Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Book Review - Blades of The Old Empire by Anna Kashina

Book - Blades of the Old Empire
Writer - Anna Kashina
Published By - Angry Robots

First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and Angry Robots for this opportunity.
Epic fantasy with a cast of many characters are so famous now-a-days and while there are many good books sometimes it just gets exhausting. Then comes novels like this one which has the innovative yet simplistic world building which is refreshing for a change and quite easy to get into while having only a handful of characters giving the readers a chance to connect more naturally during the reading. While in my opinion, this novel could have been way much better with the focus more towards some other bits and directions the author chose yet it was an enjoyable read for its sheer simplistic nature and predictable yet relate able cast of characters.

To be honest the blurb does not really justify the book by any means. It makes us think this one to be a somewhat one dimensional story with complete focus on Kara, which it most definitely is not. Rather its the story of a group of people and also the romance bit and even the conflicts are much more developed. The story follows Kythar as he tries to find the reason behind a deadly groups attemt at capturing him while his father the king with a different group of people goes on an altogether different journey to establish Kythar as the undisputed heir of the realm. And these two journeys are met with various difficulties as well as some romantic tension and through some enjoyable read we get to learn in the process various bits of the world and its lore.

The characters although somewhat generic in many aspects (as some being too powerful warriors, some desperately in love due to this charisma/ beauty, some villainous people with predictable motives and attitudes etc) still somehow the author really blended it all in a very skillful and caring way which truly highlights her passion to tell a story. Despite being so hopelessly romantic or romantically blind one can not but root for the characters and this is truly due to simplistic approach of prose which draws attention like a magnet at times.

But despite the excellent effort by the author there are quite a few flaws present too, the romance feels a bit forced at times and oddly draws attention from the action and thrill of the story unnecessarily. A few of the side characters are really one dimensional at their view-points and also some characters are a bit too perfect to be realistic. Also the writer seems a bit too focused on romantic plot-points to really do the action or world building justice at times. As a result the novel somewhat feels unfinished and the back-story and action sequences feels a bit lacking.

At the end of day although it was far away from being a satisfying read I did enjoy it while it lasted, the prose was excellent and some of the characters were quite nicely fleshed out. I just wish there were more action and lore involved. I do hope on the next installments the author focuses on all the interesting aspects equally instead of just highlighting one while keeping her praise worthy prose style and passion for storytelling intact.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

PS: I will soon release an exclusive interview of the author as per of her blog tour so keep your eyes open.  

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