Rating: Jay 4.5 stars; Kris 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Today Kris and Jay are back with another Buddy Review for Hailey Turner’s Soulbound series. They are talking about her newest installment, A Crown of Iron & Silver. You can check out their book chat below!
Patrick Collins is looking forward to the winter holidays and a visit from his old military team. But before he gets to relax, he is called in on a case where the human child of a prominent witch family is missing and a changeling has been left in her place. The parents want answers, and they want their child back, but Patrick knows that once a changeling is left behind, the chances are almost none that they will recover the child. Things get even more complicated when Patrick’s former military team shows up as part of their mission to retrieve a stolen artifact. They then learn that the Summer Lady is missing from the Seelie Court. If they can retrieve her, that may cement alliances between Jono’s god pack and the fae, but there are many forces working against them and threatening the city.
The men soon realize that their missions are all linked together and the only way to achieve their goals is to venture beyond the veil to the fae courts. They are vulnerable to both the Seelie and Unseelie court, and are forced to make a deal that may risk Patrick’s life and all of their safety. And of course, it all ties back together with Patrick’s father Ethan’s attempts to gain power and god-like abilities. Oh, and they are doing it all while being responsible for a fledging fire dragon who is eating them out of house and home.
Now, Jono and Patrick, along with their new pack and Patrick’s old team, must fight against a variety of foes in order to rescue the Summer Lady, stop the attacks on the city, and prevent Ethan from achieving his goals. They must just hope that they can make it through the mission with all of their lives intact.
Kris: You know my first thing…holy crap, her world building. Like seriously, a million layers that all work together. I’m blown away every time. And I particularly love how the world changes, expands, and grows, while still fitting into the rules and confines Turner has created. I’m incredibly impressed with the mythos she’s managed to bring into this. My geeky heart explodes!
Jay: Yes, let’s start there. I loved that this series covers so many pantheons. We started mostly Greek/Roman in book one, then South American in book 2, and now Celtic. And yes, I think there are defined rules and structure, but each book takes things in new and interesting directions.
Kris: And they still all work together. Like at first glance, they should all be disparate parts and beliefs. And when you think of them from a contemporary view, they seem that way. But Turner really shows how, at their core, they are all so similar, which makes them work for what she’s trying to achieve here. So so good.
Jay: Yes agreed. It seems like having Fenrir hanging out with the Unseelie court and also random Greek god shouldn’t all work together, but it does.
Kris: It does. And I have to applaud, once again, getting the mythos right. Tir na nOg really shines here. And it could have gone sideways so easily.
Jay: Yep. I also really like how the story unfolds within this framework. It starts small, with the changling, and slowly pieces get added — the search for the sword, the Summer Lady missing… And soon it all builds and expands into this enormous story.
Kris: And how well all those pieces come together. If someone had just told me all these things were in a story, I would have been skeptical. But watching it unfold, it makes perfect sense. Each level does build on the previous one until all the pieces make a whole.
Jay: Ok, switching gears a bit. I know that we are both big fans of “found family” stories and that really shines here. I love how they have this quest this time around that Patrick and Jono undertake, along with their pack and Patrick’s military squad. There is a nice sense of how committed to each other they all are and how they are learning to rely on one another.
Kris: Yep, definitely. I was going to say I love how Turner balances the current story with the ongoing one surrounding Jono, Patrick, and their pack. And it definitely kicks up a notch by adding Patrick’s old team. I like that Nadine got brought in at the end too, as we saw in the first book how she’s Patrick’s best friend. He had all his people around him, and they really were a perfect found family. Not perfect in it working perfectly, of course. Secrets, you know. But the bumps and the anger and all are a huge part of that.
Jay: Yes, I love Nadine! And, agreed. There is kind of an epic adventure feel to this installment. And of course, it opens things up to lots of new directions for the series.
Kris: I love the way Turner showed their connection too, with the banter and the little bits they knew about one another from before.
Jay: Yes for sure.
Kris: It was truly epic, and I’m digging the new directions with Jono stepping up. He knows what he wants and what he needs to do, and that he’s the best for the job. But he was letting fear of not being enough hold him back. Now he knows he must, and more importantly, can.
Jay: Yes, I think seeing Jono take on more of a leadership in the city is going to be interesting. I like that Turner is giving some balance, with both Patrick and Jono having major roles and responsibilities.
Kris: It plays into the development of their reationship too. First of all, I love seeing Patrick lean on Jono more. He is giving more of himself to Jono, because he knows he’s safe. He would chose Jono even if the gods hadn’t already done so. Their relationship is deepening and moving forward as they both truly settle into themselves and their roles. There are a couple of swoon-worthy moments between them, just as their love progresses.
Jay: Oh yes, I completely agree. I love that we see that these guys are meant for each other by more than just fate.
Kris: And again, A+ for the balance and how the relationship plays off the action, and the action plays off the romance. They are intertwined in a truly amazing way.
Jay: Yes, agreed. They both build alongside each other.
Kris: Which is not an easy task when building a narrative, but one of the things that sets this series apart (and all her stuff, but we aren’t talking about that right now).
Jay: Yes, I agree. Some stories go too far toward one or the other.
Ok, can we take a minute to talk about Wade? (Their teenage fledgling dragon ward for readers who don’t remember). I love that he is both comic relief with his sulking and constant eating, but also a chance for the guys to show their nurturing sides as they are protective over him.
Kris: I was literally just going to say we need to talk about Wade. And those are my exact thoughts. There is the amusement factor, and the lightening of some dark moments, but also he’s so much more. Both as a character, and who he is to Patrick, Jono, and the pack.
Jay: Yes, I loved how we see him come into his own a bit here during some of the battle scenes. He still needs protecting, but we also see his strength in helping take care of others.
Kris: And I love how Turner brings his dragonyness (totally a word) into his human side too.
Jay: Yes, his hoarding and coveting. And his teenager side too!
Kris: He’s growing as a character and making a wonderful addition to the cast, rounding it out. As well as his healing, and his past. He’s a sum of a lot of parts, and he adds so much more than just laughs.
Jay: Agreed! Also, I love dragon shifters!
Kris: I dig Sage stepping into her role, too. She’s really taking her role as dire seriously, as she should. And it really gives balance to the pack.
Jay: Yes I think Turner does a really nice job with the side characters. Jono and Patrick are growing, but so are the supporting characters. They aren’t just window dressing.
Kris: Perfectly said.
Jay: Ok anything else? Aside from the super hot BJ scene (which btw readers can find in the teaser excerpt Turner ran on the blog here…)
Kris: I think we covered the high points. It was another winner for me. The top notch world building gives it an edge for me, bumping it up to 4.75 stars. The balance between the action and the romance, not to mention the building of the through storyline that grows with each book. They certainly aren’t standalone books, but each story for each book gets wrapped up nicely.
Jay: Yes, I agree with all that. I’m going with 4.5. I still find at times the lore gets a teeny bit too complex for me to totally relax into the story, but I’m loving this series so much! Can’t wait for more!
Kris: I can see that. I think I have a bit of an edge with the knowledge I already have of the pantheons and mythos.
Kris: Not that you need it to enjoy the books, but that does make for easier reading in some of the mythos heavy parts.
Jay: Yes, agreed.
Kris: Basically give me more please. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Jay: Yes me too! I feel like each time is a new adventure and we never know where it will all go!
Ok, thanks for chatting with me about it! It’s been fun as always!
Kris: Definitely. We’ll do it again when the next one comes around!