Sunday, 20 May 2018

Shadows Of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy
First published in America in September 2013.

One of my Top Ten Books for IndiePrideDay 2016

How I got this book:
Purchased during the Indie Steampunk Book Extravaganza 2 event on Facebook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.97 / £2.21 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

She never asked for the undying loyalty of a necromancer.

1913. Austria-Hungary. Wendel may be devilishly handsome, a charming bastard with the manners of disinherited royalty, but he's an abomination. His skin shivers with the icy fire of necromancy. With one touch, he can raise the dead. Worse still, he's being hunted by assassins from Constantinople, and he would rather die than confess why.

Ardis escaped her own dark past, fleeing from America as a fugitive to become a mercenary for the Archmages of Vienna. When she discovers Wendel bleeding out on the battlefield, she saves his life with a ransom in mind. She never asked for him to fall to one knee and declare his undying loyalty, or for tension to smolder hot between them. Especially once she discovers his scars run much deeper than his skin.

I mentioned this book as one of my Series To Continue for 50/50 Friday last week at which point I realised its review was one which hadn't yet been transferred from my Stephanie Jane blog to Literary Flits.
Apparently, Shadows Of Asphodel isn't truly steampunk, but dieselpunk, as the setting is just ahead of The Great War when diesel engines existed in the real world. However, the novel contains the same blend of strong characters, especially female characters, that I have come to expect, interwoven with magical elements, incredible inventions and dastardly deeds!

I loved the characters in Shadows Of Asphodel. Our heroine, Ardis, is strong and independent, making her own decisions and dealing with their aftermath. Along the way, she picks up an emotionally damaged necromancer, Wendel, who is a great creation. I admit to being just a little in lust with Wendel! Despite and because of each other, Ardis and Wendel find their paths link together and their witty sparring dialogue is fun to read. I presume the people on the book's cover are meant to be Ardis and Wendel though. If so, I'm not sure that Ardis does look half-Chinese?

Kincy has cleverly woven her tale around the real momentous events of 1913 and I appreciated how magical fictions, such as the Hex, seemed to easily slot in alongside the truth. Making it feel so natural to the reader must take a lot of rewrites and research! Most settings are atmospherically described and I am now particularly drawn to visiting Vienna. The descriptive passages rarely slow the pace of the novel and I liked the inclusion of little details such as all the books in the way on Konstantin's bed.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Karen Kincy / Steampunk fiction / Books from America


  1. This sounds like fun. I don't think that I have heard the term dieselpunk before but it makes sense. Glad you enjoyed this one!

    1. I hadn't heard of it before reading Shadows

  2. I hadn't heard of this one but it sounds good and I am liking that cover.

  3. I love their verbal sparring, too. I really should continue on with this series. I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the books.

    1. Me too! I've now got the 2nd book on my Amazon wishlist so I don't forget in my next buying spree.

  4. I love necromancer stories and this sounds like a good one. Sounds like some great characters. Thanks for dropping by my blog.
    sherry @ fundinmental Sunday Memesv

    1. Ardis and Wendel are both fab characters :-)

  5. I enjoyed this one. Glad to see you did as well :)

  6. I've had this on my TBR for a while! Wendel sounds like someone I'd like too, haha. And their relationship sounds great! Honestly I wouldn't even know the difference between steampunk and dieselpunk lol. Anyway, this sounds great, and I'll have to get to it at some point!

  7. It's set the year right before WW1... does that come into play in any way? I never heard of dieselpunk before but that makes a lot of sense as well. I do love the steampunk genre and think it's really underrated so I would be curious to try this one out!

    1. I can't remember now whether Shadows of Asphodel continues into the First World War or whether it remains in the Balkan conflicts that pre-dated WW1