Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AimeeKay Review: Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

Series: Shadows of Asphodel #1
350 p.
Publisher: Createspace
Published: 9/13/13
Source: From author for review
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.
AimeeKay's Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Shadows. The characters were fun and interesting, the story was intriguing and the world building was well done. However, there were a few points that bothered me. These points are the reason I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars instead of a full 5. However that missing star I really don't think should stop you from giving this first book in the series a chance.

Let's start with what I did like.

The characters.

I loved Ardis and Wendel! I know, they are the main characters, so obviously I'm going to hopefully like them right? But really I enjoyed everything about them. They are funny and addicting. I loved watching their verbal sparring. It was just plain fun. I also enjoyed the other characters as well. The supporting characters, like Konstantin, were interesting as well. I also really liked how all the characters just worked together and with the rest of the people in the world that Kincy has built. Sometimes in a novel a lot of the interactions between main characters and the rest of the characters in the world just seems stilted or padding, but the author really fit them in well. If anything at all, I wish that maybe I could have gotten to know some of the extra characters a bit more. But considering that this is the first book in the series, I'm gonna assume that I will get the chance in future installments.

I loved the story! I read A LOT of books and sometimes I find it easy to predict what is going to happen. Some things I did expect, but there were a few things that I didn't. Which was nice. For example, and I don't want to give anything away, but I did think one thing was going to happen in the romance department and it soooo didn't. It was a REALLY nice surprise. I'm not going to say what, like I said I don't want to spoil the story and the romance is a big part of it. I also really liked that while it is a romance, it isn't JUST a romance. There is lots of other stuff going on. There's action, adventure, mystery.

The world! I like the alternate history that Kincy has created. Interesting to see a world that doesn't use guns not because it doesn't have them, but because it can't anymore. I can't wait to see more of the world in the next books.

What I had issues with. Ok. So maybe some of these are just me. And yes, I know that a few might seem a bit petty. But they bothered me. Just to get it out of the way let's start with the pettiest. The cover. I liked the cover when we first saw it, I still do. However I don't think that the description given of Ardis in the book, matches the woman on the cover in one main way. Her hair. In the book it says she has "tawny lion-colored hair". But on the cover the woman's hair is black. I know this shouldn't bother me so much. But in the book Ardis's appearance is important. Her mixed heritage is constantly something that people notice. Especially the contrast between her hair color and the shape of her eyes. I pictured her with the lighter hair. So seeing a character with an obviously different hair color on the cover, well, it just bugs me. Like I said it's the pettiest reason, which is why I just wanted to get it out of the way. I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover, and if the cover difference was the only issue I wouldn't have taken the star, I would have mentioned it since the cover is one of the main things that attracted me to the book in the first place, but I wouldn't have taken a star.

Ok on to my other issues. There are two. There are some spoilers here, so I apologize, but these things really bugged me.

The first is the insta-love/lust between Ardis and Wendel. The first few chapters really pushes the fact that Wendel being a necromancer is considered one of the worst things possible in the world Kincy has created. There is even a point where Ardis refuses to help Wendel up simply because he is one and she doesn't want to touch him. Yet, then she turns around and is attracted to him. I'm not saying that as a character she can't grow and overcome a prejudice. I understand it's needed to move the romantic part of the storyline along, however it just seems to happen REALLY quickly. So sorry it bugged me.

The second is the ending. I have a love/hate thing going on with it so please forgive any spoilers as I try to explain my view. Ok. Loved it because I love Ardis and Wendel. Things happen at the end to them and I'm glad they did. I also understand that the reason it ends the way it does is because it is the first book in a series. Honestly I think it is left in such a way to set it up for another book to happen. However. The ending just seemed rushed. After everything that had happened so far everything that happened at the end was just squished into the final pages. Again, personal opinion.

There those are my reasons good and bad for giving Shadows 4 out of 5 stars. I think overall it is a solid book. The ending prevents it from being a completely stand alone novel, too many strings left hanging and all that. But the characters are fun and the story is just great. I would definitely recommend this one. I will put in a disclaimer that this book isn't for kiddies though. Only recommending to 18+. Reason? Sex scenes. Well written and fun sex scenes, but still sex scenes. So please don't buy it for your kids. But definitely buy it for yourself!


