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  • Thank you Netgalley and MacMillan Publishing!

    Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan Publishing/Feiwel and Friends for allowing me to read and review this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Master of Iron is the epic conclusion to the Bladesmith duology by Tricia Levenseller. We start right where we left off in Blade of Secrets: Ziva, Kellyn, Petrik, and Temra captured the warlord, and mother of Petrik, Kymora. During the fight Kellyn decided to save Ziva instead of her sister Temra, who is now badly injured and could possibly die. Ziva is unforgiving towards Kellyn's choice and they are all racing against the clock to find a Healer who can save Temra from certain death. With a war looming over Ghandra, Ziva is then captured, with Kellyn, by enemy hands and she is forced to create magical death defying weapons for Prince Rivas and his army. There is less adventure in Master of Iron verses Blade of Secrets but the conclusion has more world building of the land. Ziva grows as a character and the bond between her and Kellyn is strengthened. Their relationship is more intimate and patient as Ziva learns to forgive Kellyn and overcome her anxieties. Master of Iron focuses heavily on character development for Ziva but cuts back on Temra and Petrik's individual arcs. We see Temra and Petrik work on trusting each other after Petrik's lies: his parentage and hiding Ziva's capture from Temra. Kellyn received some development as well but not very much. I did miss the "travelling across lands" adventure from the first book. In Master of Iron, there is a lot of build up to the final battle and royalty politics between siblings and their neighboring cities. While I did like the newly introduced characters, there isn't a lot of depth to them. Personally, while I enjoyed both books for different reasons, I think the Bladesmith duology could have been better as a large stand-alone. The romance is sweet and has its steamy moments for a YA Fantasy. I like that Kellyn is understanding and loving and wanting to be Ziva's equal but also challenges Ziva and pushes her to face her insecurities. The scenes between them are my favorites. I was not head over heels for Ziva in Blade of Secrets but Master of Iron is where she truly shines. I love Levenseller's break-neck writing style and she knows how to pull you into the story from the very first page. Obviously, I look forward to all of Tricia Levenseller's future releases. 4 stars

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  • Satisfying Ending

    Another end to an exciting series from Tricia Levenseller featuring light magic and complex characters! MASTER OF IRON picks up from where BLADE OF SECRETS leaves off and concludes Ziva's story of learning to accept who she is. The story has way more action and while not overly explicit, does contain a surprising amount of violence. That aside, I did enjoy the character development, the complex relationships Ziva has, and how she completed her arc. Ziva is an interesting character whose anxieties make her engaging and in some ways, challenging. While some readers may find her reactions and thought process heavy handed at times, I empathized and ultimately understood why she acted the way she did. I thought the explanations for what it feels like to live with anxiety were well constructed for those who both live with the condition and those who wish to understand it. The side characters each had engaging and complex moments with Ziva, primarily her sister, and Kellyn. There were also some other unexpected dynamics, all of which led to Ziva gaining friends and allies that she desperately needed. Her bond with Kellyn in particular was sweet, since he was endlessly patient and understanding of what she could not bring herself to do at the moment. The story also retains its relatively light element of magic, with Ziva finding new and unexpected ways to stretch her talents. The action scenes were far more intense than what I anticipated, though I did find them engaging and thrilling, especially at the end. Despite what I mentioned earlier about the level of violence (it didn't bother me a all, the descriptions are light), this is an easy, casual read that I think many readers will enjoy. The series isn't long so readers new and old can enjoy it over the summer or whenever they feel the call for an adventure with a complicated yet strong female hero.

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