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➳ [Reading] ➶ Shadows of Asphodel By Karen Kincy ➩ –

Austria HungaryWendel 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 WhyArdis 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

10 thoughts on “Shadows of Asphodel

  1. says:

    Of all the subgenres in all the world, dieselpunk romance is my new passion You may be scratching your head and frowning right about now, but let me tell you this In Shadows of Asphodel, all the swords, zeppelins, necromancers, love and lust combined into a magical read that made me fall in love not only with the book, but with the genre itself Thorough and inspiring, Kincys s worldbuilding puts seasoned authors to shame Dieselpunk is still fairly unexplored, but I felt she included just the right number of diesel fueled inventions to turn this into a spectacular read In addition, the alternate history pre World War I setting was done extremely well, far removed from true events, and yet close enough to make everything that happens easily recognizable There were times when I wished this to be just a bit tightly plotted, but overall, it was an excellent read.In addition to the excellent worldbuilding, Kincy gave us Ardis, a heroine worthy of admiration As the half Asian daughter of a courtesan, she was never fully accepted and her life was always a struggle Even in such impossible circumstances, Ardis grew up to be a warrior a defender, a killer, or whatever else her employers, the Archmages, deem necessary And, proving that a tough exterior alone isn t enough for a spectacular heroine, she has a warm, tender and loyal heart underneath However, while Ardis charmed and thrilled me, the necromancer she rescued disappointed me at every turn I don t mind a tortured hero at all, but Wendel s surliness was taken just a bit too far I couldn t for the life of me understand what Ardis saw in him, and most of the time, I didn t believe a single word that came out of his mouth.I suppose it s clear that, while I loved the world and the heroine, the romance part of this dieselpunk romance fell a bit flat After a promising beginning, the relationship lost most of its appeal However, I stayed firmly on Ardis side throughout, and since her side was also Wendel s, somehow it all worked out I firmly believe that Karen Kincy, Shadows of Asphodel series and dieselpunk itself have a lot to give It s is a triangle filled with potential and I m so happy I came along for the ride.

  2. says:

    This was a book that when I finished reading I lay in bed and stared at the ceiling just thinking about it For hours I couldn t pick anything else up I just wanted to read it again I d been excited about reading this book for what has felt like a very long time I love Steampunk so when I heard this was Dieselpunk I was curious what the difference would be I have to say that for me, not someone fully versed in the difference, I couldn t really tell a difference All I know is that it was AWESOME These aspects of the book were actually quite light, so no worries about not understanding how things work or having complicated explanations My favorite part of the book is the characters I really liked Ardis a lot She s a mercenary, so she s definitely good with a sword She s kick ass and bold, she carries herself with confidence She s not full of angst and drama and I really, really loved this Not to say that she didn t have emotions, oh no she has stuff to deal with, but she deals with it, she doesn t dwell on it and go on and on all woe is me This book works for the New Adult age group due to the characters age, so the angst and drama tends to be a concern, but don t worry about that here While Ardis and Wendel have a rocky first meeting, it smoothes out quickly They have some issues, there has to be some drama, but it s only the necessary and realistic sort and nothing is drawn out longer than it should be I really appreciated this aspect of the book as it was truly perfect Wendel was a win from the start He s been hurt in the beginning, so he could be construed as weak, but he isn t Even injured he carries himself with confidence He s arrogant, bold and sure of himself He says what he thinks, but he s not one of those jerks that are mean just to drive people away He s not mean at all really While he and Ardis may have words a time or two, he s usually honest, even if he doesn t spill all his secrets While Wendel is arrogant and confident, he s still vulnerable and even broken This made him feel real, but never weak While necromancers may make some cringe, it may seem dirty, gross and wrong Wendel s confidence and sureness regarding this part of him, made it seem almost attractive The way he carries himself when doing what he does makes it seem like a quality, a very good thing Wendel may have a lot of demons but his acceptance of his necromancy and not being ashamed of it was something that I really, really loved Wendel will likely become the man that many girls will soon be swooning over Oh yes you must meet Wendel The romance happens pretty quickly and if I were to change one thing about this book it would be for the sexual tension to climb just a tad before it went anywhere However, this wouldn t be the same book if it did, and I really, really loved it as it was The pages sizzled with steam between these two There is sex, and it is a romance so we see it I m not one who loves descriptive sex in books, but it s not really negative, I just skim over it quickly The book isn t all sex or anything, so don t be too concerned about that But it IS there for all of you romance lovers.I loved the setting of the book They travel a lot, so it takes place over several areas of Europe, but much of it is in Vienna While it s not overly descriptive, and this may be a negative for some, I found it to work for this book I still could easily picture where they were and everything I thought it was great, and for those that aren t overly fond of historical settings, you may still enjoy this one.While I could have read this book straight through just because I loved it so much it was the last quarter or so that I couldn t put down I felt ALL THE FEELS Some really dark stuff goes down and all you want is for things to desperately work out So I feverishly read, terrified that it would end at a critical moment and we would be stuck with a cliffhanger But we weren t No cliffhanger It had an epic end in that some MAJOR stuff goes down, but the immediate issues have been dealt with However, there are still things that need to be solved I will be very anxiously awaiting the next book I CANNOT wait to see what goes down next A few notes for those who don t know This book is self published by the author, but she is previously traditionally published 3 books and she s clearly been professionally edited This book was as good as any traditionally published book, and personally I feel it was probably better because the author was able to take the book in the direction she wanted without anyone telling her that they didn t think it would work that way Sometimes authors need to follow their hearts and do it their way and I personally think that s best to stay true to the story This one gets 5 stars I had the biggest grin when I finished this book I have a feeling I ll be thinking about it for quite some time You can soon find this review on my blog, as well as others like it and unlike it , at

