Review of The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson

It was an unexpected arrival, but book mail is always welcome at la casa de martes.  I started reading The Bard’s Blade in part due to comparisons to The Wheel of Time.  As it happens, I had just started a reread of The Eye of the World.  I am afraid The Bard’s Blade suffers in comparison.  And for other reasons.

Lem and Mariyah live an idyllic lifestyle in Vylari, magically insulated from Lamoria.  Lem plays music and lives with his uncle Shemi.  Mariyah helps run her family’s vineyard.  They are in love.  It all falls apart immediately, of course.  It should be impossible for someone from Lamoria to cross into Vylari.  When a man does with a dire warning, Lem chooses to leave the safety of Vylari in response.  Mariyah and Shemi follow.

The Bard’s Blade is an enjoyable read.  Lem, Mariyah, and Shemi are rich, well-drawn characters, as are the various minor characters.  The worldbuilding and macro plot are intriguing.  But.

The worldbuilding and plotting feel thinly sketched reading it alongside The Eye of the World.  Many books would, so that can hardly be fatal.  No bards appear, although they are mentioned.  Okay.  But in the end, after 430 pages of story, Anderson leaves us with what I simply cannot call a complete book.  Not nearly enough happens.  And the climax, such as it is, is a conversation—one of the dumbest conversations I have ever read in fiction.

I liked the book, for the most part.  Stick the landing and it is somewhere from 3-4 stars.  Anderson does not.  (There are a couple twists that were intended to do a lot of the heavy lifting, but both were far too obvious to be effective for me.)

2.5 of 5 Stars.


Disclosure: The publisher sent me an unsolicited review copy of The Bard’s Blade.

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Review of The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson

  1. This seems to be a big issue with a lot of modern fantasy, nothing fucking happens, and the first book seems like a character intro. I felt like that about The Name of the Wind, nothing fucking happened, and what did happen was droll. Same with Abercrombie..

    Liked by 2 people

    • H.P. says:

      This is a huge problem with modern tradpub fantasy, although it works a bit different here. Usually people stand around talking for hundreds of pages then the author tries to shoehorn in a climax in the last 50 pages. Here there is a bit more plot than that (although kind of awkwardly paced) but almost no effort is made to provide a satisfying conclusion (even one that leaves the story open-ended).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the review! I wasn’t really interested in the story but only saw raving reviews so far. Lots of people seem to read this one at the moment.

    Good to see that not everyone liked it & I don’t have to give in & read it xD

    And no bards???

    Liked by 2 people

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