Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Cornell Collins
Length: 11 hours, 4 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Iron and Fire is the second book in the Silk and Steel series. The trilogy is a continuous epic journey that has to be read in order and reading this review will naturally reveal plot points for the series.

Prince Lysander has had a life filled with trauma and pain. He escaped the clutches of his mother, the queen, only to be captured by the bronze clan. Finally escaping them, he now finds himself caged by humans. But despite Lysander not being able to break free from his cage, his biggest concern is Dokul, the bronze chief, who is relentless in his quest to get Lysander back. There is no stopping Dokul and there is no winning against him and Dokul’s one and only objective is to make Lysander his.

Despite the dragon queen being dead, elf assassin Eroan Ilanea feels that he has failed his village and failed the dragon prince that saved him. Yet, Eroan knows the battle is far from over and he perseveres and he is determined to strike back against the dragons. But when Eroan learns that Lysander is in fact alive, he should be conflicted about saving the elves or saving Lysander, but Eroan will do whatever it takes to do both. Through incredible odds, grueling battles, and betrayals, Eroan and Lysander will forge ahead to make peace between the elves and the dragons. It’s an impossible task made even more impossible by the fact that their hearts will always belong to each other.

If you like the darker side of dragons, elves, a fantastic world that leaps from the pages, the Silk and Steel series is truly amazing. So much happens within the pages of each book and the author is able to keep many plotlines all moving together and keep the intrigue high. The dragons are an evil and devious breed, all except Lysander, and the author keeps one hit after another constantly being thrown out during the course of the entire book.

Eroan and Lysander are both forced to fight, although for different reasons. Eroan is one of those stand out characters for me as he is destined to bring upon huge changes and to be remembered. He is fully on the side of the elves, but Eroan is not complete without Lysander and the elven elders want absolutely no part of an elf being associated with a dragon, but the other elven assassins slowly realize that Eroan is the one to be followed.

Lysander is a survivor. So many atrocious and violent things happen to him and he is still standing. When he is finally able to fight back, even though it’s violent, you will want to cheer for him, although it’s short lived as he’s slammed with yet another thing to survive.

This is a love story without as much romance, which works for the story it is telling. Right from the start, there is a heat and want and a need between Eroan and Lysander, but this is also a true enemies to lovers story while dipping back into enemies many times, as well as being a forbidden romance as dragons and elves have been enemies for a long, long time. The epilogue kicks up the intrigue once again and the final showdown in the next book is destined to be spectacular.

The Silk and Steel series is an absolutely fabulous fantasy series that plunges into the heart of darkness. Where the first book featured attempted rape and rape disguised as dub-con, this book has no disguise and drives right to the center of the violence.

There is so much to like about this series from the characters, to the world building, to the relationship between Lysander and Eroan and how the author masterfully twists the plot so many times and has two enemies becoming not only allies, but each other’s future.

Cornell Collins does a great job narrating this series. He has an old-world style to his performance that fits the atmosphere here. There are many characters to voice and he handles them all well. While I do still feel his voice sounds too old for both Eroan and Lysander, I have grown into it as the series has progressed. He has great delivery and pacing and keeps the intensity needed for this series at an all-time high. While the third book has been released already and I cannot wait to finish this series, the audio comes out in December and that should be worth the wait.

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