I just finished the audiobook of The Iron Maiden read by the author, Resa Nelson. I had just finished book one of the series, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, a few days before. Having read that, I had high expectations for this book. Ms Nelson did not disappoint in her writing or her reading.
I like how this story can be a stand-alone story but for those of us that read the first book, it refers back to some integral parts of that first story, helping to set the tone in this one. I would care much less about this ghost named Stefan, if I didn’t know how deeply they care for each other. I really appreciate how Stefan continues to support Astrid, but she has come to the point that she needn’t rely on anyone. In the first book we saw her grow up. Now we see her finding her identity beyond the blacksmithing life she grew up in. We see her connecting with others and expanding her understanding humanity. There is an interesting symbolism to her interactions with people and the torture device known as an iron maiden.
The plot isn’t filled with the adventure of the first book. There is a clear linear purpose to the book, but the primary purpose of the book is Astrid’s growth. This happens sometimes in book series. There is often a book that the reader needs in order to fully understand the characters and how we ought to expect them to act in the future. Therefore, while this book may not have been exciting, I am hopeful that the next book will build off of this character growth.
I highly recommend this book for any public library or school library serving a YA audience. There is no graphic violence, hardly anything religious, and no lust, just the relationships of love and the complications thereof. There is a little domestic abuse, but the focus is upon the woman overcoming this abuse, and we see this violence only once. I think this story would be excellent in print format, and I know it is fantastic being read by Resa Nelson.