Redemption’s Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication date: 26 July 2018
Genre: Adult fantasy
Page count: 520 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
As you guys may know by now, I love fantasy books that investigate the aftermath of wars or sieges — I’m always keen to see what happens after the dust settles. I was very interested in Redemption’s Blade for that exact reason — it shows the consequences of the classic good-versus-evil fantasy battle that I so craved in books like Lord of the Rings. It is also written by Adrian Tchaikovsky, the author of one favourite books.
Ten years ago, the renegade demigod known as the Kinslayer returned. His armies of monsters issued from the pits of the earth, spearheaded by his brutal Yorughan soldiers. He won every battle, leaving burnt earth and corruption behind. Thrones toppled and cities fell as he drove all before him. And then he died. A handful of lucky heroes and some traitors amongst his own, and the great Kinslayer was no more.
Celestaine was one such hero and now she has tasked herself to correct the worst excesses of the Kinslayer and bring light back to her torn-up world. With two Yorughan companions she faces fanatics, war criminals and the monsters and minions the Kinslayer left behind as the fragile alliances of the war break down into feuding, greed and mistrust.
The Kinslayer may be gone, but he cast a long shadow she may never truly escape.
I think Redemption’s Blade was a book that was a great idea in theory, but didn’t necessarily work in practice. The plot is incredibly thin and really felt like a vehicle for exploring this war-broken world — Celestaine’s journey was pretty bland and generic. What the plot does effectively is carry the reader through various parts of the world so we can meet other races and cultures and see how the war affected them. For me, this cultural exploration was one of the things that worked so well. I really enjoy old-school fantasy and Redemption’s Blade feels like a throwback to those classic worlds and plots. We have multiple races that were enslaved, created, or destroyed by the villain, and I found myself most drawn to these cultures and how they are trying to heal after the war.
Similar to the plot, I felt like Celestaine’s character was a little thin. I never really got a feel of who she was. She told us her thoughts and we saw her actions and reactions, but she never really came to life for me. She’s a classic brooding hero character, and I really wanted more from her. Again, she feels a little like a vehicle for investigating this world and the effects of the war. I did, however, really enjoy the side characters. Heno and Nedlam were easily the best part of the book. They’re Yorughan, creatures bred by the Kinslayer specifically to subjugate and torment other races during the war, who are freed from his oppressive grasp after their master is defeated. They just want to figure out how to live in a post-war world, but they still represent everything the Kinslayer stood for. I really loved their characterisation and their struggles to overcome the past they never wanted. They were easily the best part of the book for me.
Overall, I thought Redemption’s Blade was a decent read, but nothing that stood out as spectacular. I really loved the concept of the book, but I just didn’t feel it worked as well as it could have. This series will continue on with different authors exploring other concepts are parts of the world, however I don’t think I will pick up the next book.
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