Thursday, 11 February 2021

Elena Reviews: Blades of Magic {Crown Service #1} By Terah Edun

 Title: Blades of Magic

{Crown Service #1}

Author: Terah Edun

Publication Date: March 2014

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

It is not a peaceful time in the Algardis Empire. War is raging between the mages and seventeen-year-old Sara Fairchild will be right in the middle of it.

She just doesn't know it yet.

Sara is the daughter of a disgraced imperial commander, executed for desertion. Sara is also the best duelist and hand-to-hand combatant in Sandrin. She lives quietly with her family’s shame but when challenged about her family’s honor, her opponent inevitably loses.

On the night she finds out her father’s true last actions, she takes the Mercenary Guilds’ vows to serve in the emperor’s army. Using her quick wits and fierce fighting skills, she earns a spot in the first division.

There she discovers secrets the mages on both sides would prefer stay hidden. Dark enemies hunt her and soon it's not just Sara questioning the motivation behind this war.

While fighting mages, blackmailing merchants and discovering new friends, Sara comes across something she’s never had before - passion. The question is - can she fight for her empress against a mage who might unwittingly claim her heart?

This is year one of the Initiate Wars. Sara is hoping it doesn't become the year she dies.
I want to preface this by saying that I had no actual plans to read this book, neither was it ever on my TBR, written down or digital that is. That is quite an important statement, considering that I absolutely loved this book! I must've downloaded it on Kindle years ago, when I was going through the deals and free reads section on the Amazon store, but I rediscovered it while searching for something else that I actually planned on reading. Now that this exciting experience of picking this one up in the first place is almost over, let's move on to what I actually thought about Blades of Magic. It was probably one of the most enjoyable Fantasy novels I've read in a while! I'm a sucker for magic and the many forms it can take through different storylines and perspectives. This one was more on the dark side, since there were some pretty detailed descriptions of death and mayhem, with magic being used for nefarious purposes and a war that had extremely grave consequences for those who chose to be actively involved in it, as well as for those who well completely unaware of its extent.

Not really going to talk about the plot, because it is so tightly packed with information that never felt too unrelated to the story itself that I wouldn't want to cause any confusion or provide descriptions that don't make sense, because I'm writing this review a couple of weeks after reading Blades of Magic, which I try to avoid but, well, life happens. As for the characters, I loved Sara! After reading so many Fantasy books about assassins and wars and everything that goes hand in hand with killing for a supposedly meaningful purpose, I think I've found my ideal heroine. Sara is neither pretentious nor hypocritical in terms of her truth and how she chose to express it. I admired her even more as the story progressed and even though her development wasn't as evident as you'd think, it was definitely there and it started unfolding in a way that was neither forced nor unnatural for the plot itself. Which is why I can't way to see how she will be portrayed in the next books of the series. 

The fighting scenes were a thing to behold, which I won't stop mentioning because they were my favorite, with just enough details to keep me on the edge and make the adrenaline ready to leave my body in an explosion of excitement that couldn't be contained. Weird description, but at this point, I'll take what I can get, since I haven't been this excited about a Fantasy book in a while. Why  did I rate it with four stars instead of five you might be wondering though, right? Well, it was just too short. The author chose the safe way of providing the reader with just enough information to keep an extremely interesting story going, without making it boring or writing scenes that would drag on and become an unnecessary addition to an otherwise flawless storyline. 

What I'm trying to say is that, basically, there were no filler chapter whatsoever throughout this novel. Which, in my opinion, was a very wise choice. Information that wouldn't have added anything to the plot was nowhere to be found, which isn't something that can be said for books in general, since authors usually choose to fill in the gaps with dialogues and scenes that might not make sense in the grand scheme of things or fulfil a particular purpose in the long run. But, at the same time, taking this risk might prove more than successful for some, since they can use these gaps to include valuable and sometimes important information about the setting or the characters in an inconspicuous way that only adds to the thrill of the story. That's a very hit or miss process though and I really hope that the next book will incorporate more on how things work in this fascinating realm and what role Sara actually might play in the plans that started to unfold in the last couple of pages of this one! 

As I'm writing this, I've realized that I haven't mentioned Ezekiel at all! I feel like he is one of the best supporting characters in a series I've personally read, since he balances out Sara's chaos perfectly. He's the ideal contrast to her impulsive and sometimes out of hand ways. He was introduced in a very interesting way, in my opinion and I loved their banter throughout the novel, I think it managed to add a touch of light in the darkness that was the reality of what they were going through. They're such an odd pair and when I started reading Blades of Magic, I seriously thought that Ezekiel wouldn't have been able to survive the first couple of chapters, but boy was I wrong! Another fact I immensely enjoyed was that their friendship was just that, a friendship. There wasn't a note of romance or something else that might've suggested it, which was such a refreshing thing to come across, since books -the majority of the time, at least- are always concerned about introducing a love interest from the very beginning, as if they can't really find more authentic ways of holding the reader's interest in place and creating a story based on anything other than a romantic relationship. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about romance when romance is due, but coming across a Fantasy novel that didn't even hint at it was a sight to behold! 

Overall, reading Blades of Magic was a breathtaking experience! It was thrilling, it was exciting and it managed to keep my on the edge until I finished it. I actually bought the sequel right away, in Kindle that is, which is important because I've never spent money on a digital book before. I'm a physical book kind of girl, I don't like spending money on e-books, so me buying the sequel in Amazon Kindle actually says a lot! To finally wrap this review up, I cannot recommend this book enough! Definitely worth your time if you're looking for something quick and fun to take your breath away!

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