  3. says:

    This review can also be found on my blog Why did someone as bad as a necromancer have to look so good I should have known what was coming after that quote A book set in an alternate Austria Hungary 1912 That sounded like it was right up my alley Unfortunately, it ended up severely disappointing That started with the fact that for all the influence the setting had on the plot it could just as easily have been set in the Year of the Unicorn in a fantasy land with too many vowels in its name The Black Hand plays a role but they re just generic rebels that need to attack so that we get an action scene one of so many There is a mention of an assassination attempt in Franz Ferdinand but it doesn t influence the plot in any way.Though, to be honest, I was still entertained for quite a while Ardis is a mercenary and not one of those where you wonder how somebody that stupid survived that long She is capable but not super human Wendel is a character that has been through horrible things and it still affects him, even at inconvenient times.And the book is far from boring A lot of things are happening Constantly There is fighting And fighting And even fighting Then there s a big reveal though one that doesn t seem to affect the protagonists much Some fighting Then there s sex And fighting And sex And another reveal with no consequences Some sex More fightingThe characters are constantly busy But they don t develop And their relationship doesn t develop Considering this book is also marketed as paranormal romance that isunfortunate At the beginning Ardis distrusts Wendel because he s a necromancer and necromancers don t have a very good reputation Only he is also hot And smells good like a rainy pine forest Then plot reasons happen and they end up traveling together Wendel continues to be hot And admittedly acts in a way that shows that he isn t an utter asshole but has just decided to act like a jerk when everybody thinks necromancers are evil anyway Still, he also doesn t exactly radiate trustworthiness But he continues to be hot Then a lot of people tell Ardis she shouldn t trust Wendel and even that he s bad but she ignores them Presumably, because somebody who is so hot can t be a bad person Because nothing in Wendel s behaviour and refusal to talk about his past screams trust me.Now don t get me wrong Wendel has some good reasons for not talking about himself But at the same time, Ardis has no reason for trusting him, especially after several people tell her not to And this could have been a great source of conflict in the book But apparently, we only want to read about people getting beheaded with magic swords or people fucking for ages Now I like magic swords but I also like characters with complex emotions And the main emotion these characters had was lust And lust does not carry a whole book.

