Review of Dark Blade by Steve Feasey

WHEN GODS FAIL, WHO WILL KEEP THE DARKNESS OUT?
Lann knows nothing of his mysterious past, but by his fifteenth birthday he will come face to face with destiny. For Lann must wield the Dreadblade, an ancient sword forged to defeat terrible monsters.
Across the mountains a King has been murdered. His daughter, Astrid, is a warrior with no desire to bear the crown. Only she can uncover her father’s killer before her brother is framed for the crime.
Evil is stirring. Lann and Astrid are the kingdom’s last defence. Together, they must face the greatest darkness their world has ever known.

Dark Blade is the first in a new fantasy series by Steve Feasey and what a strong start it is. I read Dark Blade in just 2 sittings as the world drew me in so completely. The story is constantly driving forward through short and cliffhanger style chapters that made me need to keep turning the pages.  I just had to find out what happened next. Whilst the opening chapters set the tone as high fantasy with it’s prose, it soon becomes an easy read as I was fed only the information needed to progress the story rather than getting bogged down in lore and family heirachys that so much high fantasy falls prey too. However by not taking a step back to breathe every now and then I did feel it missed the opportunity to set the scenes at times.

It is very much a character driven piece though and what it lacks in traditional world building it makes up for in spades with attention to detail to those that I was sharing the pages with. Lann is a breath of fresh air in a genre somewhat saturated with female protagonists and I loved being able to get into a different mindset through his character.  That’s not to say that Dark Blade lacks strong female representation, far from it – the might of Astrid and the magic of Fleya confidently walk side by side with Lann’s calling. Honestly, Fleya is my favourite character, full of wit and wisdom and with more than a few tricks to spare, she is the centrepiece to many of my favourite scenes within the story.

With touches of American Gods and Game of Thrones, it’s a world full of old Gods and the new and whilst there were plenty of dramatic moments and large set pieces, the story had thoughtful moments too. I really liked how the author took the time to really explore the impact of being responsible for taking a life for the first time, not only for that character but also the sensitive way that the other characters reacted too. The story is wrapped up well, without any pesky cliff hangers and it’s setting things up nicely for future books in the series. I really enjoyed Dark Blade and I want to thank Bloomsbury publishing for sending me this advanced copy.

4*

 

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