," he said. "I swear fealty to you until the debt is repaid."CHAPTER 2
Ardis's heartbeat thudded in her ears. The necromancer's words sounded formal, like he had memorized them from a book. She stared at him until she found his eyes unnerving, and glanced away to the snow.
"Fealty?" she said. "To me?"
She had never been promised life-or-death loyalty before. By anyone.
Wendel nodded, and his jaw tightened.
"No." She backed away from him. "Don't do that."
He stayed kneeling. "I already did."
"No!" Ardis growled the word. "You're a necromancer."
Wendel sighed, and she saw him bite his tongue. "And?"
"You can't come with me. I — I have work to do."
"Right." He all but rolled his eyes. "Back to business killing for the highest bidder. I can help, you know. I'm good at killing."
"That's what I'm afraid of."
A corner of his mouth curved. "Out of curiosity, why did you save me?"
Because she was afraid to let him die, but he didn't need to know the truth.
"To ransom you," she said. "You must come from a rich family."
"Ah." He curled his lip. "Sorry to disappoint, but there will be no ransom."
She was afraid of that, and afraid her face betrayed her intentions.
"They haven't seen me since I was eleven years old, and they certainly wouldn't pay for me to come home."
"But you have superiors, don't you?" she said. "They must want you back."
All the emotion went from Wendel's eyes. "They do."
"Then they will pay your ransom."
"You don't know, do you? About them?"
Ardis shook her head. There was no use lying.
"I see." He looked away. "They won't pay you. Kill you, yes."
She squared her shoulders. "Enlighten me."
"You may have heard of them as the Order of the Asphodel."
"I haven't. Who do they fight for?"
"Themselves." Wendel's mouth curled into something between a sneer and a smile. "They come from Constantinople, though they claim to be older than the Ottoman Empire itself, and will likely outlast it at this rate."
"Constantinople," she repeated. She had never been there.
"Yes." He met her gaze again, his eyes glinting. "You're a mercenary? A sellsword?"
She assumed it was obvious, since she wore no uniform. "What do you think?"
"Who do you fight for?"
Ardis straightened her jacket's lapel and showed him a golden flower pin — an edelweiss, the mountain blossom of the Alps.
"Oh, the archmages of Vienna?" Wendel raised an eyebrow. "My compliments on the Hex. Really keeps these rebels in line. Though the Transylvanians have a knack with scythes." He gestured at his wound.
She winced. "I'm not an archmage. I'm here as a peacekeeper."
"A peacekeeper?" He loaded the word with scorn. "Is that what they call it now?"
She shrugged, not taking the bait. "Just doing my job."
"The last time I checked, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary were allies. Which means, conveniently, we're allies."
Ardis narrowed her eyes. "Right."
"I'm coming with you."
Her smile was frosty. "As my prisoner."
Wendel returned her smile, and his was even icier. "Fine. So long as you don't waste your time trying to ransom me."
She scoffed. "Prisoners don't give orders."
He stared at her, his jaw taut, his fingers curled into fists. He was angry. Good. She knew angry. She could work with that.
Excerpted from Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy. Copyright © 2015 Karen Kincy. Excerpted by permission of Curiosity Quills Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review and was very excited to get my hands on it. And now, I can't wait to dive into the second book in the series. Being a girl who enjoys action, fight scenes, darker stories and tons of fantasy, I opened those first pages and was immediately hooked. Ardis is on a battlefield. The fight is over, she is bloody, but she survived unlike the bodies around her. Her attitude toward the injured man she runs across fits so well to this first impression. She wants to finish him off--no captives. No survivors. And it's not his gorgeous face that changes her mind, nor a sudden soft spot in her heart. Nope, she's scared that if she lets him die, she'll be cursed because his special abilities--something she even finds disgusting. Ardis is a strong fighter, but as the story goes on, this hard shell shows cracks. I'll admit, I was a little disappointed for a bit that there might be too many hints of softness, but this was only temporary. She doesn't have time to be soft (and it would be the death of her). Action is key in this book. Wendel, the hero, is on the run from very powerful people, and Ardis has her own impressive corner. The way these sides weave together in intrigue, mystery and scheming plays kept me guessing at the real intentions and stakes involved the entire way through. It's often not clear who the real bad guys are or which side is playing who. The romance builds with tons of tension and passion, mixing well with the roughness of the rest of the story line. Both parties carry baggage, which becomes more obvious the deeper the intrigue goes. Summed up, this is a dark, action packed read with blurred sides, fantastical elements and a heart-warming romance too.