  4. says:

    The romance novel ish portion of the cover made me hesitate, but seeing it shelved as steampunk by fellow readers convinced me to pick it up regardless it s hard to resist a potentially interesting steampunk story Turns out this is actually dieselpunk machines run on diesel and not steam, and just in case you might overlook this fact, there s actually a scientist in the story named Diesel Heh So it appears this would be my first dieselpunk novel instead and it s not a bad start.This book managed to make the combination of aspects work the alternate history pre World War I setting, the romance, the diesel run inventions and even the necromancy magic had their place in the story and meshed well It didn t lack balance, which is particularly nice given how often the romance and this does have steamy scenes takes over the plot in mixed genre novels I was particularly fond of the alternate history setting it s somewhat reminiscent of the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld in that respect and the cross country travel via train really placed me right in the period not to mention it reminded me of Agatha Christie s The Mystery of the Blue Train and Murder on the Orient Express in the best way possible.I did find myself wanting background on the fantasy aspects, particularly Wendel s necromancy considering how important it is to the plot and how frequently it is used, it seems odd that we re only given the vaguest idea how it works and know very little about the extent of his power or why it s rare enough for him to be in such demand Ardis also makes an interesting discovery about her sword, but it s quickly brushed aside after a few comments and a foreboding prediction that never comes to pass just like most of the magic used, actually people just wave their hands and we re told the result And what about the Order of Asphodel Or the archmages that Ardis works for Two organizations that are key to the lives of the two main characters and I can honestly say I know next to nothing about them except that well, the Order of Asphodel is clearly BAD, since they ve done horrible things to Wendel, and the archmages are planning something fishy Our main characters are interesting, though I never really connected with either of them Ardis is tough, proud of her independence and intensely loyal bonus points for being half Asian and a mercenary to boot Wendel is extremely complicated and rather a puzzle to me he s a charming and frivolous playboy, emotionally battered outcast and arrogant asshat all in one The problem, however, was that their behaviour was often inconsistent with their established personalities For a mercenary who is supposed to be emotionally distant and cynical, Ardis is remarkably quick to trust Wendel and even quicker to want a permanent relationship with him One moment she is vocally disgusted by necromancers to the point of refusing to touch Wendel, and a short conversation or two later she is considering sleeping with him and hurt that he would plan to leave Girl, you ve just met him The same applies to Wendel his mood swings are so severe that it s hard to know what to believe The romantic relationship between the two is probably one of the weakest points of the story, which is sad considering how central it is to their respective motivations There s no way to describe it other than insta love, really They meet, they exchange harsh words, take a train together and BAM, deep attraction develops while they still know next to nothing about each other and we move right on to sexy times, where the big L word is already tossed out There s a major disconnect between what we re actually told that it s love and Ardis loyalty Wendel s willingness to sacrifice is motivated by this and what we actually see, which is a whole lot of lust and not a lot of trust For all her love, Ardis simply doesn t appear to trust Wendel at all.Despite the issues I had with the romance and character inconsistencies, the story as a whole was largely enjoyable it s certainly action packed and doesn t want for pace There s also plenty left to be explored with the characters complicated back stories, so it has potential to get better Worth a shot.

  5. says:

