Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough

(8.0/10)

Reviewing books can, at times, be quite difficult. There are the bad books and authors you have to wade through – which is an obvious difficulty. But more troublesome to me is the need to differentiate between “one-of-a-kind” authors and “great” authors. Not everyone gets to be a “one-of-a-kind” author, and sometimes relegating an author to simply “great” can be difficult for a reviewer.

For example, Kelly McCullough has quickly become one of my most beloved authors, with his A Fallen Blade series keeping me reading until the wee hours of many mornings. The rapid pace with which I have read and reviewed the first four books of the series should be sign enough of just how much I’m enjoying McCullough’s writing, his characters, and his world.

Does McCullough fit into the “one-of-a-kind” category of author? Not yet – though I hold out hope for further along in his career. That being said, these books are time and again some of the most enjoyable books I read. I might rate Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive books 10/10, but I would be hard pressed to identify between Sanderson and McCullough who I enjoy more.

With the fifth book in his A Fallen Blade series, McCullough allows for Aral Kingslayer to begin enjoying life a little more. He has made some personal growth, has come to several beneficial discoveries, and is not so brought-low by addiction or depression as we have seen him in the previous books. This character growth is one of the defining aspects of this series, and one of the reasons that it is so easy to latch onto Aral as our hero.

Drawn Blades picks up quite soon after the fourth book of the series, and finally reveals to us one of Aral’s oft-mentioned past friends. Siri, the First Blade of Namara has finally surfaced, and there’s trouble afoot that only Aral can help with. His status as “indispensable” could have begun to become annoying, or tropey, but it doesn’t, with McCullough using characteristics founded well and truly in the early books to develop his importance without it becoming ridiculous. He’s not all-powerful, he’s not all-seeing, and it seems that more and more Triss and Faran are doing a lot of the heavy lifting – which is not to say that Aral isn’t still a brilliant Blade, but just that he hasn’t reverted to an all-perfect caricature.

As happens in many of these books, there are several minor crises that need completing before the real story can begin, but when it does there’s no stopping until the last page hits. We finally get to walk around inside the Sylvani Empire, and the future of Aral and his companions is becoming a lot clearer, with several big tasks needing completing sooner rather than later.

The additional characters that are brought along to provide our heroes and villains with their foils and fill them in on information are interesting, though aren’t given a lot of room. Aral and Triss still spend too much time in their own head, a convenient excuse to explain away the author’s desires for his primary characters. There is a lot of talking between Aral and Triss – as well as Aral and Faran, Faran and Siri, and Siri and Aral – which sometimes feels unnecessary, other times reads very slowly, and only sometimes is really intriguing. There’s a lot of set up necessary, I realise, but the oh-so-obvious need to explain things to the reader (read: character who for whatever reason doesn’t know the information we the reader need to know) can become quite tiresome.

Nevertheless, I consider these relatively inconsequential issues in the larger picture of a beautifully told, wonderfully fantastical tale of epic proportions. Kelly McCullough’s A Fallen Blade series is an absolute must for any self-confessed fantasy fan, as five books in, and they’re still absolutely brilliant reads.

Review by

15+

All reviews for Kelly McCullough's A Fallen Blade Novel series

Broken Blade

by Kelly McCullough

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 [...]

Series: A Fallen Blade Novel #1
Published: 0000

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews

15+

Bared Blade

by Kelly McCullough

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 [...]

Series: A Fallen Blade Novel #2
Published: 0000

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews

15+

Crossed Blades

by Kelly McCullough

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 [...]

Series: A Fallen Blade Novel #3
Published: 2012

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

15+

Blade Reforged

by Kelly McCullough

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 [...]

Series: A Fallen Blade Novel #4
Published: 0000

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews

15+

Drawn Blades

by Kelly McCullough

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 [...]

Series: A Fallen Blade Novel #5
Published: 0000

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews

15+

Darkened Blade

by Kelly McCullough

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. [...]

Series: A Fallen Blade Novel #6
Published: 0000

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews

15+

Drawn Blades reader reviews

8/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

by NK Jemisin

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 [...]

Series: The Inheritance Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 2010

Score: 106

Our rating: 10.0 | 6 positive reader reviews

15+

The Raven Tower

by Ann Leckie

For centuries the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by a god known as the Raven. But in their hour of need, the Raven speaks nothing to its people. It is into this unres [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2019

Score: 102

Our rating: 10.0 | 2 positive reader reviews

15+

Nevernight

by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight is the first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author, Jay Kristoff.In a land where three suns almost never [...]

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published: 2016

Score: 100

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Touch of Iron

by Timandra Whitecastle

Is the Living Blade real or just a legend? With it... Prince Bashan could win back his kingdom. Master Telen Diaz can free himself of the burden from his past. Owen Smith s [...]

Series: The Living Blade: Book 1
Published: 2016

Score: 100

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+