Reviews tagging 'Xenophobia'

A Broken Blade by Melissa Blair

7 reviews

akajam's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

I devoured this book! Melissa Blair has a talent for authentic characters who sizzle on the page. Loved it and NEED book two. 

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ninjatrombonist's review against another edition

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dark sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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terezax's review against another edition

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dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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lastblossom's review against another edition

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adventurous sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
tl;dr
Solid inclusion in the ladies who are assassins in fantasy worlds genre with a lot of cool characters. World building can be confusing.

About
Keera is the King's Blade, his favorite assassin. She's killed many in his name, including her own people. Her latest mission is to hunt down the Shadow, a mysterious fighter who's been causing trouble for the crown. But when she chases the Shadow into the faelands, she discovers that everything she's learned about the kingdom and her history may be a lie.

Thoughts
Are YOU a person who likes a YA/NA fantasy novel centered on a female who carries a ton of blades? Because if so, I've got great news for you. "Lady has a lot of sharp objects" is one of my favorite genres, and I was happy to discover that this one is genuinely lethal, and not simply lethal by lip service. (Her kill count in this book alone is well over a dozen.) There are actual several ladies with sharp objects in here, and several fight scenes where they get to show off. This book also features quite a bit of magic, a masquerade ball, political shenanigans, and a sparse amount of lovemaking (spice level: middle?). While there's a clear enemies-to-lovers slow burn going on, it largely takes a back seat to story, so don't expect too much on that front.

World building is sometimes difficult to follow. Terms like fae, elf, mage, and halfling all hold specific meanings that don't always line up with the widely accepted definitions, and then we find out later in the book that some of those definitions were misconceptions anyway. It's a lot to try to keep sorted.

As for the plot, it takes a while to get started. The actual conflict between Keera and the Shadow is postponed quite a bit, and there's a lot of time spend setting up the pieces on the metaphorical game board. I don't think genre savvy readers will find a lot of surprises, but it's still a mostly satisfying series of events, with a
Spoilercliffhanger ending that puzzled me a little bit in terms of its execution
.

As a final note, Keera's alcoholism plays a major role in the story and her arc, and might be a difficult read for some.

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aliciawhatsthestory's review against another edition

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5


Wow. What a journey from watching booktokers receive their anonymous ARCs of this book to now, finishing my own eARC from Melissa’s publisher—Union Square & Co.

This debut YA fantasy novel was such a great read. Once I got to the 30% mark, I couldn’t put it down. This is the book that will keep you up reading until 5 am. I loved that you get all the fantastical elements of other high fantasy, but with an anti-colonialist perspective. You really get a look into not only the workings of Keera’s world, but also into how she has been affected as a woman who has never been able to choose how to live her own life, including dealing with grief, alcohol abuse, physical violence, and threats of sexual violence (please do check TWs before reading!), not to mention the guilt that hangs over Keera from actions she was forced to take or die herself. 

My single complaint about this book was that, at times I felt like a little detail in the world building was left out, leaving me a little confused about technical things like how exactly Fae/Elven/Mortal/Halfblood genetics work. 

That aside, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a dazzling debut that left me anxious for more (as in I need book 2 right now so I can find out what happens after this cliffhanger!!!). I will eagerly await more from Melissa Blair, and I’ll definitely be picking up a physical copy of the gorgeous, subtly metallic, paperback to add to my shelves when I can. 

Thank you to #netgalley and the publisher for granting me a advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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grace_yin's review

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25


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phantasmaboo's review against another edition

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adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.5

A Broken Blade by Anonymous follows Keera, the King's Blade as she travels through the kingdom trying to hunt down a mysterious figure called "The Shadow". Throughout her journey, she forges new alliances, reevaluates her priorities, and ultimately has to decide who she is. 

While ambitious, I didn't find it to be particularly well-written.  There was also a general failure of world building. Overall, the writing meanders without clear point or purpose. The plot vacillates between being too fast and too slow with entire chapters being devoted to the minutiae of the characters' actions while other areas that should be more fleshed out are handled too quickly. Even at the end of the book, I didn't feel like I understood the world, its inhabitants, or the alliances. I almost wish that the ending of this book happened at the end of the first act of this book after a clear set up of the world. It would have been far more interesting.

I also thought there was a distinct lack of character building. For example, character's vices never truly affected the plot or their ability to complete their missions. I felt like the author was afraid to highlight or incapable of highlighting her characters' flaws and traumas and allowing them to affect the plot. To some degree, it felt like the flaws that were presented were simply there to offset the somewhat Mary-Sue-ness of the main protagonist. For example,
Spoiler Keera is portrayed as an assassin who turns to alcoholism after the death of her friend. However, with a quick potion, she is able to control it and it never affects her missions. This problem also disappears almost halfway through the book, as if alcoholism can be resolved in such a short period of time.
The effect was that the cast felt very flat with little depth. The last 4-5 pages were more interesting than the preceding 75. Major plot points and reveals are never built up to. They just come out of nowhere or they reference proceedings from many chapters before. 

As my final review, I gave this book 2.5 stars. I hope that the author continues to work on their writing, but I'm not sure I'm very interested in continuing to read the saga. 




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