fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsBared Blade by Kelly McCulloughBared Blade by Kelly McCullough

Bared Blade is the second book in the FALLEN BLADE series. Kelly McCullough continues the story of Aral Kingslayer, survivor of the destruction of the Goddess Namara turned petty thief and spy.

Aral is still struggling with the revelation that other members of his cult survived the fall of his goddess. His experiences in Broken Blade have started to give him an inkling that there may be more to look forward to than alcoholic oblivion. The relationship between Aral and his familiar/partner Triss has been an interesting twist on typical sword and sorcery tropes.

When a couple of oddly matched women are suddenly attacked in front of Aral, he chooses to get involved. The women have powers and skills far beyond the ordinary, which changes everything immediately. As further evidence of Aral’s re-orientation away from self-destruction via Kyle’s whiskey, Aral chooses to befriend the duo in their quest. The fact that he is kind of attracted to one of them only adds fuel to the fire.

Bared Blade is a relatively light fast-paced adventure as Aral works to help save the world — well, at least the Kingdom of Shan — from being caught up in a multi-species war for a powerful magical artifact. Being pulled back and forth between different factions in this race for the prize is almost expected, but MuCullough introduces a new character, a lost novice of Namara, into the hunt that takes Aral to the very limit of what he can handle.

Bared Blade was decent, but I didn’t get into it as much as I did Fallen Blade. I can’t say exactly why, except that some of the supporting characters just bothered me. I didn’t like the way that Aral interacted with them and the effect they had on him. It was a sophomore effort that I didn’t like as well as its predecessor, but with no glaring reason why. I did, however, like the next book, Crossed Blades, better.

Publisher: From the “inventive, irreverent” (Green Man Review) author of Broken Blade comes a new Fallen Blade novel featuring Aral Kingslayer. Former temple assassin Aral Kingslayer has a price on his head and a mark on his soul. After his goddess was murdered, Aral found refuge in the shadow jack business, fixing problems for those on the fringes of Tien’s underworld. It’s a long step down from working for the Goddess of Justice, but it gives Aral and Triss—the living shadow who is his secret partner—a reason to get up in the morning.

Fallen Blade — (2011-2015) Publisher: Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer fought for justice and his goddess alongside his familiar, a living shadow called Triss. Now with their goddess murdered and her temple destroyed, they are among the last of their kind. Surviving on the fringes of society, Aral becomes a drunken, broken, and wanted man, working whatever shadowy deal comes his way. Until a mysterious woman hires him to deliver a secret message-one that can either redeem him or doom him.

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  • John Hulet

    JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years. We still hear from him every once in a while.

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