The Devil Lancer is an interesting retelling of the Crimean war with a paranormal/fantasy twist. Some things worked for me, but others didn't. Overall, it was a good distraction from the present.
The overall world building is excellent. The author really, REALLY did her research in terms of the setting and the events of the war. Unfortunately, my knowledge of this specific war and time period was pretty much non-existent and I ended up having to Google a LOT. To the point that it actually started feeling tiresome and I would just quit doing so. There were a few major battle scenes that were also difficult for me to visualize since I had to do some research on the terminology, which kind of detracted from my enjoyment. However, I feel this is just a "me" thing, and I wouldn't have the author really change her writing or "dumb" it down as it would also take away from the authenticity of this era.
In terms of plot, The Devil Lancer is a story about demonic possession. It wasn't until I was halfway through the book that I realize I don't really like possession stories outside of fanfiction (oops!). The story also took quite a lot of setup time. It wasn't until about 25% into the book that I felt the story picking up. While the story did pick up midway into the book, pacing was probably my biggest complaint. I felt like the story was moving very slowly, regardless of the time jumps from one chapter to another. A good amount of the story could have probably been tightened or removed in my opinion.
I also felt like the story didn't really provide the emotional punch I was looking for. There were certain events that happened that I felt like didn't leave the impression it should have. For example, When Ilyas' mother drowned, I didn't really feel the grief I was expecting from Ilyas.
However, the relationship between Ilyas and Elliot was a nice build up, even if the start was kind of slow.
So despite all my complaints, The Devil Lancer definitely had its moments. I liked the one-on-one fight scenes in the book, most of the paranormal/fantasy aspect of the plot, and Elliot's character. The sex scenes, while brief, was tastefully done (or as much so for a war story in the mid-1800s). Over all, if you are looking for an immersive historical fantasy/paranormal war romance, give The Devil Lancer a shot.