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence. My Initial Reaction... I really loved the characters in Shadows of Asphodel and the story was unique. Some elements dragged a bit for me, but overall I really enjoyed it. The Narration... The narration for Shadows of Asphodel was strong, in my opinion. Jodie Bentley had unique voices and most her male voices came off satisfactorily masculine. I'd definitely listen to another book with her narrating. I hope Jodie Bentley will narrate the next book in the series, so I can continue listening to it! The Characters... Ardis was great! She's a mercenary, but she works for the ArchMages, which makes her work acceptable (to some) and a bit more than an assassin. But that doesn't make her non-controversial, which I totally loved. For one, Ardis is running from a difficult past - her mother was a single, Chinese courtesan. Her father is a giant question mark - all she has of his is her sword, Chung Yi (No idea if I'm spelling it right, #audiobookproblems) and a memory of a man with an eagle tattoo. Ardis really reminded me a lot of my favorite UF heroines - fierce and independent - so it's no surprise that I took to her immediately. I had mixed feelings about Wendel from start to finish, though. I mean, he's a necromancer! How cool is that? Why don't more books have necromancers?!? His powers are hard-core awesome and he says some of the sweetest and most poetic things. But he's incredibly flawed (which makes me like the book more, even if I'm not in love with him). Some of that is his past - being a necromancer is not a good thing (I know, I would have thought it was cool too!) so he's had a bit of a difficult history. And some of it is just that he's annoyingly secretive and selfish. Yeah, sure he's mostly good to Ardis. But you never lose that sense that he's looking out for himself above all else and at all costs. Another character we see a decent amount of was Constantine. Like Wendel, I'm really back and forth with him. At first, I did not like him at all. But as his character developed, I found him to be very much the nerdy, professor sort. He's a technomancer (again, totally cool!) and that means he's really into his gadgets. Sometimes I think he let his science take priority over people, but I think his heart is in the right place. One development made me feel particularly sorry for him, and softie that I am, I left the book liking him. But we'll see how his character develops. The Story... I really liked the story for Shadows of Asphodel. The world was really too cool - it combined familiar elements from 1913 with an alternate past where magic is a very real thing. I'm excited to see how the events that led to WWI in real life will develop over the course of this series. We've already seen some familiar historical events and tensions between the nations develop in Shadows of Asphodel along a slightly alternate, yet very familiar, path. Shadows of Asphodel is my first ever Dieselpunk read and I'm not even sure that's an official genre, but what the hey, it works for me! Basically I think it's steam punk, except that the gadgets are fueled by diesel and not steam. And those gadgets were too cool! You've got everything from airships to automatons! I loved the way technology and magic worked together throughout Shadows of Asphodel, too. Things we sort of recognize took on a whole new life with the added element of magic. I loved the little details too. We get constant (but not overbearing) reminders that everyone is not speaking English - because we're in Europe. Mostly it's German, which in itself adds an exciting element to the potential arch of the series. The view of Americans (like Ardis) is appropriate to the time. Heck, when things get steamy between Ardis and Wendel there's even mention of "preventatives" rather than condoms. Great attention to detail! The romance between Ardis & Wendel was a bit off for me. It was basically insta-love, something I'm rarely a fan of. What bothered me was that they're throwing the L word around but not even acting like they're really in love. So why not call it what it is? Lust with strong friendly feelings? Lust is definitely the right L-word to use because these two are rabbits! I'd almost call this a PNR - at least that's how I'd rate the amount of & graphicness of the sexual interaction ;) The only other thing I'd say is that I definitely drifted at points. The story has a lot of elements and some of them took me too far away from the main story line and I got a bit distracted. I can't put my finger on anything specific, but I know my mind wandered a bit. And when that happens and I don't feel like I missed anything, it probably wasn't necessary. Concluding Sentiments... I'm really glad Tiffany @ A Tiffyfit's Reading Corner connected me with this series. I love the world and the characters and can't wait for the next book to come to audio!