    Shadows of Asphodel is a breathtaking page turner The action starts at page one of this book and it practically never stops The many twists and turns, unexpected plot developments and reveals, combined with all the layers of character building and magnificent historical backdrop, result in a novel that is not only action packed and epic, but also quite intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging I loved the setting of this book It s not so much a steampunk novel, as it is dieselpunk and the first dieselpunk I ve ever read at that We ve got the fantastic and beautifully described historical setting, but then we ve also got guns and cars, and some other things you wouldn t see in a typical steampunk novel I thought that was really cool and I loved how swiftly and skilfully Karen weaved together the history with the modern world I mean, come on Rudolf Diesel himself is one of the characters in this book How incredibly cool is that Karen s descriptions of Ardis and Wendel s relationship and particularly the spine tingling sexual tension between them put the steam in this steampunk novel The sex scenes were just perfect for my taste not too explicit, very tasteful and subtle, and yet completely mind blowing in a good way I loved the dynamics of their relationship They are two very different people, with seemingly nothing in common, thrown together and expected to survive, all the while trying to make sense of what s happening between them and how it affects their lives It was hot and heartpounding, yes, but it was also quite brilliant and complex The romance between them, while maybe a tiny bit awkward and rushed at the beginning, was overall completely mesmerizing and convincing I loved it Both the lead characters were simply awesome Ardis, the sword wielding, half Chinese mercenary for Austria Hungary, and Wendel, the mysterious, badass yet vulnerable Necromancer They make an explosive duo Their interactions are full of tension and chemistry, but they don t lack humor either They re both sharp and tough, guarded and wary of everyone around them, and yet their connection and strong attraction to each other is undeniable I liked Ardis a lot, but I liked Wendel even He is one extremely complex character, with a dark, secret filled past and some heavy burdens to carry in his life The we learn about him, the better we understand him and the we warm up to him He was definitely my favorite character in this book I ll be honest, I did not expect to love this book as much as I did Adult steampunk or dieselpunk novels tend to be hit or miss with me, especially if they involve sex scenes Thankfully, Karen Kincy s Shadows of Asphodel turned out to be a perfectly balanced blend of fantasy, science fiction, history and romance, and once I picked it up, I did not want to put it down The world and character building in this book is supreme The action sequences are described with such amazing clarity, they re almost cinematic And the plot line is well thought out, captivating and full of tension and not just sexual tension, either It s a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good story set against a glamorous and vibrant historical background You will not be disappointed with this one

  6. says:

    Ifell in love with this book Or maybe it is just Wendel Yeah, maybe I fell in love with Wendel Wendel Ardis Nope, I fell in love with Wendel AND this book A little steampunk, a little magic, a little romance, incredible passion, thirst for revenge, when I finished, I sighed happily Necromancy is fascinating, he murmured There s a certain repulsive elegance about the magic With it, I can recover memories long lost I can speak to the dead who left this world days, weeks, even centuries ago Ardis is a half chinese, half european assassin, working for the archmages, the world on the brink of war She finds Wendel bleeding and wounded in the snow, quickly discovering he is a Necromancer, a very rare magic wielder Wendel is close lipped about his past, only hinting that he was disinherited by his noble family when they discovered what he can do As he and Ardis work together, they fall for one another quickly There was something about this book where I didn t mind how quickly Ardis and Wendel fell for one another Normally, I d kvetch a bit about insta love, but I was totally pleased with this development TOTALLY It made my heart melt Wendel is hell bent on destroying the Order of Asphodel, his torturers, his commanders, whatever you want to call them They only use him and abuse him Ardis discovers she has a link there that she wasn t previously aware of Wendel is subtle and sweet and strong Ardis is leery of everyone but keeps feeling that tug towards Wendel At one point, I was really ticked with her thinking that she was betraying him but all is well later Wendel is full of these poetic phrases that just tug on your heart strings The truth of my life, he said, will die with me, as it does with us all And my memories will fade as my bones grow old, and I will love on only in the memories of those who cared I should not be forgotten how lovely and true is this That is true immortality being remembered by those who loved you He later went on to break my heart when he says to Ardis Ardis, he said I wish I She drew back to look at him, and he closed his eyes Maybe he couldn t look at her I wish I weren t so broken, he whispered And then he totally wrecked me with his discovery of why the other necromancers failed to master death or come back from the dead But I won t quote that one I want that impact to remain for you as you pick up this book This is a re readable for sure and I can only hope there will be future stories with Wendel and Ardis or perhaps in the same world, but not with them I don t knowI just want to read disclaimer my copy was a review copy given in exchange for an honest review.

