A Broken Blade
Author: Melissa Blair
Rated A for assassins, alcohol consumption, and adversarial alliances.
My body is made of scars,
Some were done to me,
But most I didn’t to myself.
Keera is a killer. As the King’s Blade, his best and favorite assassin and talented spy, she’s always done as he’s asked and killed whoever she had to without thinking twice about it. Now, Keera’s life is on the line when she’s called up to finally take care of the rebellious revolutionist called the Shadow.
As she tracks her target to the lands of the Fae, she struggles with all that she’s done to get to where she is, all those that she’s killed. Nothing is as it seems when she’s welcomed into the Faeland’s kingdom. Her suspicion dissolves into betrayal when she finds unexpected answers after coming face to face with the Shadow.
War is on the horizon and Keera is torn between what’s asked of her and what’s right. Who is the real enemy? Will she fight for the King that’s destroyed her people or the Shadow who threatens to destroy the peace between the humans and fae?
Starting with the obvious, this book is gorgeous! I got it as a part of a bookish box subscription that was a birthday present. The page edges were painted a pale lavender with a black dagger and white thorns. The dust cover left me breathless. Outside, the purple ombre was crowned with silver chrome. Inside, a delicate portrait from front to back displayed vibrant red roses and the cast of the book. It’s’ truly stunning. However, the spine detaching and splitting down the back cover was sad. I’m really careful with my hardbacks and how I open them to avoid this. It was a bit upsetting since this is such a unique version of A Broken Blade.
The book itself was tricky. Keera, the merciless, clever assassin…and alcoholic, had some major trouble trying to figure out who she wanted to be. A cold-hearted assassin getting their heart set ablaze and falling into feels is a trope so well-known, especially in fantasy. So, I’m not a stranger to this. However, I became increasingly worried for Keera because she relied on alcohol so much to carry her through ugly deeds. Like, I feel like if that’s how she has to cope, this might be the wrong career path for her and she shouldn’t get involved in a rebellion.
The Shadow was quite spicy though. And, obvious. I was hoping to be surprised by who it could be, but I wasn’t upset by that it turned out to be Riven. Honestly, a part of me hoped that the Shadow would be Nikolai or Killian with how the Shadow played with Keera.
Surprise was not on Blair’s side with character reveals and plot twists. They came pretty obvious and some reveals felt like they came about too quickly. I didn’t expect to learn who the Shadow was so quickly. I was kind of bummed and was loving the flirtatious cat-and-mouse game they were doing. The chemistry between those two was like a slow, sensual poison that crept through my veins like bliss. They really kept me invested more than the plot to overthrow a sadistic king did.
The journey to reclaim a world for Fae was one of ups and downs that reminded me a little of LOTR and GOT. LOL. There were the moments when the plan went awry giving the characters the perfect excuse to bicker. Then of course, there was the character that was closed off and couldn’t trust anybody but would eventually come to be best friends with the main characters. It was a tad bland with nothing that was outstanding, but it was nice to return to something familiar in other series I’ve read. While familiar is nice, it’s not memorable.
So much was left open and unknown that will probably lead into the next book, which is good. From the mystery of Keera’s past to what Killian and Damien, the King’s children, may do with a war afoot. However, I couldn’t get invested enough and I’m not sure I’ll read the next installment. Between too many characters and the fast pace that just didn’t give me enough, I wasn’t all in. I didn’t get that zing. This just felt so typical and there wasn’t anything stand-out about it.
How pretty this book was in person wasn’t enough to get me into this book. This is one that I wish could’ve had more and been more. It came up shy for me. Aspects such as the world and the plot were underdeveloped. Kind of bummed but then I remember I could always go back to Holly Black.
“It was time for me to bring the night.” (p. 38)
“Funny how we can feed the poor and it’s called treason, while the Crown lets its people starve and it’s the king’s diving right.” (Rylan, p. 70)
“May the worthy win.” (p. 84)
“Plants are best communicators. They rely on it. Speaking to each other is part of their survival.” (Riven to Keera, p. 238)
“My days taking lives in the name of the king were over, but my days of killing were not.” (Keera, p. 286)
“A broken blade can be mended.” (Syrra, p.290)
“You could cut me worse than any blade.” (Riven to Keera, p. 37&)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Aftermath by Adam Lambert.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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