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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blade's Edge by Virginia McClain; a Fantasy worth sinking your katana into!

Today, I am reviewing the Fantasy story Blade’s Edge by Virginia McClain. This is a story set in a pseudo-Japanese setting and utilizing many of the terms from Japan’s medieval history, but adds several different intriguing elements, like elemental magic, a council dedicated to the repression of a particular subgroup, and dragons and kami.

I give this book a 4.75/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 5/5. Absolute perfection. Virginia’s two main characters, Mishi and Taka, were deep and real. I felt their pain and their triumphs, and my understanding of them grew as they did. The book spans eight years (called “cycles”), and I felt they grew believably throughout that time. I especially liked Mishi’s development from scared orphan to kick-ass Kisoshi warrior.

Plot/Storyline: 5/5. The story is as epic as they come. A sprawling conspiracy kept in line by a few oligarchs? Assassins? Intrigue and betrayal? All present in spades. Virginia wove her story deeply and well, and I felt the last few pages blaze by like they almost weren’t there. Fantastically done.

Flow: 4.5/5. The sentence flow was excellent and Virginia’s use of language keeps the story moving at an excellent pace. I felt we spent an appropriate amount of time on each of the characters (as the action cross-cuts between the two of them) and that things didn’t happen too fast or too slow.

My only issues with the flow: There were a few instances that I felt important or interesting action was glossed over to get us to the next development. This happened only a few times, but I did note it. Second, the time passage was done very well in terms of character development, but the chapter headings, being in Japanese (or pseudo-Japanese, I’m not sure) that were supposed to tell us how much time had gone by only confused me, so I had to ignore them.

Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5. I think I counted four grammatical/typographical errors in this novel. For as many pages as it is (286, paperback version), that’s a pretty good rate (less than one error per fifty pages). I’m happy with that. Good job, Virginia!

Overall: 4.75/5. What a ride! The story starts slow, builds up quickly, and finishes with a bang. I’m hoping for a sequel to this. Thank you for the read! You can purchase Blade's Edge at the link below.