My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: eBook Purchase
Publication Date: January 17, 2018
Publisher: Terah Edun
Point of View: 3rd Person Heroine
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
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The Kickbutt Heroine Fantasy Genre is pretty much my favorite. It's a genre with lots of tropes, but they're tropes I usually can't get enough of -- particularly the trope of a strong young heroine with a secret and unusual power she is only just discovering. There are infinite ways to handle this trope, making it feel fresh, but it's full of universal relevance at the same time. (How many of us women need to realize that WE also have unusual power we haven't yet begun to discover?)
Blades of Magic is a great example of the genre. It started out a little bit rocky for me--Sara, the protagonist, is NOT a likeable person! Her magic is battle-magic, and she is a bloodthirsty, violent character with a huge chip on her shoulder. The kind of personality that is really cool in a thirty-something heroine, but in a seventeen-year-old . . . it's jarring! So for the first chapter or two, I just wasn't certain I would end up liking the book.
But . . . the author was super clever. She realized that her heroine needed a contrast, needed a foil to give her balance. So she introduced the character of Ezekiel -- a bespectacled geek-type who curator of unusual oddments in a warehouse which Sara is hired to guard. They are SUCH an odd pairing that at first I didn't even believe Ezekiel would survive more than a chapter or two!
Instead, he went on to become Sara's companion throughout a breathtaking adventure, helping her in her search to discover the secret of what TRULY happened to her father (who was executed for treason, leaving Sara's family disgraced and Sara herself brokenhearted). The story quickly turns into a more and more and more complex mystery, with unpredictable turns in every chapter. And at the heart of it, these two mismatched souls coming to a real and life-changing friendship.
Note--this relationship is a friendship only. It may or may not turn into a romance later (?), but there's no hint of anything like that in this book. You see the two of them learning to truly care for each other and help each other, but without a romantic element. And . . . it's really refreshing and delightful! Usually I like a healthy dose of romance in my kickbutt heroine fantasies (as long as it doesn't overwhelm the rest of the adventure), but I kind of loved that this one side-stepped neatly around that issue and made us see these people simply as two people. (Not EVERY male-female relationship has to be romantic!)
Anyway, this story surprised me and delighted me and thrilled me by turns. For the first few chapters I didn't think I'd like it, but now I think those chapters were necessary to the success of the story--without them, I wouldn't have fully appreciated everything else to come.
I'm super excited to have discovered this amazing author, and I look forward to seeing where Sara and Ezekiel's adventures take them in this ongoing series!