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Blood and Iron (Promethean Age, #1)
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Blood and Iron (Promethean Age #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,239 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
She is known as Seeker. Spellbound by the Faerie Queen, she has abducted human children for her mistress’s pleasure for what seems like an eternity, unable to free herself from servitude and reclaim her own humanity.
Seeker’s latest prey is a Merlin. Named after the legendary wizard of Camelot, Merlins are not simply those who wield magic––they are magic. Now, with the Prom
Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Ace Books
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I couldn't get involved. Too much backstory. Too many competing mythologies. Fae, werewolves, Arthurian legend, talking trees, oblique references to events and people I couldn't keep straight.

The problem might be in me.
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sff
The one where Seeker is a half-fae compelled by some sort of blackmail to serve the Queen of Faerie, who takes her off the task of kidnapping mortals and sends her to bind this generation's Merlin.

I did not like this book.

The author has packed into it every bit of British Isles mythology she can think of plus some she just made up. (Werewolves who change whenever they like, except at the new moon?) Two hundred and fifty pages in, she was still introducing new rules, so that I was forever having
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
A frustrating book which could've been better than it was, I think.

The overall story is the type of thing I enjoy - magic vs. science, ancient vs. modern, with a sort of complex morality where both sides are right, and both sides are wrong, and you sort of like them and hate them equally. Well, not quite equally as, despite everything, I did side with Faerie because, as the Merlin said, a greenhouse is not a garden, and a garden is not a jungle, and I like a bit of wildness, me.

But the character
Ben Babcock
It's always delightful discovering another author in one's favourite genre whose entire oeuvre you want to read after finishing just one book.

Blood and Iron begins in media res, with an agent of Faerie--the Seeker of the Daoine Sidhe--and an agent of humanity--the Promethean Club's Matthew Szczegielniak--chasing the same quarry: a faerie changeling. After introducing us to these two main characters, the book pulls back in scope and reveals the centuries-old conflict between Faerie and the Promet
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Genre: fantasy, possibly epic fantasy and arguably urban fantasy, but mostly it's fantisy with fairies.

Half-way though the novel I was still unsure what the book is gonna do plot-wise... however, the characters and their evolving interactions are fascinating. It was described to me as "magic and fairie in modern New York" but it's rather more like Fairie with a dash of modern for relief. It really catches the feel of a court of immortals - the interpersonal histories go back a long, long time an
Feb 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-urban
I might go back to this book; I don't know. I reached page 196 and realized I didn't care about any of the characters. I wasn't even curious about them. Bear's idea is good, but it seems, as several other reviews have pointed out, that she is throwing every single myth or legend motif into the mix, and it doesn't quite work. In some ways, it feels like she is going down a list. Okay, I mentioned a kelpie, now I need to mention Arthur, and so on. Her twist on Merlin was cool, but even that charac ...more
Catherine Schaff-Stump
May 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Artifice=high. Heart=low. Too many impossible things before breakfast.
The powers of faerie are fighting a losing war with the iron powers of humans. This generation’s Merlin has been found, and both the faerie Seeker and mage Matthew of the human Prometheus Club must try to win her loyalty for their side. But this time it’s more than just the Merlin – a dragon prince is coming, a man in the mold of Arthur and Vlad Dracula, who will pay the mother dragon in blood as he is destined to do.

This is a really excellent book. It divides its time between the eerie realms o
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was my first book by Elizabeth Bear. It is intended to be the first book in (I quote from Bear's website) "a sprawling same-world fantasy cycle beginning in Summer 2006 with Blood & Iron, followed in 2007 by Whiskey & Water. These books deal with the five-century-old silent war between Faerie and the iron world, and the lives altered and destroyed on either side."
I really wanted to like this book a lot, but I found it hard to get into. It was very similar, I thought, to many other b
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-fantasy
If you are expecting a simple urban fantasy story with mages and faeries, then you are in for quite a shock here. Blood an Iron is a novel to be read slowly, to be savored, and to be reread. As such, I have to admit that I didn't understand some of the references. The characters speak in riddles and do not spell everything out for you. It is as if we are looking through a window into their lives, not as if they were telling us a story. All of the characters understand the mythology and what is g ...more
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 10, 2006, fantasy
Wow. I loved this book.

Bear has created a complicated and compelling world and tale in Blood and Iron. It builds on many well-known tales, particularly using Tam Lin, the Celtic faeries and the Arthurian legends, but with her own, personal and I think brilliant spin.

The writing is beautiful; evocative, complex, metaphorical and lyrical. She paints pictures with words that touch the emotions and drag the reader in.

