The Iron Maiden by Andy Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this as a beta and even so, I really thought it was quite excellent. A solid entry into the fantasy field, for one, but what really blew me away was its extremely strong climatic action scenes.
Seriously cool action scenes. I mean, ignore the fact that Holly's mysterious past and the even more mysterious voice that sits inside her mind is driving the characterization for a moment, or that her insertion into the kingdom is just a step into a nasty series of politics.
It's the big action at the end where this novel really shines. And I mean seriously cool action scenes on an epic battlefield full of fascinating and crazy and enormous monsters and even worse things to follow right after. :) Not to give away what makes it cool, but there's a lot of noisy music and steampunk-ish nightmares right before we get into Shrike-like monstrosities right out of Dan Simmon's Hyperion, only taken a bit farther. :)
There are some places where I think the pacing could be picked up and some of the place descriptions, likewise, but truly, I can't recommend the ending enough. :)
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