Book Review: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (Four Stars)

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Book Review: Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoats #1) by Sebastien de Castell

Four Stars

“Make no mistake, girl, the end of this road is a shallow, dirty ditch with your corpse in it.”

Swords and sorcery, with emphasis on swords. Three Musketeers meets Ryria. Improbably good (and lucky) protagonist against most of the world, with a dash of humor. Good voice, good plotting, good pace.

“Unfortunately, my need to live up to his expectations of me has always been slightly stronger than my desire to pinch him in the face.”

Told from the perspective of the leader of the disbanded and disgraced Greatcoats of the deceased king of a small country now run by the dukes as their personal toy. Knights in shining armor are bad guys. Mages are mostly bad news. And he can’t get a break.

“And people ask me why I hate magic.”

Brings this first installment to a satisfying conclusion while setting many hooks for the following tales.

“He looked scared, but he looked solid, and I guess that’s what brave looks like.”

Love the cover art of the hard cover edition, but the credit inside the book leads to a Munich ad agency. Maybe, but …?

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it was that honor just gets you into trouble.”

Book Review: Seven Forges by James A. Moore (Four Stars)

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Book Review: Seven Forges (Seven Forges #1) by James A. Moore

Four Stars

“Every life is forged. We start with raw materials, and we are made stronger by the forging of life.”

Not your typical swords-and-sorcery fantasy. Oh, it starts like one, but evolves into something much deeper and richer. Big, gritty and brutal. A clash of cultures seen mostly from the side of the one which thinks it’s superior. A failure to communicate on many levels, intentionally.

“If I live through meeting my destiny, you might need to get out of here in a hurry.”

Realistic characters–well, some of them. Close and intense immersion into their point of view. They have trouble learning languages, though they learn combat skills too easily; they forget; they don’t know everything; even when it’s their job and supposedly position to know everything. People you care about turn or die.

“Hate was a foolish waste of energy. So, too, anger at what was already done.”

Cliffhanger ending, but the first installment was still a satisfying whole.

“It was hard to say which was more exquisite, the torture of shattered hands or the broken heart. Poets and physicians each have their own answers.”

 

Book Review: The Oldest Trick by Auston Habershaw (Four Stars)

Book Review: The Oldest Trick (Saga of the Redeemed #1) by Auston Habershaw

Four Stars

“I always have a plan. It just so happens in this instance, it’s not a good plan and subject to change as we go along. Follow me.”

A welcome addition to the fantasy universe. Wise-cracking, know-it-all smugglers have been done, but Habershaw does Tyvian with his tongue so far into his cheek that it must hurt. Good job.

“He may run out of simplistic ethical aphorisms any moment.”

Engaging, multi-thread fantasy adventure set in a typical pseudo-medieval, magic-using universe. It’s the writing and the humor which keep the reader engaged.

“One did not channel the energy of creation without risk.”

Hard to believe this was originally published as two stories. Wouldn’t have worked as well.

“If this is the afterlife, I’m sorely disappointed.”

Extra points for ending the first of the series with a satisfying, self-contained conclusion.

“Rings don’t control people, not even magic ones. Everybody knows that.”