  1. I understand what you mean about the girl on the cover. That's how I felt about The Immortal Rules. It sounds good though!

  2. I always have some problems with insta-love I confess... Sometimes it's well done but it's something that really upsets me. It sounds like a really nice book and I agree with you it's interesting when you have some surprises all along the story.

  3. Insta-love can be one of things that take me out of a story. However, it sounds like outside of that it was a really solid story that delivered!

  4. I didn't mind how the romance progressed in this one. At least not too much. I know it was fast but I kind of preferred that over taking too long. For this book anyway. And the second book is out now and a lot more happens! Thanks for giving this one a try!
    Oh, and the cover. I feel like an idiot because I did NOT notice that at all. I mean, the descriptions of her. I imagined her my own way or something, I totally didn't catch her having blonde hair. So for me, she matches the Ardis I imagined.

  5. I had some issues with Wendel and his attitude, but I adored Ardis, and I certainly enjoyed the sub-genre. It was so interestingly done! It should be getting more attention. Great review!

  6. Yes I liked this one well enough but Wendel drove me nuts and I didnt like the insta love and after reading the second one, I am was bothered by Konstantin, I don' tremember if he was so timid and blushing in this one.

  7. Thanks for reviewing! I think I would enjoy this one because of those characters. Yea, not a fan of insta love, but it didn't seem to bug you so much that you hated it. I think I can deal with that. :) Oh and I know what you mean about the covers. I hate when that happens.

  8. I love this cover, and it sounds fabulous! Great review!

  9. While I don't know if I'll ever pick this up, I like that they can't use guns in their world. Definitely makes writing the world a bit more difficult and intriguing!

  10. Usually i'll say i hate insta-love and for the most part I do but even I have to admit every once in a while it just works with the story or doesn't seem too cheesy (you know?) LOL! Lovely review Melissa! I'll have to pick this one up!

  11. Usually i'll say i hate insta-love and for the most part I do but even I have to admit every once in a while it just works with the story or doesn't seem too cheesy (you know?) LOL! Lovely review ! I'll have to pick this one up!

  12. 4/5 Stars is definitely a promising, solid start and I'm really looking forward to reading this--especially because the reviews for the sequel seem to be stellar as well. Wonderful review, dear--bumping this up my TBR for sure!

  13. I think it still sounds really good despite the few flaws you mentioned.

    The cover thing would bother me too since her looks seem to be a big deal to the story.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  14. Yep I often wonder if why the cover models don't all match the author description of the characters.

  15. Glad you'all loved the review! Thanks for all the comments! I didn't know the second book was out so definitely gonna have to look into that one!

  16. LOL the cover thing so gets me too! I know it's not always in the authors control but when they don't match it just gets under my skin too.

    It does sound like an interesting one. Love when an author can keep me guessing or surprise me now and again :)

  17. This sounds like a book I'd quite enjoy but the things you didn't like would definitely grate on my nerves, especially the insta-love/lust.

    A great review.

  18. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this despite your issues with the instalove. I've been wanting to check this out and I have a feeling I would like it, even though I'll probably have the same minor annoyances as you. Lovely review!

  19. It sounds super interesting. I like books with a historical background! And a story about a necromancer, I'm intriqued already. :)

  20. Thanks again for all the comment luv!
    I think this is the LONGEST review I've ever written so thanks for sticking with me through my rambling!

  21. I agree that the ending was rushed, but I didn't mind it as much. As for the cover, did you see the first one? This one was a redesign, and I guess she had to find the closest stock pic for her heroine and this was what she found :) Anyway, definitely a book with a great potential. I'll be reading the next one. Excellent review!

  22. Sounds like an interesting read! I can definitely understand some of the things that bugged you (especially the cover! Gosh, people, get it right!). But I may have to check this out at some point.


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