Steel & Stone by Annette Marie #DelightedByTheSeries

Steel & Stone by Annette Marie #DelightedByTheSeriesThe Steel & Stone by Annette Marie

Series: Stone & Steel Series
Genres: Dystopian Romance, Fantasy Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published by Indie/Self Published on June 8, 2015
Pages: 745
Format: ARC
Source: Book Tour Provided
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four-half-stars      two-flames

I went into this one totally blind- no blurb reading, no seeing a previous review, no previous experience with the author’s books. I was offered the chance to read a Young Adult Urban Fantasy and said ‘sure, why not’.

Well, let me tell you. This was indeed a YA Urban Fantasy, but hey dilly, it was to rival some of the best adult Urban Fantasy in so many ways. First of all, it was post-apocalyptic. Secondly, it was loaded with creative paranormal. Thirdly, twisty and exciting plot. And fourthly, characters.

When I agreed to read it, I was only committing to book one.  It was so good that I kept going.  Could not stop.  So you get a twofer here.  I’m being deliberately vague with the second book review thoughts b/c there are too many spoilers for book one.  I know I’ll be reading book three, but decided to take a break.  I get into trouble when I binge read lately and get nitpicky over perfectly fine books.  I don’t want to do that when I love something.

These books all build on each other much as Urban Fantasy series tend to do so reading in order and starting with the beginning is a must.

The series begins with young, Piper, dreaming of the moment when she can be named an apprentice Consul. That’s all she has ever wanted to be. Her workaholic, duty-bound, and distant father is the Head Consul and his twin and more warm-hearted relation is a Consul.  She wants to keep up the family legacy and prove herself to a distant father who never seems satisfied when it comes to her.

In Post WWIII Earth, humans have adjusted to the fact that they are not alone. Daemons of the Overworld (humans mistook them for angelic types) and daemons of the Underworld (also mistaken for being demons by the humans) have existed in their own dimensions and on earth always but didn’t want the humans tearing apart their neutral playground so put a stop to the humans’ world annihilation antics which outed them.

Consulates have been set up throughout the world near the largest remaining cities and population centers (earth is still recovering from the devastation that nukes and other weapons did on everything setting them back so far). The consulates are places where daemons can find refuge, disputes between daemons or daemons and humans can be supervised, and where the magic using humans, called haemons, are the ones to oversee matters. See, the daemons might tend to cooperate, but one should never mistake these powerful aggressive magic wielders for anything like the humans they walk among in glamour.

Chase the Dark 4.5 Stars
Book one

Piper is a haemon and she has been working hard on all skills necessary to become a Consul, but she’s missing one crucial thing- magic.
Unfortunately, this is a biggie, but soon her world is rocked when a powerful mystical object goes missing from the consulate, a magical bomb takes out all the delegates in negotiation regarding the object, her father goes missing, and Piper is left along with two daemons staying at the consulate to take the fall.
Piper, the enigmatic and dark Ash, and the flirty Lyre go on the run so they can figure out the truth and clear their names. Powerful beings now think they have the object, but the police are after them too. Piper isn’t sure she can trust Ash and Lyre particularly Ash, but there is no choice.

And as they uncover the truth so much more is revealed than they can imagine.

This was exciting, action-packed, fascinating with the world-building, and I connected quickly with the characters. Piper is young, impetuous, and over-confident, but still a heroine that I could like. Looking forward to where things go from here.

Bind the Soul 5 stars
Book two

Picked up right from where book one left off. Things have been uneasy since Piper and the others fulfilled their quest for the truth, but that doesn’t end matters. Ash is missing and a powerful Underworld Warlord suspects Piper is the key to untapped power. Piper and Lyre hunt for Ash and she ends up on a journey into the heart of the Underworld. It will take near death and a miracle for her to get back out.

This one advanced the story. If possible, it was more exciting and action packed than the first book. But it also continued Piper’s personal growth journey. She is maturing as she faces each challenge and learns from them. She is still in transition and still jumping into things without thought, but not even the same naive girl she started as.  If I had worries that there would be a love triangle involving Piper, Ash, and Lyre, I will say that I don’t think there will be even if it’s still a possibility.  There isn’t much romance development at this point because they’ve all been running for their lives or keeping the power mad types from getting their claws on the goods, but there are hints.  I like that the romance is still a minor thing at the moment.

Teen Warnings:  moderate language, no sex, strong violence

This is a fantastic series so far and I definitely am going back for more.  This combo of Dystopian and Urban Fantasy will appeal too many, but in these earlier books there is definitely a YA focus with Piper in her late teens and acting like it.  I think there is the possibility that this will cross over into New Adult as the series progresses since she is eighteen in book three and there are five books so far if that helps folks decide.  I guarantee getting Ash and Lyre as characters alongside Piper is totally worth it even if YA isn’t your usual thing.

My thanks to Barclay Publicity for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:
Romance Roundabout #137 YA
New to Me #57

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Well that sounds interesting. I’ve often wondered if we are really alone here on Earth. Maybe one day we’ll find out that daemons or some sort of aliens are here with us..maybe.

    • Wouldn’t that shock our pants off, haha!

  • I could do with a bit of demon dystopia

    • Yes, you really could. 🙂 Especially these guys.

  • Oh this series screams read me. I am loving the setting and world building

    • Yes, it was a unique setting for a YA and I enjoyed that. The heroine felt YA, but the rest of it felt adult if that makes sense. I enjoyed them both and plan to keep going.

  • I knew when I one-clicked the first book years ago, that it would be awesome. I really need to browse my Kindle this afternoon.

    • How cool that you already have it, Lekeisha! Haha, I know I have books on my Kindle that I probably don’t even remember are there. I do want to get to them. 🙂

  • You sold me, I just bought the first book! Thank you 🙂

  • Those sound amazing! Love it when one hooks me like that and I can’t seem to stop myself 😀 Yay for an awesome read!

    • It doesn’t take me too often, but it is great when a series has me hooked enough to keep right on going.

      • Yup. All of the ones that have hooked me recently like that were first in a series and the others not out yet like the Fly With Me this past week. Had the others been out already I would have abandoned everything to read them. lol

        • Oh yeah, that’s true. When it’s the first book and the 2nd isn’t out for half a year to a year, patience are called for. But yeah, established series, binging is so tempting. 🙂