The Queen’s Blade was a quick, light, well-written read. Taking place in a fantasy world it’s the story of two kingdoms caught in an ancient and on-going war. One side (home of lush, fertile farmlands and valleys) has a queen, the other (a desert kingdom) has a king.
In order to end the war Queen Minna-Satu calls forth an assassin to kill the king and capture his heir. While there are three main characters (Blade, Minna and the Prince) there is no forced love-triangle. It’s well written, entertaining and had several points in its favor.
The first: The world was presented with no tedious explanation. No lengthy chapters detailing how everything came to be; instead, it just jumped right on in and let the reader get to the good parts. The story.
Second: The idea of animal familiars, while a little simplistic, was interesting enough that I actually wanted some back story. Everyone had one, everyone had a trait (the man with the boar familiar was big and stocky; the man with the fox familiar was said to be sharp featured and clever, etc;).
Third: It was well-written and while reading it I had the sense that the author actually knew what they were doing. Southwell had a backstory in mind that was hinted at and shaped the story without boring the reader with exposition. The characters didn’t act like mindless puppets in a romance novel. (Boy sees girl, loves her despite everything, gives in to every demand, etc;) No swooning, only a little mooning.
All in all it was worth the downloading. However, I’m not sure I was caught enough to want to spend $30 on buying the rest in the series, and another $8 on the two prequels.
I’d recommend it for fantasy fans who want a light take on familiar tropes. However, be warned that while there are no explicit scenes (one fight scene and a handful of assassinations) there are adult subject matters dealt with in this book that deal with children, violence and mentions of abuse. It’s never gone into in detail, but some people might be put off by it.
The Queen’s Blade is book one of an eight book series; none of the other seven books are free. Her website can be found at: T.C. Southwell Fantasy