There are layers upon layers here and I'm sure I didn't get all of them on this fir
Patrick Hurley
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found this book... frustrating. I think Elizabeth Bear is a fine writer, and I absolutely love her short fiction, but her novel didn't work for me. It had a lot of great ideas--a fascinating combination of myths with urban fantasy. In fact, the problem was that there were FAR too many of these ideas, so much so that it felt cramped and bloated. In one novel you have a band of wizards, warring Shakespearean and Celtic fairy courts, something like a dozen fairy queens, werewolves tribes, dukes o ...more
Mar 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
I found this to be a remarkably frustrating read. The first third or so is a terrific fantasy novel dealing with the Fae and a post-Arthurian mythos that I found fascinating. The rest of the book seemed as if it was written by a different author. The protagonist, a woman warrior caught up in Fae politics and developing into the next defacto ruler, suddenly becomes wildly unsympathetic. She enslaves one of the Unseelie Fae, breaks him and engages in what can only be viewed as nonconsensual sex (i ...more
Dec 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
A good book will educate you - show you what you don't know in a gentle fashion, increasing your knowledge. It will make you want to learn more once you're done reading it.
By comparison, a bad book will just whap you about the head with what you don't know without telling you anything. This book just seemed to delight in frustrating me with what I didn't know about Celtic mythology and Arthurian legend, and reading it was like pulling out my teeth via the soles of my feet.
I guess that's my way o
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Werewolves. Fae. Magic. A rich, detailed world with marvelous, multilayered characters.

And the Kelpie? OMG, the Kelpie.

The Kelpie is twice a scary, thrice as hot, and ten times as heartbreaking the second time around. And rereading this after having read the other 3 books, I can see where Bear was already laying the foundations for the other stories, weaving in references to characters we don't meet until later.

This book is probably my fourth-favorite book ever. Ri
Jason Sheets
Mar 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reads
I tried.

This one is going back on the shelf and then, at some point, back to the used-book store. I rarely give up on any book, but it is becoming a chore for me to read. The main characters are exceedingly dull. The blend of "Faerie" mythology, Arthurian legend, and werewolves isn't so much confusing as it is annoying. After reading through roughly a third of this book, I can honestly say I could not care less what happens in the remaining two-thirds.

Having said all that, I *will* be reading he
Catherine  Mustread
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy, nyc
A complex and fascinating fantasy set partly in modern NYC and partly in the faerie realm, where power, politics and the make-up of the world is shifting and all are in danger.  Difficult to summarize or describe but I greatly enjoyed this first book in the Promethean Age series.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I impulsively picked up Blood and Iron from the library, and it's more readable than I expected from the excerpt on the author's web site. I'm honestly bored of Arthurian/Celtic stuff, but this one is moderately interesting, at least in terms of suitable bedtime reading. Yes, I damn with faint praise.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
Racefail 2009. Will not read books by Bear.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of dark fairy tales
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was absolutely spellbinding. I love Elizabeth Bear's work--her fantasy has a gritty realism but never loses the magical feel either. Her characters are fully realized adults, with adult problems. NOthing is every simple, and no one is ever wholly good or evil. Everything is in that gray area where all the interesting stuff happens! While the story of conflict between the human world and the faerie realm isn't new, it's never been told this way. There are many layers of myths here, and you j ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Hate to say this, because I really like Bear's more recent work a whole ton (esp. her collaboration with Sarah Monette), but this just didn't click for me. Made myself finish. It was gorgeously written and at the same time a little too deeply involved with itself so that it didn't communicate with me sufficiently as a reader. I've got a doctorate in folklore (for reals) and I still couldn't catch all the allusions that felt essential to getting the narrative turns. It was just too much like hard ...more
Carolyne Thrasher
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A satisfying read. Bear writes both fantasy and sci fi. I love her sci fi more but, I think that's just what I'm into right now. Still Blood and Iron is a well worked fantasy with an urban feel. I'll definitely read the rest of this series.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
I didn't like it. It was confusing, expected you to know everything about Fay and Faires (with no explanations), and the story wasn't very good.
Katie Tillwick
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Glad this is over. An attempt to be everything for everyone, I think. Didn't work.
Nobbynob Littlun
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book has a lot of great ideas and cool moments, but ultimately was too disjointed for me to recommend. Would definitely give the author another chance, though.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I need the next book.
Glorious read.
Jeremy Preacher
It is a distinct and rare pleasure to realize, halfway through a book full of things I am intimately familiar with (Celtic mythology, Arthuriana, the intersection of the those with the modern world) and realize that I have no idea how it is going to end. Blood and Iron takes very familiar pieces and rearranges them in unexpected and delightful ways.

Bear's conception of the Sidhe avoids most of the things that bug me about many of the modern portrayals of Elves that I've seen. They're neither ins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Bear is one of those names I've been seeing on the shelf in the bookstore forever and never managing to pick up. Always there's something else to tempt me away from taking on a "new" established author to follow. Usually a new title by someone I'm already following. My husband, however, has a few of The Promethean Age novels and has been recommending them to me, so when I wanted a taste of new fantasy, I just went to his shelf.

In Blood and Iron Elizabeth Bear throws you into the deep e
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More about Elizabeth Bear

Other books in the series

Promethean Age (5 books)
  • Whiskey and Water (Promethean Age, #2)
  • Ink and Steel (Promethean Age, #3)
  • Hell and Earth (Promethean Age, #4)
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“a friend told me that in a good marriage, nobody wins.” Matthew frowned, nibbling his thumbnail, noticing she’d sidestepped his question about the wards quite neatly. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean.” “A marriage is a state of dynamic tension. It works as long as nobody gets the upper hand and keeps it.” She” 1 likes
“All iron comes from stars,” Seeker replied, her hand still not quite brushing the hilt of the blade. “It’s the last element they can burn before they go nova. Iron’s the skeletons of stars, and it’s what makes our blood red. I” 1 likes
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