My Rating: 4/5
Author: Billy Wong
Title: Iron bloom
Background: “The tale of an epic warrior torn between the power of the sword and her longing for a peaceful life.
A young woman with a kind heart and extraordinary constitution, Rose becomes a warrior to better the world. Despite the wealth and fame she wins as one of the greatest champions of her time, the bloody reality of her new life is nothing like her ideal dream. She yearns for a chance to escape the violence.
She finds that chance in Ethan, the leader of an altruistic pacifist group. But when a barbarian horde invades their kingdom, Rose knows that she can make a difference by taking up her sword again. Will her need to protect her homeland cost her the man she loves?
A full length novel intended for both adults and older teens. First in the Iron Flower series”
Iron Bloom is a fantasy novel with lots of fighting and adventure. It is a novel of a strong female warrior and her struggles with her innate abilities to fight. This book leaves off for a sequel to follow.
The book is written in third person narrative following Rose (a fifteen/sixteen year old) off in search of adventure. She is “freakishly” tall and strong, and for some reason can survive fatal wounds (as the reader discovers in the opening scene.) She feels obliged to help those who are in trouble – by fighting, which is her strongest ability. However, the killing and violence takes a toll on her and she tries to stop all together when she meets Ethan. Ethan is a pacifist who is opposed to all violence. However, will he change his mind after meeting Rose?
The plot is fast-paced with a lot of action and fighting scenes. For those who are not particularly interested in the bloody parts of battle, they might want to skip over this novel. However, I have read gorier novels and the fight scenes did not bother me. The story follows Rose as she tries to find her place in the world. The ending was slightly abrupt (which will lead to the next book of the series)… *NEXT TWO SENTENCES IS A SPOILER ALERT* I think it should have ended when Rose went off as a bodyguard with the young merchant, not at the party. Also, I think there should have been a little more built up to the love affair between Rose and Ethan. *END OF SPOILER*
The Bottom Line:
Overall, I enjoyed the book and read it within a few days. The plot moved swiftly and there was lots of action to read about. I really like strong female roles and Rose was one of them. She wasn’t unnaturally strong (except for the unexplained fact of how she could survive some of the things she did), but showed her weaknesses through her guilt of killing other fighters – even if it was for a good cause. I’m not sure if a fifteen/sixteen year old would be as mature as her; but there are exceptions and she’s not average.
If you like fantasy adventure with a strong female lead, you might enjoy this book.