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Blades of the Old Empire: Book I of the Majat Code Mass Market Paperback – February 25, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Both Kyth and Ellah are likeable characters and it is a joy to follow their stories…A solid start to what looks to be an exciting series.”
– The British Fantasy Society

“If you’re in the mood for a fun fantasy with mercenaries, an evil brotherhood, then, yes, give Blades of the Old Empire a try.”
- Tenacious Reader

“Another great book from Angry Robot…I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for anyone who likes a good swashbuckling storyline.”
- Every Book Deserves to be Read

“Strong roots and parallels to history keep the reader grounded and enrich the world of this novel while magic and the characters keep it fresh and interest.”
- Heather McCorkle

“This book is action packed from the very first page, and is a good start to a series that I will look forward to reading more of.”
- Avid Reviews

“You get fast-paced travel with political intrigue and danger, amazing martial arts fights of extreme skill, cultural immersion from around the world, and a little hint of romance without ruining the tough fighter feel… I really cannot express enough times how highly I recommend this story to everyone.”
- In Pursuit of My Own Library

“I really enjoyed this book despite not being a huge fan of romance-themed novels. I feel it is for those who want more romance in their fantasy while also getting a hefty dose of action, adventure, and intrigue… It was a good book, and well worth the read. I’ll be reading this one again.”
- R.J. Blain

“Each scene is very well written. Action and dialog keep the story moving at a fast clip. The fight scenes were especially well written making it easy to see what was happening. Now I want to see what happens in the next book.”
- Mixed Book Bag




Praise for Anna Kashina:

"Kashina's Arabesque novel ... will have readers dream of summoning their own djinn."
-Publishers Weekly

"Substantial and vivid ... Enthralling" -RTimes Book Reviews
"A rich treasure trove of imagery, color, romance, intrigue, and mystery"
- ForeWord Reviews (Featured Review)

About the Author

Anna Kashina grew up in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994 after receiving her Ph.D. in cell biology from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She works as a biomedical researcher and combines career in science with her passion for writing. Anna's interests in ballroom dancing, world mythologies and folklore feed her high-level interest in martial arts of the Majat warriors. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Series: Majat Code
  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857664123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857664129
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anna Kashina was born in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994. Her fantasy and historical fiction appeared in original editions in Russia, Germany, Australia, and the US. She lives in Philadelphia, PA, and combines her writing with a successful career in biomedical research.

Customer Reviews

For a first book I was very impressed.nice pace,good characters.
victorm
I often felt as if there were things that took place but were never described to the reader.
FishorDie
The story is fast-paced, with a nice balance of adventure, action, and romance.
Yuri I. Wolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on March 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Blades of the Old Empire is not a book that I enjoyed reading. The fantasy elements were uninspired, the adventuring was boring, and the romance was very weak where the only feelings being felt between characters was a basic sexual attraction that rarely proceeded beyond awkward leering. There were a couple of cool action sequences, and the book is easy to read with a good pace, but there is nothing else I enjoyed about this book.

Also, I felt mislead by the marketing for this book. I was dragged into this book because the cover and synopsis make this book seem like this book is about Kara, an awesome Majat warrior doing awesome things, but that doesn't even come close to describing what this book is actually about. It's like saying the main character of The Lord of the Rings is Gandalf and the books are about his quest to become Gandalf the White. Yes Kara is an important character who does important things from time to time, but this is far from being her book, and there are many other characters doing many different things that are just as important, if not more important than Kara and the things she does. Kara probably belongs on the cover, but that synopsis really does a poor job at communicating what the book is actually about.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Debra L. Martin on April 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was drawn into this book by the cover. Who doesn't love an awesome female warrior? I wanted to learn everything about the Majat Guild, how they were selected, how they trained to attain their ranking, etc. but most all of the world building around this element of the story basically says everything is secret. That was disappointing and perhaps because this was a sequel to another series, it had already been explained. The action scenes with the Majat were exciting and well-done. However, one of the main plot points of the church being against all magic seemed incomplete. What was so terrible about magic? Had something terrible occurred because of magic and that's why there was laws forbidding it? This lack of background made it hard to understand the peril that Prince Kyth was actually in. I also was not invested in the secondary character's romances - too much unrequited love for one story especially when there was hardly any actions to support it. All in all, this was not a bad book. I did enjoy it, but I would definitely have liked to see more world building and character development in the story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By FishorDie on April 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Majat Code has some interesting ideas. The story has some continuity problems. I often felt as if there were things that took place but were never described to the reader. Kashina is not a world builder like a Martin, West, Cherryh, or Rothfuss. She has the potential to be, but is not there yet. Please note, in some editions, Chapter 49 is missing and is a pivotal point where many things happen. I will probably read the next book in the series.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Pecoraro on March 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Blades of the Old Empire is a really good fantasy novel with a really bad beginning. I was immediately put off by the first chapter or so. The characters were presented rapid fire during a fight scene and while this is typically a good way to start your novel; in this case it was very badly done. I was found it difficult to care about what was going on because I didn’t know who any of the characters were and while the pseudo-Arabian Knights style is not actually present in the book; the first chapter does the book no favors in this respect.

The actual work is interesting and has some really incredible areas. Mostly dealing with the Majat a sect of warriors who sell their swords through a guild to any who can pay their price. The concept itself seems a bit ridiculous and I will be very interested to see how and if the author fleshes the whole concept out in later books. But what I did like was her use of these characters and their personalities in the book. The main two non-Majat characters Kyth(a prince) and Ellah(a lady in waiting?) Were both pretty stereotypical. The politics in the book were also pretty wrote and typical. The Majat storyline that is interwoven throughout these very typical fantasy tropes is excellent and certainly worth reading the book for. In fact, as the book progress most of the uninteresting, typical things fall mostly to the wayside and the main Majat story takes over. Which is good… But I really would have preferred the author not take so much time to get to their destination.

While I didn’t love the book by any means, there was plenty of good to outweigh the boring and typical. The reader just has to take the time to get there. If you take the time, I’m sure you’ll like the book as much as I did.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cat on February 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book isn't exactly new and original either in plot or world building--it is in fact chock full of fantasy archetypes--and yet once I started I couldn't put it down. The reason: the characters and the skillful way the author portrays them.

Kara is one of the ultimate warriors called Majat in this novel. She is of the highest rank/skill, a Diamond (they are ranked by gems). Generally only royalty can afford them and in the opening of the book we find Kara playing bodyguard to Prince Kythar. Right off the action starts with an attack on the Prince using long-forgotten magic that almost succeeds except for Kara and her unexpected immunity to this magic. Given this its more important than ever that the Prince renew her contract which is set to expire. A simple thing that should be routine turns into anything but. The King doesn't want it renewed because the Prince is in love with Kara, which is impossible since as a royal he must marry for reasons of state. Other mysterious forces at work also don't want the contract renewed and go to extreme lengths to make it so. Ultimately Kara herself must make a devastating choice, duty or honor?

That's one of the two main storylines. The second mostly follows Mai (another Diamond Majat who is bodyguard to the King), and Ellah (newly discovered truthseer). The King and the Mother Keeper (good magic users) are off on a diplomatic mission to get the law overturned that states royalty are not allowed to possess magical abilities so Prince Kythar can rule. Mai follows the King, and Ellah the Keeper to begin training her abilities. The mission is doomed from the start and eventually Mai and Ellah are forced to take off with a fellow Jade Majat to bring much needed back-up.
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