I’m going to start out this Book Report by admitting that I’m biased. Samantha Warren is a good friend of mine. We met through writing, but I consider her more than just a writing buddy now. She’s been there for me professionally and personally several times when I’ve needed her. So when she ran into a spot of bother and lost her editor for The Iron Locket, I offered to beta-read it and to give her some developmental edits.
So yes, I’m biased and The Iron Locket that I read is not the final version that will be available for you to buy as an eBook in a couple of weeks. But let me tell you, this is a rollicking good story!
In a nutshell, when the faerie kingdom and human kingdom are both threatened with annihilation by the evil faerie enchantress, Leanansidhe, the four faerie queens must resurrect a human hero, the Once and Future King, Arthur, to lead them in opposing her. But when a human faerie-hunter, last in a great line, Aiofe, stumbles into the faerie kingdom at war, the attraction that sparks between her and Arthur will either give the side of good an edge in winning the war or put everyone in dire jeopardy. Because Aiofe is no simple hunter. She hides a secret that could make or break all of faerie-kind and tear down the divide between the faerie and human worlds.
That’s what Samantha is going for. I have to say, I really enjoyed helping her edit this book. It’s a cool story, but as I worked with her, giving suggestions, asking questions, sharing the things I’ve learned about the craft of writing, I discovered that I really love editing! There’s something so special about taking a book in its embryotic form and working with the author to bring it to the world in the best form possible.
It’s also interesting to see the things that other authors do that I know I do. I don’t know if Sam wanted to throttle me through the process or not for lecturing her about paragraph breaks and cutting exposition and turning it into dialog, but those are all things I’ve had to struggle with myself. It’s nice to know I’m not alone! And I hope from her end that it’s nice to have someone who has the same issues point things out to you so that they can be fixed.
Early drafts of books are tricky, slippery things. You can see the gold through the rock, but it takes a lot of chipping away to get to them. I love working with an editor so that I can have someone point and tell me where to chip. And I discovered that I like being that impartial set of eyes to point to things with suggestions of how to bring out the gold. (So if you need a developmental editor, drop me a line! No, seriously!)
Back to The Iron Locket.
This book has a lot of things going for it. I love the combination of well-known elements, like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, with a wholly unique faerie world. Sam has done a great job of building a world that I want to know more about. It has depth and teeth. The main players in the faerie kingdom have strong identities and feeling.
One of the best things I found about this book, something I’m not sure if Sam intended or not, was how cool the baddies were. The character of Kane turned out to be one of my favorites. Is he the evil Leanansidhe’s soulless henchman or is he something more? And yes, I say that while wiggling my eyebrows a lot. Even Lea has her “charms”. I asked Sam a lot of questions about her motivations and background and I can’t wait to read the answers she comes up with in the final version.
The heroes of the novel are a lot of fun too. I like Sam’s take on Arthur, especially since he is resurrected from the dead with all his baggage intact. And the heroine, Aiofe, has such a rich depth of background to draw from. I’m interested to see where she’s going, both in the final version of this book and in the other books in the series.
All in all, I recommend that you give this one a read as soon as it comes out. Am I biased? Yepper! Is it still a good story? Absolutely.