Best Book of January—Elizabeth Bear’s Blood and Iron

Just because Elizabeth Bear’s Blood and Iron is one of the only two books I finished reading this month is not a reason to discount it.

In Blood and Iron, Bear creates an intricate and rich Faerie world that sits parallel to our own modern one, and hops her characters back and forth from New York, to the Faerie realm, and back again.

As the novel opens, faeries and humans are feuding about how much magic can be allowed to leak over into our world and the status of half human, half fey children. In the midst of this, the protagonist, a woman of just such mixed blood, strives to prevent a battle that could destroy what remains of faerie, and in doing so risks breaking her own heart and trading in her humanity for all time.

I was entranced. However, I did not start out that way. I found the first few scenes of the novel somewhat confusing. It opened right in the thick of things and it took some reading before I could get my bearings. Yet Bear’s writing was so authoritative, skillful, and compelling, I decided to just trust her to show me where we were going and read on. I’m very glad I did. If you love Fantasy, you’ll be glad you did too.