Rummanah Aasi

 I'm delighted to be part of the Shadows of Asphodel blog tour hosted by CBB book promotions! Today I have a guest post from the author, Karen Kincy, on her top ten favorite words along with my review of Shadows of Asphodel. You can follow the Shadows of Asphodel tour here and be sure to check out the awesome giveaway below my review.

Karen Kincy's Top Ten Favorite Words 
Karen Kincy

Since I’m a linguistics major, I’m going to have to go with my top ten favorite words. – Karen

1. Syzygy. This word is so hard to spell it’s awesome. It’s used to describe three celestial bodies in a straight line, like when you get the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon in a row during an eclipse.

2. Antediluvian. It means “before the flood” and looks appropriately epic. I used to have this word as part of a wifi password until the number of syllables drove my husband crazy.

3. Serendipity. Also has a lovely meaning. I always like happy accidents or pleasant surprises.

4. Absinthe. This one word evokes the Art Nouveau world of the Belle Époque for me. The word itself sounds smoky and slithering.

5. Lavender. Ironically, lavender makes me sneeze, but I love how this word feels in my mouth.

6. Archangel. Also brings to mind seraphim, which is another awesome word. I always loved the name Serafina Pekkala from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for that reason. I believe he said he found the name in a Finnish phone book.

7. Maelstrom. This is why I love English. It borrows so many badass-sounding words from other languages. Maelstrom is basically a Viking word for a big whirlpool.

8. Chocolate. Especially when used in the same sentence with “Karen” and “eat.”

9. Evanescence. I think the band has put permanent dibs on this word for the time being. To evanesce means to disappear like vapor, the way a rainbow does eventually.

10. Labyrinthine. I wouldn’t want to be trapped in a labyrinth, but this word sounds like a fantasy story waiting to happen.


Review of Shadows of Asphodel

Description: 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?

Review: Shadows of Asphodel is my first dieselpunk romance, which is much like steampunk but the alternative setting is not Victorian but rather pre-World War I and the gadgets are centered on diesel instead of steam. It is clear that the author loved and did her research of this time period really well. The setting is vivid and I can imagine myself on the battlefields where we find Ardis and Wendel, the stars of the novel. Unlike some authors, Kincy doesn't dump large chunks of information on her readers, but gives us little clues as to how the society works- both on a fantasy angle as well as a social structure. Important historical figures of the time such as Francis Ferdinand and Rudolf Diesel were mentioned or even characters themselves in the story. The more I read, the book I was sucked into the world that Kincy created.
  Ardis and Wendel are both very intriguing characters who have hidden scars and haunted pasts. Though they may act as if they are two very different people, they are very similar in many ways. Ardis is afraid of death though she makes no hesitation in killing someone. Wendel is afraid of his necromancy skills but yet is fascinated by it at the same time. I also loved the fact that Ardis is of mixed race, but I wish we got to unravel the mystery of Chun Yi, Ardis's sword and family heirloom and of her father. Wendel is a character that had me curious at the start. For the longest time I was ambivalent towards Wendel. He could be at times sweet and vulnerable while other times I just wasn't sure if I could trust him. I was really surprised how fast Ardis trusted him with they first met.
  The romance between Ardis and Wendel started a bit too quickly for me. While I liked the sexual tension between the characters, I would have liked to see their relationship grow slowly since both have issues with trust, but I did enjoy their banter and their romance is sweet. I really appreciated that the romance of Shadows of Asphodel didn't overshadow the plot but rather enhanced it, showing how Ardis and Wendel came together to overcome their obstacles.
  Besides the rushed romance, the only other problem I had with Shadows of Asphodel is that the dialogue was all in modern American voice even though the characters came a different backgrounds and they should have been a bit different considering their different nationalities. The story's timeline is also a bit inconsistent sometimes such as Ardis can stay up late through one night but really three nights have past and we don't know what happened in those days. Though the action was nonstop in the book, I didn't get my reading groove into the story for about the first 6 chapters or so which is not to say a problem of the book but me trying to wrap my head around the setting and characters. Overall, I enjoyed Shadows of Asphodel and readers looking for a fun read to cleanse their reading palates should really consider picking this one up.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence, some language, and graphic sexual situations. Recommended for older teens and adults.

If you like this book try: The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress, Her Ladyship Curse by Lynn Viehl

GIVEAWAY





10 Responses
  1. I've not heard of this book, nor have I heard of "dieselpunk." Sounds interesting. Thanks!


  2. Alden Says:

    I haven't read any dieselpunk, but this does look interesting. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Jenny Says:

    " 8. Chocolate. Especially when used in the same sentence with 'Karen' and 'eat.'"

    Please throw the word "Jenny" in that sentence along with "Karen"!!! Yes to chocolate. And I've always been a fan of the word archangel as well, it makes me think of one of my very favorite book series by Nalini Singh:)

    Glad you enjoyed this book overall Rummanah! I really liked the setting and the world as well, I just had so many questions about it and those kept me from getting fully immersed. Of course, when I was reading I didn't realize this was the first in a series, so all my unanswered questions were more bothersome for me than they would have been otherwise. I fail:) Still, I'm looking forward to what comes next!


  4. What an interesting concept - dieselpunk. I've never heard of it but I love the idea of a twist on steampunk. And syzygy is a super cool word.


  5. Candace Says:

    I'm glad you mostly enjoyed this one. I have to admit, I was on pins and needles, wondering what you would think. ;) I don't usually like a quick romance, but I felt like it worked in this one. For me anyway. It was more lust at first and wasn't love until later, after they'd had more time together.
    Thanks for hosting a tour stop!
    Oh, and I love the word list, that's a good one! Absinthe is a great word, I definitely agree there!


  6. First of all, a big hug for Karen. We linguists are a weird bunch, but who cares? We have fun.
    Rummanah, I understand your doubts about Wendel. As much as I liked Ardis, I never felt like I could trust him, and the romance was a bit of a disappointment for me. Everything else was a huge success, but I couldn't for the life of me understand what that girl saw in him.
    Lovely review!


  7. I just wrote my review on this and I had some of the same concerns you did. I though felt that the romance totally overshadowed the plot and I was not a fan of the quick development. Still there was a lot to like with this one. I really wanted to know more about that sword as well.


  8. I'm so curious about dieselpunk! The world sounds so good and I think I could ignore the language. However, I think it might have bothered me before I was made aware of it. :)

    Also love that language list! :)


  9. Well, thanks for explaining to me what dieselpunk is! Where did you find that definition? I didn't have a problem with the relationship. I liked Wendel very much though I did think he was moody, I understood him. Knowing that it was a series also helped. I do have to say I was getting nervous towards the end of the Kindle and there was just 3% left and so much to resolve! But I liked the ending.

    It's going to bother me that I can't pronounce that first word!


  10. I love steampunk but this is the first time I've heard about dieselpunk, Rummanah! I really like the sound of the worldbuilding in this one. It's too bad though that the romance is rushed, but it's good that it doesn't overshadow the plot.

    Love the list of words Karen's favourite words. I wish she had written how to pronounce the first one though!


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