Title: Hot Lead, Cold Iron
Author: Ari Marmell
Genre: Urban Fantasy
I was really interested in reading this one due to the Depression-era Chicago setting, and that aspect of the book certainly didn’t disappointment. The world-building was a lot more authentic than I expected, and I appreciated the amount of effort that went into making the setting feel legitimate.
That being said, I had a few issues:
1) While I understand the author’s desire to make the era-appropriate jargon realistic, I think the narration was overwhelmed by Oberon’s manner of speaking. To the point where I honestly had trouble understanding what he was saying for the first few chapters. I think the author could have toned it down a little without losing the sense of authenticity.
2) The plot was interesting, overall, but I felt it dragged at times — especially around the middle — and I think the climax wrapped up too quickly. I would have been more satisfied with a drawn-out sequence, because the way it was written, all the tension drained away pretty quickly, and we were left with a conclusion that wrapped up a little too fast.
3) The characters were interesting, too, but besides Oberon himself, they were all pretty flat. We were never given a chance to “get to know” anyone other than Oberon beyond some superficial details, which were largely conveyed by Oberon’s own voice and not through the characters’ actions. Now, maybe the author develops the cast more in the sequel — I can’t say — but there simply wasn’t enough for my taste in this installment.
So, overall, this was an okay read. I did enjoy it, and I do plan to continue the series because I think Ari Marmell has some real talent. But I think several aspects of the book could have been better.