FicusFan's Reviews > Blood and Iron

Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear
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's review
Jun 21, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, dark-fantasy, faerie, paranormal, urban-fantasy, read-10-08, read-2008, war

** spoiler alert **
I really wanted to like this book more. I am a fan of the author, though I have only read her SF books before this one.

I can't put my finger on the problems exactly, though this is what seemed to me to be issues:

The book started out jumping around with several different characters and viewpoints. You never really got a good handle and who they were or what was going on. At the same time it was wordy. So it was easy to put down, and hard to pick back up.

It didn't help that the characters seemed shaky at the start. Matthew was bland and shallow, Jane was a purposeful enigma, Seeker/Elaine was tough and too closed up. Kieth was not believable as a werewolf - just too wishy washy. Mebd was another enigma. Only Whiskey the Kelpie was done well from the start.

The idea of a war between humans and the fae was interesting, but from the cover of the book, I expected it to be an urban fantasy. But it only had a few scenes in the real world. The rest is in faerie.

Then Bear seemed to have thrown in everything, even the kitchen sink: Dragons, werewolves, unicorns, Merlins, and the Dragon Prince, walking willows, Heaven, Hell, The Real World

The idea of the Dragon Prince and the Merlin didn't seem to be really developed. I could never figure out what made the Merlin different from both human and fae. What was the point of the Dragon Prince. The idea that both humans and fae are the creation of the dragon, yet the book acknowledges heaven and you know who (JC).

It seemed to be very wordy and it took a long time for it to grab me. For a brief period it did, but then it petered out again. finally I was just glad it was over.

There were actions that weren't explained and didn't make sense. Why did the Mebd unbraid her hair - setting all those who were bound, free ? Then she never told anyone, except Elaine, and she re-braided it that night, so everyone was bound again. Why did the Mebd decide to die, and how did the throne kill her after she sat on it all those years ? Why did she want to kill Elaine and those bound to her when she died ?

Who chained the dragon, and how did they get that huge link through the spine ?

The ending was sad, if predictable.

I really liked Whiskey the Kelpie, and he got better and better as the story developed.

All in all it was good, but it left more questions and it just wasn't as good as I expected. I am not sure I will read the next book in the series or not.

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