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  • Bards Are Dangerous Too!

    The Bard's Blade. Where do I start? I've read almost all of Brian D. Anderson's books, or rather, listened to them in audio. He is an excellent storyteller, worldbuilder, and character developer. Most of his books are a much faster pace, with lots of action. This, however, was done at a much slower pace. It is clear TOR wanted Brian to slow down his pacing, and focus on character development, flesh out the world, and deliver a little less action. That is fine. I was excited to see how Brian would slow things down. We all love those great epics that have a slower story pace with more complexity of the world. Brian delivered on some of that. A few problems I found were by slowing it down, Brian still wanted to write the action, and may have still been limited by word count. What this means is that there are times, when the author is jumping too much time. I wish it would have been slowed down further. The pace was slow going, with good character developments, then they'd reach a point, usually a turning point, then there'd be a time jump of several days, weeks, or months. So you see how a character begins down a path, but you don't see them progress. It goes from the start to them hardened already by what they were doing. A good example of this without giving too much away, is when a new assassin begins his journey, you're there for his first job, but then the next scene and he's already hardened by it on job #20 or something. Or, as a Bard begins to play for royalty, you don't really see him progressing to get a reputation, but see him before he was known, to him being well-known. Or two characters finding each other late in the story, they've already come so far, and have changed completely, but you've barely seen on screen of how they've changed that much. I think this book could have been a lot better if it had been slowed down, and shown all these progressions, and if this book would have been a tomb like Wheel of Time or The Name of the Wind, instead of the average length of a Epic Fantasy book. That being said, I love the world Brian has created, and highlighting a Bard, which is neat since you don't see them highlighted too often in Epic Fantasy, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. The two narrators, male and female, did a fantastic job with the narration.

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  • Slow pacing but engaging

    The Bard’s Blade reads a lot like a young adult rather than adult fiction and would certainly be a good choice for younger readers stepping into the adult fiction side of reading. Anderson’s writing toes the line with beautiful writing being almost too descriptive but he somehow managed to pull me in with the stark contrast of the lovely, peaceful descriptions of Vylari and the brutality of the outside world. Given that this is the start of a new series, there is a lot of information to learn about the world and yet we only learn at the same rate as Lem and Mariyah which made the pacing maddeningly slow at times. After about 60%, the pacing picked up as the story arcs grew more compelling but the first 50% was a bit slow Ultimately, I wasn’t quite blown away but I was engaged enough to continue reading even when I had a stack of other ARCs to get to. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Mariyah in the second book! **I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to the team at Tor for sending a copy my way!

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