Kelly McCullough’s FALLEN BLADE series has been a lot of fun to read. For fans of cloak and dagger fantasy, it’s been a welcome, easy to read morsel. You really don’t need to pay close attention because the story is about humor, a little danger, long lost romance and loyalty to ideals that have been lost. It’s not complex, but it’s good.
Blade Reforged follows Aral Kingslayer through his final transformation back from dissolute, amoral thug-for-hire to someone who at least resembles the rising star of the Order of Namara before her death at the hands of the Son of Heaven. His reformation, as the events of the past books have chronicled, has been very gradual. From relative indifference to the world around him, to caring about a former Novice from his Order, to defeating a former mentor and Master of his Order because he has gone over to the enemy, Aral has become a better and better man.
When Aral is approached by his some-time lover and former client turned Baroness to help her assert her claim to the throne of Zhan, he is not really interested. As she explains her motivations and the predicament that Aral’s former friend is in for having supported him, he is naturally forced to get involved. It’s a classic example of righting a wrong, but in the midst of it, Aral gets to finally accept his real purpose in life.
The adventure is fun to read about and fraught with legends from past novels, but the best part is getting more backstory on some of the characters from previous books. The revelations about the librarian Harad are very intriguing and would make for an interesting spin-off series. I just like getting to know these characters after following them through so many books.
In the end, Blade Reforged feels like a conclusion. Aral’s journey is not over, but the path that he will tread is one the he chooses and is imbued with direction and purpose that he has lost since the fall of Namara. It was very satisfying to see him come so far.
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.