This is a review of “Broken Blade” by Kelly McCullough.
Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer is now one of the last of his kind after the fall of his goddess. Surviving on the fringes of society and doing dirty, shady work to survive and hide from the price on his head, he has climbed into a bottle with no intention to get out again. That is until a mysterious woman hires him to deliver a secret message, and the message – with all its questions and consequences, is meant for him…
It is a world that has a sprinkling of Asian flavour and an interesting take on magic and familiars and gods. It is fast paced with lots of action and adventure, and a cast of characters that are easy to keep track of and differentiate from each other. That the main character is painfully human is never forgotten despite his apparent mage-status, and all in all it is a quick and easy read for a lazy afternoon.
However, the entire book reads a bit like a crime noir detective novel set in a medieval fantasy world. More than once I expected to read about a lonely trumpet or saxophone playing in the distance. It was a mix that didn’t quite seem to work together, jarring against each other and sometimes throwing you a bit off when the fantasy element suddenly showed up again.
There was also a lot of internal moral wrestling at inopportune moments on Aral’s part. Once or twice would have been alright, but not every time he had to make a choice. Because of this and the aforementioned mixing of genre, it is kind of difficult to really understand Aral’s personality. He was a bit lacking in that department.
Add to that a world that could have borne more explaining about some things, sudden love out of the blue with no buildup whatsoever and a surprising amount of spelling mistakes especially towards the end of the novel, and it definitely isn’t one of the best books that I have ever read. It isn’t horrible, it is even amusing at times, but it isn’t the best.
Not certain if I will continue reading this series.