The Bard’s Blade was absolutely captivating and incredibly very well written. The prose is simple yet extremely engaging. The story is crafted in a way that makes it effortless to read, and I absolutely mean this as a positive. It is one of the reasons this book sank it’s teeth in me early on and did not let go until the very end.
At it’s core, The Bard’s Blade is a character driven story, which is my absolute favorite kind. There is something that just hooks me in when we spend a lot of time with characters and really get to know who they are, how they think. I loved meeting and following the two main characters, Lem and Mariyah, on their many misadventures. The Bard’s Blade is also centred around two themes that I feel we just don’t see enough, in my humble opinion, in the Fantasy landscape: Music and Love.
Sure, you will most likely see those themes in most SFF stories in some form or another, but in this one they are at the forefront of everything else. Lem is one of the world’s most gifted musician, his talent is only rivalled by his love for Mariyah, who very much feels the same way about him. Without spoiling much, they are somehow separated early on in the story and while there is a much bigger and darker story overarching everything else, their love and desire to reunite very much drives the story forward. I found myself really caring about them and wanted them to find each other. But nothing is as simple as that, unfortunately.
For you readers out there who are drawn to a lot of action in books, it’s important to note that there are not a lot of “action scenes” per say in this one. That is not to say that the book doesn’t have it’s moments that filled me with angst and had me turning the pages with one eye closed. It definitely did. It’s just worth mentioning that this isn’t one of the main aspects of this story. We do however get very rich world building and lore to go along the character driven story. This was more than enough to keep me reading late into the night.
The secondary characters also added some very interesting additional voices to the story. They had very distinct, fleshed out personalities of their own and made me care about (or absolutely hate) them in unexpected ways. I really loved how these characters gave life to Lem’s and Mariyah’s individual paths. They each grew in different ways while apart from each other and while I was always wanting them to reunite, seeing how they evolved on their own added shades of grey to their story and I am intrigued to see how things develop from here.
Reading the synopsis, I wasn’t expecting to love these characters and this story as much as I did. It really surprised me in all the best ways and I am really excited to get into book 2 as soon as possible.