Cold Iron by D. L. McDermott
Series: Cold Iron #1
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
The Fae, the Good Neighbors, the Fair Folk, the Aes Sídhe, creatures of preternatural beauty and seduction. Archaeologist Beth Carter doesn’t believe in them. She’s always credited her extraordinary ability to identify ancient Celtic sites to hard work and intuition—until today.
The tomb Beth has just discovered is the most complete Celtic burial she’s ever seen. Filled with ancient treasure, impossibly well-preserved, the burial has everything—except a body. Her ex-husband, the scholar who stifled her career to advance his own, is unconcerned. Corpses don’t fetch much on the antiquities market. Gold does. Beth knows from past experience that if she isn’t vigilant, Frank will make off with the hoard.
So when a man—tall, broad shouldered, and impossibly handsome—turns up in her bedroom claiming to be the tomb’s inhabitant, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the mythic god-kings of old Ireland, Beth believes it is a ploy cooked up by her ex-husband to scare her away from the excavation.
But Conn is all too real. Ancient, alien, irresistible, the Fae are the stuff of dreams and nightmares, their attentions so addictive their abandoned human lovers wither and die. And this one has fixed his supernatural desire on Beth.
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I was a bit iffy on the concept when I first read the blurb but I’m always on the lookout for new fae stories so I figured I should give COLD IRON a try. It seemed like a good book to take on vacation. It was okay.
To be honest, I really disliked Conn when he first showed up. He was a bossy tool. And this was something I was worried about before I picked up the book because you can tell he’s going to start off cold from the cover copy. Thankfully, he develops enough personality to have you on side by the end. He’s definitely not a warm or fuzzy character — more of an alphahole — but his developing feelings for Beth put him in touch with his more empathetic side.
I also had some issues with Beth, though not to the same degree. I love the powers she has and how McDermott develops them over the course of COLD IRON but I found Beth to be a bit passive. It’s a product of her history with men, to be sure, but it made it a bit difficult to root for her at first. I was won over by the end, though, as Beth becomes a stronger character through her experiences and realizations.
The overall plot of COLD IRON is pretty satisfying. It starts off with Beth’s quest to find artifacts and grows into something much larger, letting us see a bit of the fae world that McDermott has constructed. McDermott’s fae are very inhuman, which is a nice change from some of the hyper-sexy fae we sometimes see in the genre. He’s still all about the ladies but in a unfeeling way. And now that I’ve typed that I’m back to being less than fond of him… But the plot is still well built and pulls you into an intriguing story that kept me reading even when I wasn’t terribly keen on Beth and Conn.
COLD IRON is the book for you if you like books with strong plots and are willing to put up with a jerky and sometimes chauvinistic male lead and a female lead who takes a lot of time to come into her own. If those attributes don’t appeal to you, I’d suggest picking up a different novel. And if they do, let me know so that I can link to a more positive review. 🙂