Elizabeth's Reviews > Blood and Iron

Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear
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's review
Jul 13, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

** spoiler alert ** While I liked this book generally, I found it frustrating as I got deeper into it. I took it home based on the description on the back cover. The description isn't wrong, but partway through the book, that storyline is subsumed in a different, bigger storyline. I'd been enjoying that original plot, though, and I didn't make the transition well.

Additionally, I found it hard to connect with many of the characters. Bear does a fine job of conveying the Fae's otherworldliness and dispassion, but those same traits are what makes it difficult to identify with them. Since most of the human characters are described as a group (the Prometheans), and the individual mortals don't get as much "screen time," I ended up feeling a mite disconnected from the book. My favorite characters, mostly tied to that first plot, took up less and less of the story.

The concepts that went into the book, though, were fascinating. The idea of pinning Annwn to the mortal realms in order to defeat it was refreshingly original. The author also tackles some of the little questions that come up in stories about Faerie and usually go unanswered, such as why doesn't the Earth's natural iron content or the iron in human blood bother the Fae. And the resolution of the novel, in which the mortal realm is forcibly reacquainted with Faerie, means that what the characters have done cannot be neatly wrapped up with no long-term consequences (I consider this a good thing). I'll be trying other books in the series—but I'll remind myself that the story may go off in a completely different direction than it seems to be headed at first.

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