  7. says:

    4.5Unexpectedly romantic When I requested for this book, I thought I would just love it because of the action it promises However, now I love it because of the characters interaction They re just MFEO MADE FOR EACH OTHER _ Now you might think that I m just romanticizing their story, but no They re truly a romantic pair ARDIS, my darling mercenary, is a kickass girl who s known for her ruthlessness in battle She ran from her past and is currently living with lots of blood in her hands, obviously because of her profession She meets, ahem, MY WENDEL, who in so many ways, is a gentleman However, she didn t start out knowing him like that She thought he was something to be disgusted with, being a necromancer and all that I m just so glad that Wendel proved him wrong Wendel, Wendel, Wendel Where do I even start MY Wendel is hot Not just hot, but also dashing, charming, handsome in a refined way He s such a catch and yes, HE S MIINNEEE fangirlalertNow that that s out of the wayWendel is the kind of hero that is vulnerable on the inside, but all charming and badass on the outside He maybe your unconventional guy, but he is sweet most of the time I like how he interacts with Ardis, like she s really a fine woman and not just a mercenary I like how he took his oath seriously and I like how he was able to keep all of his promises to Ardis Wendel might be such a mystery, but there s no deying that he s totally head over heels with Ardis and boy, he s not afraid of expressing it Our heroine on the other hand, isn t the same With her past clouding her present, she has a lot of baggage that she holds on to The twist here even made her life complicated, so i forgive her for not being so expressive However, she is truly loyal I give you that I honestly thought that this book won t be so romantic I was wrong and I was shocked because man that ending Okay okaayyy. YOU JUST HAVE TO READ IT In this book, you ll find out just how amazing it can be when a mercenary meets her umm. necromancer Trust me It s everything you never expected The thrill, the action, the love. even the drama It all manages to make this amazing Better than amazing, actually A review copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

  8. says:

    Review also posted at Ja itam, a ti The time setting of this book is a very familiar to all of us We all remember history classes and the whole First World War period We know that Germany was preparing for the big war and that a lot of army and arms were included But this book will show you that not only human inventions were part of this era, but some paranormal forces as well Ardis, our main character here is a mercenary and her task for Austira Hungary is to kill people with her skills With that she is half American and half Chinese, an unusual combination for that time, which brought her the life of mercenary in a first place Once on a battlefield when she sees a man bleeding to death, it s strange that it hits her stronger than she would expect She killed many after all But soon enough she discovers that the bleeding stranger is than usual man, he is actually a necromancer and if she let s him die he might return as a monster She cannot let that happen Upon saving him, he swears fealty to her Now they re somehow stuck together, and soon enough they discover what a great team they are On all fields While Ardis was someone I could easily connect with, Wendel and I have some issues to overcome He is a great portrayal of necromancer, person who had a really tough past to deal with Still I had some problems with some of his actions But, on the other side the world building and the whole setting has everything I could ask for We re in the center of activities but at the same time we re far from it The whole war idea is in the air but we can see everyday lives of people and the whole network of people behind the curtains I have a strong feeling that Karen Kincy has to offer to the whole steampunk genre and be sure that I ll be waiting to see what.

  9. says:

    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 .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

  10. says:

    I received this book from the publisher curiosity quills as part of the book tour for book 2 storms of Lazarus in exchange for an honest review This is my first time reading a steampunk novel and well I didn t hate this book I didn t love it either, I m definitely somewhere in the middle with it I at times liked the characters on a few occasions I wasn t so keen on them, I didn t really connect strongly with either of the main characters The archmage for me was what probably saved it, I think he was the better character and I liked when he popped up I think my biggest issue with this book was the insta love one minute they meet a few harsh words are tossed around at each other Ardis doesn t want Wendal touching her and the next there kissing on the train and then love no I just couldn t really find it believable At times I felt like this book was rather on the slow side too then when it did start to get some kickass moments it ended all to quickly for me Overall this is a good book but it didn t really grab me and demand to be read I struggled to keep reading at times and that s the reason for the slightly lower rating I like a book to grab me and keep me hooked until the end.