Did I enjoy this book: I’m all for steampunk err . . . dieselpunk, especially when it involves necromancy and hot chicks with swords. For some reason, though, I guess I failed to see the word “romance” at the end of the genre listing. Magic? Cool. Turn of the century robots? Cool. Secret organizations, mercenaries, dirigibles, and science? Very cool. But by the third round of sexy time I was channeling my inner Doge. Yep. I get it. Ardis and Wendel like each other. A lot. They’re all passionate and conflicted and kissy, and they’re full of sexual tension. I actually thought the first sex scene was completely appropriate – it’s difficult to write a relationship with so much turmoil, and Kincy’s portrayal of the couple’s first encounter is spot on. I would have preferred, though, more plot and fewer preventatives. Would I recommend it: Sure, as long as you’re not afraid of some less-than-proper language and a few sex scenes. As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Books. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dark, intense, and amazing, Shadows of Asphodel was just brilliant. I absolutely loved this New Adult dieselpunk read. It was darkly romantic, endlessly thrilling, and deeply emotional. I really enjoyed this fabulous book. Ardis was a very strong heroine. She didn't let herself be taken advantage of and took on every bad situation that was thrown at her. She was the very definition of bad ass. I really liked her. I thought she was awesome. Wendel was also great. He had a lot of secrets, so many so that I truly wondered about him a few times. And, I think that made him a very interesting character because he added a lot of complexity. He was very clever and a formidable opponent. But, he was also sweet and he tried to become a better person. I adored him. He was a perfectly flawed hero. The romance was lovely. Ardis and Wendel has some super hot chemistry and there was a ton of steaminess with these two. But, they were also genuinely sweet together. They were both very strong and they met their match in each other. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. There were tons of thrills that kept me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was wonderful. This is supposed to be the first in the series, and I don't know what's coming up, since the story was seemed fairly tied up at the end, but I would love to see more. Shadows of Asphodel was a brilliant New Adult romance. I loved this book. It was dark, romantic, thrilling, and just fantastic. Romance lovers, this book is a must read. *I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
When I was aproached about this book, I was pretty sure, just by the cover that I would like it. And sure enough I did. Plot: This is my kind of plot. Lots of action, always moving with plenty of drama and secrets. If anything, this story and the way it was build made me want to want more. I fell in love with the characters easily and can understand them as well. The plot moves at a fast paced but that did not derail me. I kept reading the book once I started it. Love: Wendel! He is the man!! This guy is ah-maz-ing!! Even though he is harsh there is something about him that just draws me in. NOt to mention Ardis. She is one tough gal. She fights and survives. She has this strength about her that just draws the reader. And bring both characters together…EXPLOSION!!!!! Fight/Ending: I think I held my breath pretty much at the end. I just could not read fast enough. I wanted to take everything in but I wanted to slow down to enjoy it as well..it just overwhelmed me! Needless to say, that i really enjoyed this book. It has lots of magic, great fights, a good interesting love that captures the reader right away. My only gripe is that sometimes the book slow down but I felt that did give the reader to catch up. Like one minute their on to something when the next, it goes off to something else. Still, I over all liked it. This is a great book! It’s certainly different from what I normally read so it did give my reading palette a good cleanse. Action packed with plenty of excitement, Shadows Of Asphodel is great!
Great characters and great author! I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down.
This year is the first year that I have read steampunk books and I must say that I love them. So when I read that Shadows of Asphodel is a dieselpunk romance I was immediately curious. As far as I can tell the difference is the time period and that the machinations are ran on diesel instead of steam. Thanks to Karen Kincey, I can now say that I love steampunk and dieselpunk stories. Several weeks have passed since I read Shadows of Asphodel and I must say that the book has stuck with me. I can recall vivid scenes from the book effortlessly and for those of you who read a lot you know that it is a rare book that stays with you that well. Shadows of Asphodel has fantasy, action, adventure, magic, a steamy romance, power struggles, and AMAZING characters placed into even more amazing settings. I’m not going to get into the characters other than to say that I admired both Ardis and Wendel. The author does such an amazing job of showing both the good and bad side of these characters and allowing the reader to form their own connection and understanding of them. The story is wrapped up nicely at the end and I am clinging to the last words of Ardis, “This isn’t the end,” she said. “This is the beginning.” Oh, I hope so because I really want to go on more adventures with these amazing characters. If you enjoy high adventure, steamy romance, complicated yet inspiring characters, and fascinating settings, then Shadows of Asphodel is a must read. *I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*
A gripping alternate history of World War I, filled with magic and swordfighting, steamy romance, and general badassery--a daring adventure you don't want to miss!