Former temple assassin Aral Kingslayer has a price on his head and a mark on his soul. After his goddess was murdered, Aral found refuge in the shadow jack business, fixing problems for those on the fringes of Tien’s underworld. It’s a long step down from working for the Goddess of Justice, but it gives Aral and Triss—the living shadow who is his secret partner—a reason to get up in the morning.
When two women hit a rough spot in the tavern Aral uses for an office, he and Triss decide to lend a helping hand--only to find themselves in the middle of a three-way battle to find an artifact that just might be the key to preventing a war. And with so many factions on their trail, Aral and Triss are attracting a lot more attention than anyone featured on ten thousand wanted posters can afford…
So while I liked Broken Blade I felt like there were a few things that McCullough, the author, could have done better that kept it from a really good novel.
Apparently McCullough is a mind reader though, because most of the complaints I had for Broken Blade were corrected in Bared Blade.
Some of these new highlights that readers may enjoy (I certainly know I did) were; a larger role for Triss (Aral’s dragon shadow familiar), a much greater insight into some of the other magic disciplines, an explanation to a much greater details some of the magic, and it felt like a lot more action.
Now I could be wrong and there was the same amount of action in the previous book or even more, but in Bared Blade, to me, it felt like the action scenes flowed easier in this sophomore novel.
Of course besides the action, Bared Blade continues to create and maintain an interesting set of characters, including and most specifically, Aral. Aral is an interesting protagonist. He’s been broken for the past few years, and only really now in the 2nd book does he really begin to come out of his depression. He is no longer the white knight of justice blindly following his goddesses commands, now he is grey, tainted by the real world, but still striving to do justice, in whatever way he can. And because of this he is almost like a new born duckling, still learning the ways the of the world, unsure of his footing, which is fantastic to read about and to watch the transformation as he rebuilds himself. Of course I’m also a huge fan of Triss, so I was thrilled when he really gets enough lines in this book to be considered a major character as opposed to Broken Blade, where he had minimalists lines that I didn’t feel did him justice. Triss is funny, unique, and breaks the sense of depression that sometimes looms over Aral.
Over all, I was really very happy with Bared Blade. It took the good parts of Broken Blade and maintained them while fixing those weaker spots in the first novel. Further, its full of action, fun characters, and an interesting plot. All in all a fun summer read.
Published: June 26, 2012
Link to buy: http://www.amazon.com/Bared-Blade-Fallen-Novel/dp/1937007677