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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic, Merlins and Mayhem
What fun! A thoroughly detailed universe where the world of (modern) man is linked with the world of the Fae. Clever ideas link the two worlds - and with enough imagination you can see the shadows concealing the Seekers in your own house... A battle between the two worlds rages, bringing in Werewolves, King Arthur and a huge Dragon, along with a host of believable (but...
Published on 15 Nov 2008 by Mark Shackelford

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but frustrating
Blood and Iron falls very roughly into "Urban Fantasy", mixing magic into modern life. From the world of Faerie, Elaine Andraste is a Seeker for the Mabd, queen of the Fae. Elaine is actually a kidnapped human, bound to serve but occasionally debating revenge while she wanders around doing the Fae Queen's dirty work in the human world. On the modern city side of things,...
Published on 15 July 2011 by M. Hepworth


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic, Merlins and Mayhem, 15 Nov 2008
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Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
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What fun! A thoroughly detailed universe where the world of (modern) man is linked with the world of the Fae. Clever ideas link the two worlds - and with enough imagination you can see the shadows concealing the Seekers in your own house... A battle between the two worlds rages, bringing in Werewolves, King Arthur and a huge Dragon, along with a host of believable (but strange) characters from legend and myth (or perhaps Shakespeare) - Puck, Peaseblossom and an assortment of goblins, bogies and fairies.
The book is not at all "fey" but a robust tale (and the fairies swear!) that zooms along like a thriller, mixed with Arthurian Legend, a dash of fairy [faerie] tales and nursery rhymes, and the underlying theme of the legendary ballad of Tam Lin.
I have already ordered the second book in the series...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hold tight and fear ye not..., 31 Oct 2006
By 
D. Ackerley (Chester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood and Iron: A Novel of the Promethean Age (The Promethean Age) (Paperback)
A steady start that takes a pace drawing the reader in.

With the mortal and fairy worlds having some overlap and sometimes entwined, rivalries within each, personal agendas and long timeless histories are carefully woven into a book that takes it's theme from The Ballad of Tam Lin and gently turns the angle of perspective.

Taking the reader seamlessly between two realms and at times with an urgency in an otherwise timeless realm.

Traditional historical characters have a lesser part as the reader gets carried along through the life of two divided worlds by a couple of it's seemingly everyday but important inhabitants, whose futures are pre-ordained, increasingly they begin to realise this.

Elizabeth Bear anchors this fabulous tale with glimpses of places in our real modern material world, but from where older powers creep through as an age old battle rages, reaches a climax that doesn't necessarily have a 'fairytale' ending but also exposes the personal goals, challenges and costs to the characters who at the start don't realise their roles ahead...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but frustrating, 15 July 2011
By 
M. Hepworth (UK) - See all my reviews
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Blood and Iron falls very roughly into "Urban Fantasy", mixing magic into modern life. From the world of Faerie, Elaine Andraste is a Seeker for the Mabd, queen of the Fae. Elaine is actually a kidnapped human, bound to serve but occasionally debating revenge while she wanders around doing the Fae Queen's dirty work in the human world. On the modern city side of things, we have Matthew, a human mage from the "Promethean Club", a group dedicated to preventing the bad side of magic getting into our world. Matthew hates the Fae because of something unspecified to do with his brother.

Elaine turns out to be the main character, while Matthew pops up now and again, and it's clear that some big conflict is brewing. Elaine gets tasked with finding and recruiting a Merlin - a mythical archetype that appears every 500 years, along with a Dragon Prince doomed to save his people while also slaughtering and betraying. Matthew also tries to recruit the Merlin, who turns out to be a human woman who isn't at all surprised to find out she has this big mystical secret. Elaine sweeps her off on a mystery tour of Faerie, which is a beautifully rich and lavishly described world. Bear has really gone to town on making the Celtic myths seem fresh and interesting, avoiding cliché even while she mixes Arthurian legends and Dracula into the mix (and that's no mean feat). The problem is that there's loads of stuff going on - there's a dragon in a cave, Morgan le Fey is an enigmatic sorceress in a cottage, Elaine's kidnapped son who she had with a werewolf is the Queen's favourite, there's werewolf politics, the Merlin fancies Elaine, the werewolf fancies Elaine, a shapeshifting Waterhorse fancies Elaine, and so on. There's nothing wrong with a big complicated plot, but Bear seems intent on dropping the reader into the middle of a slice of these lives, then swooping off to the next thing before it's quite developed.

There's some really interesting stuff in here, about the relationship of Faerie to our world, hints at some aged conspiracy to control them, and their relationship to the powers of Hell. The Fae are nicely morally ambiguous, which could be really interesting as you debate whether they should be permitted to survive, but the Prometheus Club turn out to be stereotypical villains near the end so you don't have to worry about which side to root for.

There's no doubt that Elizabeth Bear is a talented writer - you don't rack up multiple Hugo awards for nothing - but her awards are primarily for short form stories, not novels, and on the basis of this I wonder if she is really suited to novels. She seems not to know when to stop throwing ideas, and start developing them, not to mention developing characters.

There's much that is good about Blood and Iron. The writing is excellent and the ideas intriguing. It's also a self-contained, standalone novel, despite being in a series. It's just that you end up not caring enough about the characters to really invest in the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 29 Dec 2009
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I recommend this book, and am now trying some of Elizabeth Bear's other work.
The plot is mainly set in Faerie and tells the story of Seeker, an involuntary servant of the Faerie Queen. When a Merlin (very powerful magician) is discovered, Seeker is ordered to persuade the Merlin to serve her queen. But the birth of a Merlin means that a Dragon Prince will also be on his way... Meanwhile, the Promethean Club, an order of magi, wants to destroy the Fae forever.
That is about all I can say without giving away too much plot, but the book is well written, the characters are engaging and the plot is unusually difficult to predict.
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Blood and Iron: A Novel of the Promethean Age (The Promethean Age)
Blood and Iron: A Novel of the Promethean Age (The Promethean Age) by Elizabeth Bear (Paperback - 30 Jun 2006)
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