Hey hey hey, it’s time for another review from Team Weatherdrifter!! This review should have been out about a week ago but I’m in the middle of moving and my goodness, what a process.
The Mortal Blade
This is the story of a city ruled by gods (mostly demigods at this point) and some of the mortals that live there. We see the story from a few different points of view, mostly that of Corthie Holdfast, who is the newest Champion in the city, and Maddie Jackdaw, who is a mischievous Blade who has been placed in so many different companies that she’s down to the last posting she can have before she gets shoved into the worst one.
I liked Corthie. He’s a mortal but has powers, unlike every other mortal in the city. He’s immune to the gods’ powers too, which is also very unique in this place. He seems to be from another world, one where mortals with powers are more common. He was brought to the city by one of the demigods for the purpose of fighting the creatures that are eternally sieging the city.
I didn’t start out liking Maddie, but as the story went on and we met Blackrose, who is the dragon she is charged with taking care of, I started liking her and her part in the story much, much more. Blackrose is a great character: a big, grumpy dragon who refuses to fight for the city and so is therefore imprisoned and kept a secret from everyone else.
The story was well written, and the world was well built, but there were parts that I didn’t like as much. I found the parts from Daniel’s POV largely boring, and I didn’t really like him or his parts of the story, and wished I could skip them. There was also a romance between Corthie and one of the other POV characters, and it largely made me roll my eyes with how completely instantaneous it was.
I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator, Shaun Grindell, did a good job. His voices for each character, especially Corthie, were entertaining and made it easy to listen to the book for a few hours at a time.
All told, I liked The Mortal Blade and found it entertaining most of the time, but I didn’t love it. However, I think that someone that was into YA fantasy, with snarky talking dragons, magical powers, and some political maneuvering should give this one a try, because they might love the things about it that I didn’t. 6.75/10 stars!~
For a YA book I was surprised at how many POVs we got, and honestly I’m not sure if it really worked for me. From the start it got kind of confusing hopping around so many different heads, but I will say they were different enough from one another that once I hit a couple of their chapters I was able to tell them apart… but I still wasn’t spending enough time with each of them to care for all of them. I ended up also liking Maddie and kind of Corthie.
There was another POV named Daniel and for the first book he didn’t serve a big part in the meat of the story. His story arc was focused on his failed romances/courtships and how they’re impacting his noble-but-on-the-way-down-the-social-ladder family. They are grasping at anything to keep them afloat and he’s ruined one of the newest and possibly last potential wives. I think he’s being set up to be something big later, but because it wasn’t particularly relevant to the here and now I found it really hard to care.
I did like Maddie quite a bit by the end even though I wasn’t a huge fan at the start. She’s immature, quick to anger, and has also been on her way down the social ladder, but in the military. She’s come from a semi-important family, important enough to keep her from being thrown into the chum bucket that is the front lines against the monsters that attack the city. So, since her family name does hold some sway, she’s been assigned something secretive instead. She’s taking care of a giant and ornery dragon named Blackrose. There are two dragons who are held in the city as well, one of them freely kills the monsters to help out, the other one has said go fuck yourself. Maddie and the gofuckyourself dragon are two peas in a pod.
Corthie has been taken away from his home against his will and has been thrust into this new world, literally. There are devices that can take people and dragons and whatever else between worlds, willingly or not. So Corthie has been assigned to help the city keep away these green monsters that are seiging the city non stop. There’s anot a lot of explanation for these guys other than they have destroyed most of the other towns/cities across this river/waterway. When the dry season comes the waterway dries up and it allows them to try and attack the city. I’ve got a lot of questions about these guys. We’re told that no matter how many you kill, they just come back in the same numbers, and that the water is the most effective way to keep them away. Well, if they’re keeping up insurmountable numbers… what are they eating? How are they reproducing like that? If they’ve already destroyed everything on their side of the water… a siege should only last as long as the food…? Questions like this popped up a lot for me while reading and although it made for entertaining scenes when Corthie battles his way through them, it just raised a lot of questions for me as well. Corthie himself is pretty likable, he’s got a sense of humor, he’s down to earth, he’s humble and he’s loyal. He thinks the world of his sister who he has every faith will come and save him and take him back to his own world. And eventually his relationship with Blackrose the dragon was endearing.
There’s also a princess POV, Aela and she falls in love with Corthie. This is probably my least favorite part of the book. Barely anything happens between these two, there’s not a lot of screen time, all they do is kiss, and there’s this 900 year old lady who’s falling head over heels for somebody she’s kissed once. It feels 19 not 900. She’s got neat powers though. She’s able to make people perceive her as anyone she wishes, it’s a kind of illusionary magic. She’s also addicted to opium which isn’t something you see often in fantasy books. Her family dynamics being one of the demigods are complicated and full of backstabbing.
The writing itself was great, I flew through this book and I really enjoyed the dialogue, particularly Corthie. I felt that it wasn’t overburdened with details but still gave me a good idea of what was going on. Nothing stood out as awkward or poorly worded, and it was easy to just lose myself in the audiobook — very good choice for narrator.
Overall, what I can say about this book is I often liked what I got but wanted to know more about it, especially when it came to the world building aspects or relationships between characters, particularly the romances. I do think someone who’s looking for a lot of magic, lots of action, talking dragons and portals to other worlds may get a kick out of this one — especially if you like audiobooks.
- Plot: 9/15
- Characters: 9/15
- World Building: 9/15
- Writing: 12/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Originality: 10/15
- Enjoyment: 6/10
Final Score: 67/100