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Iron Bloom
Billy Wong
Smashwords, 151 pages

Iron Bloom
Billy Wong
Billy Wong is an avid fan of heroic fantasy, with a special love for strong female warriors. He draws inspiration from the epic legends of old, and is on a quest to bring over the top deeds and larger than life heroes back to prominence in today's literary world. He lives in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY.

Billy Wong Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

There aren't many strong female characters in fantasy novels these days, but it is good to see that Billy Wong has included one in his novel, Iron Bloom. From the first few pages, Rose, the heroine is faced with a hulk of a man who doesn't only intend to hurt her; he also has an interest in raping her.

The story is a reminder of those video games where the hero or heroine has to wield their way through several hostile enemies. There is a great amount of blood and gore in this, but if your stomach can take it, you will be doing well getting through the novel. No, that might sound too harsh. If you like Conan the Barbarian or Game of Thrones, this will serve as another novel to surely get your teeth into. Rose is without a doubt a very resilient character, she is afraid of death like anyone else would be, and will hold her own in a fight. She isn't weak though even though she has her weaknesses due to the attempts on her life already. It would be easy to let the gods help her out of her plight, but she has more spunk in her than the average female, she is a survivor after all.

Knowing she had a near death experience at the hands of a ruffian, Rose once she is patched up back at her parents house hears that the RIEL (the Royal Interprovincial Enforcers of Law) are coming to their town to recruit new enforcers, and she wants to be one of them. Their job is to protect the town's streets and people from criminals who stalk the weak, and Rose thinks she is up for the task. When she meets Ethan though, her attitude suddenly changes from wanting to be a warrior woman to thoughts of kicking back and being around him who serves as her love interest. As we will find out in this story, though, it isn't as easy as all that, and she has some difficult decisions to make regarding her warrior woman nature. She might not like admitting. she has a lot to live up to as she is a natural fighter, is tall, well built and can carry her weight in a serious fight, even though at the beginning she was only just finding her strength with the weapon in her hand.

This is the first novel in the Iron Flower series, and as such leaves enough room for another sequel novel as the ending obviously shows. Rose is a girl at odds with two directions her life could go in, she could join the RIEL, or she could live a life of peace with other friends she meets along the way, and of course with Ethan, her true love. It does start to seem like a hippy romance in an oldie worldie fantasy setting with Ethan preaching peace and goodwill to all men, and women, but it does give out a strong message to all that they do have a choice with what they make of their lives regardless of their lowly upbringing. There are plenty of battles in this novel and it is one to watch out for if you enjoy reading about battles and various gory fight scenes -- if you don't, it doesn't matter as the romance element more than makes up for the endless cut and thrust.

Copyright © 2013 Sandra Scholes

Sandra has been published in many magazines in both the US and UK respectively including The British Fantasy Society, Fantasy Book Review and Love Romance Passion to name but a few, and is currently writing short fictional horror in the blazing sunshine - for once.

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