Broken Blade by Kelly McCullough
After finishing a book that I loved as much as Django Wexler’s The Shadow Throne, it can be very difficult for me to just jump into whatever is next on the list. For whatever reason, I simply need to read something similarly engaging – and in this case, that meant wonderful writing, great characters, set in a fantasy world.
Luckily for me, I came across Kelly McCullough’s Broken Blade, the first book in his A Fallen Blade series. McCullough is not a name I had ever heard before, and no doubt I might have continued to pass it by, if not for the continued repeat appearances in Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” series of recommendations (which, honestly, is the best way to find new books to read, in my opinion). I’m a terrible Amazon Kindle sample reader, because samples are supposed to cull supposed possibilities, rather than increase the number. Broken Blade was the third of three samples I had sent myself in the wake of Django Wexler’s The Shadow Throne, and unlike the other two, I was caught immediately.
The book opens brilliantly, doing exactly what the author was hoping for – drawing the reader in to a new take on magic, and an irreverent take on a hero.
And thankfully, the author manages to never let up. Our hero, Aral, once a Blade of Namara, now a lowly jack, finds himself drawn inexorably into the world he had left behind – or, more rightly, been forced to leave behind. Aral is no fool, and the author doesn’t force him to be unwittingly dragged into ever more dangerous situations – rather, Aral begins to find his old self, his old identity, and after initially falling from the pan into the fire, begins to wade ever deeper into the depths of the flame.
Along the way we meet a number of fascinating characters from Aral’s past, and present, that fill the story out wonderfully. By the time the book ends, it isn’t hard to compare it to Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria series of books, with the same irreverent attitude for hero-ing, good man forced to live in the shadows, and larger than life characters.
There seems to be the seeds for a much larger story, but from what I can tell by reading the blurbs for the next two books, any possible continuation will be secondary to individual tales that continue to grow the character of Aral.
Don’t let the Kindle price fool you, Kelly McCullough’s A Fallen Blade series is going to be one to keep an eye on. McCullough writes with a grace not usually found these days, and while it doesn’t stray into the realm of Brandon Sanderson- or Robert Jordan-style epic fantasy, that’s all for the better. Instead, we get to stay closer to the ground, in a corner of the world that allows a more intimate and personal interaction with a fascinating characters.
This Broken Blade book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: A Fallen Blade Novel
A Fallen Blade Novel #1
Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer fought for justice and his goddess alongside his familiar, a living shadow called Triss. Now with their goddess murdered and ...
A Fallen Blade Novel #2
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...
A Fallen Blade Novel #3
Aral was an assassin and sorcerer in the service of Namara, one of her Blades of Justice. Then his goddess was murdered, her temple destroyed and her followers slain or dri...
A Fallen Blade Novel #4
After the fall of the goddess of justice, temple assassin Aral Kingslayer lost his purpose in life and turned to the bottle. That might have been the end of him if luck had...
A Fallen Blade Novel #5
Once one of the world’s greatest assassins, Aral Kingslayer has finally reclaimed his swords and his soul. But the forces that destroyed his patron Namara twelve year...
A Fallen Blade Novel #6
Aral Kingslayer has nothing to lose - and only justice to gain. Torn apart by the death of his goddess, he must avenge her in order to save himself from being lost forever....
Have you read Broken Blade?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Broken Blade reader reviews
Jananda from South Africa
Loved it and my sister loved it too. I liked the style it was written in, usually I don't like first-person novels but with this book it didn't bother me at all. I also liked the fact that the author didn't drag out a scene or situation, not too much detail but also not too little. It was fast paced without being too fast and overwhelming. Looking to get the next books for sure!
9/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Red Queen's War
The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other. Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line t...
A Song of Ice and Fire
George RR Martin
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robe...
The Inheritance Trilogy
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the...
Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies...
As shadows threaten to consume the kingdom of Southmarch, Barrick Eddon, heir to March throne, battles his way across the sinister Shadowlands. He must journey through this...
The Goblin Emperor
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his fath...
War with the Mein
David Anthony Durham
Ruling from the island of Acacia, the emperor of the Known World has inherited an apparent peace and prosperity won by his ancestors generations ago. He's an intelligen...
A thousand years ago, the people of Achar drove the Forbidden from their lands. But now the northern tribes of the Ravensbund are fleeing south again, with nightmarish tale...
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow's Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow...
The Walkers of Legend
Two young men are thrown to opposite sides of a war where both will fight to prevent their homeland, the world’s last pocket of free people, from being consumed by a ...
Mark Charan Newton
The monarchies of the Royal Vispasian Union have been bound together for two hundred years by laws maintained and enforced by the powerful Sun Chamber. As a result, nations...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
Brood of Bones
Cursed with endless drowsiness, Enchantress Hiresha sleeps more than she lives. Since she never has had a chance to raise a family, she sometimes feels like every woman is ...
King Rolen's Kin Series
Rowena Cory Daniells
Only seven minutes younger than Rolencia's heir, Byren has never hungered for the throne. He laughs when a seer predicts that he will kill his twin. But the royal heir ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended high fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring royalty, monarchy and empire
Best of 2016
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly train...
The Star Touched Queen
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more ...
The Pagan Night
Ruling with an iron hand, the Church has eliminated the ancient pagan ways. Yet demonic gheists terrorize the land, hunted by the Inquisition, while age-old hatreds rage betwe...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess renders them indistinguishable from gods?The answer lies across the...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...
The Dog Stars
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...