Blood and Steel by Helen Scheurer – An Epic Fantasy Romance

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‘You’re beautiful as you are. And I’d wager even more so with steel in your hand and the blood of your enemies splattered across your face.’

Goodreads / Storygraph

Summary from Goodreads

With her death foretold, Althea Zoltaire only has three years to become what she’s always dreamed of being: a warrior legend.

Women are forbidden to wield blades, so she has trained in secret her entire life. Now racing against the clock, she fights to secure her place in the elite guild charged with the protection of the five kingdoms.

The sparring and hazing of the new trainees border on deadly, but even more dangerous is her growing attraction to Wilder Hawthorne, her unwilling warrior chaperone.

All around them, schemes are afoot and darkness looms.

Will Althea pass the perilous initiation test and take her place as a champion of Thezmarr – or will the invading evil snatch away her dream before it starts?

If you like fierce sword-wielding heroines and brooding, tortured heroes, you will devour this sexy, addictive fantasy adventure.

Blood & Steel is the gripping first book in the heart-pounding, epic romantic fantasy series, The Legends of Thezmarr.

Thoughts on the Plot

This book is a fantastic introduction to The Legends of Thezmarr series. I really like how the author introduces the world-building in this book and makes the map easy to understand. 

Soon I became invested as soon as I picked up this book. I wanted to know what was going to happen and how events would unfold. 

The beginning of this book is very atmospheric. Once we get into the story, the atmosphere drops a bit. Which is not necessarily a criticism. 

I have very few complaints about the pacing. There were some spots where it slowed down a bit, but I really enjoyed how everything unfolded within this book. 

The ending did feel slightly rushed. I wanted a few more pages for some scenes and to just kinda really wrap things up. 

Something I also really like were the little bits of lore and foreshadowing. There is also an interesting dynamic and slow burn tension between our FMC Althea ‘Thea’ and our MMC Wilder. 

Speaking of Thea and Wilder. 

Thoughts on the Characters

Thea is a fascinating FMC. She is stubborn and fierce, but never selfish enough to truly hurt those around her permanently. She is strong, wild, and intelligent.

I cannot blame Wilder for falling in love with her. 

And Wilder? That line he says at the top of this review is just one of many favorites of Wilder’s with his dialogue. 

He is quite the rough around the edges, but completely swoon worthy only for her. (Her being the FMC.)

I am also going to apologize upfront because this series has my absolute favorite cast of side characters. 

Wren, Cal, and Kipp (mainly Cal and Kipp) had me laughing out loud while reading this book. 

The friendship they develop with Thea is one that is so wholesome and honest. The witty banter between them also lives rent free in my head, right under several of Wilder’s “making me blush” one liner. 

Wren is the smart younger sister who follows the rules. (For the most part, she’s really just as badass as Thea in her own way though.)

I love that even though Wren and Thea are pretty different, they still always come back to one another. 

If I had any gripes, it would be that this book reads a lot younger than it actually is. Thea is 24 but comes off closer to 18. I don’t even know how old Wilder is. I’d assume no more than a decade older than Thea without it becoming a little too icky. 

I wish Thea had sounded more like a 24-year-old and I wish I knew how old Wilder was. 

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I truly had such a fun time reading this book. If you like epic fantasy stories that sprinkle in a one-in-a-lifetime kind of love with tension and banter, then this book is for you. 

I also loved the lore that related to Slaying the Shadow Prince, which is another story set in The Legends of Thezmarr world, but focuses on Wilder’s mentor, Talemir Starling. 

Although I have yet to read that book, but I have a feeling I might be switching from Team Wilder to Team Talemir once I do. 

I also loved that this book didn’t waste time overwhelming us (the readers) with information. But rather, set everything up with hints here and there of what was to come. 

It felt like the perfect introduction to this world and these characters, especially if you haven’t read Slaying the Shadow Prince yet. 

No shocker here, but 4.5 stars out of 5 stars for Blood & Steel. 


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