Review: Touch of Iron by Timandra Whitecastle

★★★★★

touch-of-ironIn all my years of being a nerdy fangirl over things (books, movies, TV shows, etc.), the pinnacle of my fangirling has always been “does *thing* make me want to draw really bad fanart?” If yes, you can guarantee I was hooked. And probably shipping like crazy. I read this book as a beta reader, and my reaction was exactly that. I wanted to draw Diaz and Nora smooching. And maybe just Diaz being a badass with a sword.

I am unashamed.

First things first: Touch of Iron is not for the faint of heart, or those averse to gratuitous swearing. There’s also a hefty amount of graphic gore that made me make a face like this:

But I love that stuff. Not gore, but nasty, gritty reality. I love dark fantasies, and this is categorized as a “grimdark” fantasy. I’m not sure if I’ve ever consciously read a grimdark fantasy before, but I must like ’em!One of the big things I loved about this book was the subtle inclusion of fantastical elements. There’s a delicate balance – for me, at least – where fantasy is concerned. And Touch of Iron had me interested in the lore, the quiet magic of the world, but not oversaturated with dragons and wizards and elves (oh my!).

Nora was a great character to follow. And lil’ studious Owen. Honestly, all of the characters were so real that I couldn’t help but root for them all. Even Prince Bashan, the bastard, was such a great, nasty character that I loved him. The writing is witty, quick, laugh-out-loud at times and in other moments it’s so quietly heart-wrenching that it kills you a little. (I’m looking at you, Diaz.)

Perhaps the best part was the romance, or lack thereof. I’m kind of a killjoy when it comes to YA or NA novels anymore; I want gritty heroines and hints of romance, but when the romance becomes cannon I almost instantly get bored with it. The tension snaps. Touch or Iron definitely held out, tension wise, and basically this is me now:

I ship it, guys. I ship it hard.I totally can’t wait to read the sequel!

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