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Title & Author: Shattered Past (Dragon Blood), Lindsay Buroker

Genre & Publication Date: Steampunk

Book Description: “An elite forces officer with a dreadful reputation.
A bookish paleontologist with a love for mysteries.
An ancient stronghold full of secrets that will take both of them to unearth.

Professor Lilah Zirkander (yes, she’s related to the famous pilot, and no, she can’t get him to autograph your undergarments) is looking forward to a summer in the paleontology lab, researching and cataloging new fossils. But that summer takes an unexpected turn when the king sends her into the Ice Blades to a secret mine where ancient dragon bones have been discovered. Rumor has it that they’re cursed and dangerous, but Lilah is more concerned about dealing with the outpost commander, a fierce officer with the temperament of a crabby badger.

As punishment for irking the king, Colonel Vann Therrik is overseeing the hardened criminals working in the remote Magroth Crystal Mines. He would like a chance to redeem himself—and escape the loathsome duty station—but nothing is going his way. Cursed fossils have delayed production, miners are trying to escape, and now a scientist has shown up, making demands on his time. Worse, she’s the cousin of his nemesis General Zirkander. As if one Zirkander in his world wasn’t bad enough.

Investigating the fossils leads Lilah and Vann into the depths of Magroth Mountain where centuries-old secrets lurk, and a long-forgotten threat stalks the passages. To have any chance at survival, they’ll have to work together and perhaps learn that neither is what the other expected.

Shattered Past is a stand-alone novel set in the author’s Dragon Blood world.”

First Line: Professor Lilah Zirkander walked down the aisles between the desks, setting exams facedown in front of students who alternated between looking warily at her and gazing longingly at the clock.

My Take: This book was provided by the author for review.

Another great steam punk adventure from Buroker! This story revolves around two interesting characters, Vann Therrik, someone seen in a secondary role in other books of her Dragon Blood series, and Lilah Zirkander. Therrik seemed an unlikely hero since he held the role of antagonist in a previous book, but the author does a great job pulling me into his perspective and making me sympathize (even if I don’t agree with) some of his reactions and prejudices against all things touched by magic.

As is Lindsay Buroker’s style, Lilah was an awesome heroine. I am always impressed with the way women characters in her books can be both strong and vulnerable at the same time, all while working within the limits of what a reader would expect that character to be capable of. Lilah is a professor, but in her back story she was once a scientist working out in the field, so she knows how to shoot and has some defense moves. She can take care of herself but she’s not Rambo. This sets up Therrik, the disciplined military man, to be there for her when there’s danger, while simultaneously making him admire her ability to fend off at least some bad dudes. Loved their chemistry against a backdrop of magic and curses and threats from both men and monsters!

The Magical: The characters. So three dimensional, complicated, and full of conflicting emotion. Therrik and Lilah are very different, but in many ways they are the same as well and suffer a similar loneliness that they try hard to pretend doesn’t exist.

The Mundane: The good news is the book was full of action!…Yet, I got to the end and kind of wondered what I just read. Not a lot actually happened when you get right down to it. Bit of a side adventure feeling to it instead of a novel all its own. Still, I enjoyed the heck out of myself in the reading of it.

Summary of Thoughts: Fun, action-packed, mixed with tempers and romance to put heat in the pot. Well written and I really felt like I knew the characters. Definitely recommended!


Many thanks to author Lindsay Buroker for providing a copy of the book to review!

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