fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsKelly McCullough Fallen Blade 1. Broken Blade 2. Bare BladeBroken Blade by Kelly McCullough

Broken Blade, the first book in Kelly McCullough‘s FALLEN BLADE series is a fun little fantasy novel. I picked it up as something to fill in space between “serious” series. In that role, Broken Blade exceeded my expectations because it was refreshingly simple and interesting all in one.

In the City of Tien we are introduced to Aral. As member of a cult of assassins, called Blades, Aral was a rising star with great promise and great skills. Sadly, Aral’s Goddess, Namara, is killed by other religious zealots and his order hunted down as outlaws. Aral is left bereft of the fellowship of his fellow Blades and the unwavering conviction of serving Namara. He falls into the depths of despair and becomes a simple sword-for-hire.

The story follows Aral as he accepts the mission to help right a wrong and serve justice once more. McCullough shows us the aches, pains and difficulties of someone who was once great and now has to try to rise again to the skills he had abandoned. Aral does not simply become an all-star killer again, but has to struggle, hurt and admit to himself the atrophy that he has allowed — even embraced — since the fall of his order.

The world building, use of magic, and mythical creatures are good. The ties between magically gifted individuals and their “familiars” are fun to imagine, leading the reader to wonder how each type of familiar could influence and benefit a human partner. This is the sort of detail that elevates a story beyond merely entertaining to truly interesting.

I would compare Broken Blade to the KING’S BLADES series by Dave Duncan. If you like those books, and I did, then Broken Blade will have a similar appeal. This is a fun novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has plenty of action and a fast-moving plot. For me, as something to read in between my longstanding series, that’s just right.

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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