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Broken Blade (A Fallen Blade Novel) Mass Market Paperback – November 29, 2011

79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Inventive, irreverent and fast-paced, strong on both action and humor." ---Green Man Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Kelly McCullough has sold short fiction to publications including Weird Tales, Absolute Magnitude, and Cosmic SF. An illustrated collection of Kelly's short science fiction, The Chronicles of the Wandering Star, is part of InterActions in Physical Science, an NSF funded middle school science curriculum. He lives in western Wisconsin.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Fallen Blade Novel (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (November 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937007081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007089
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kelly McCullough was raised and educated by free-range hippies. Later he received a degree in theater and worked in improv. That combination was the perfect preparation for his current career as author and cat herder. He lives and writes in the Midwest with his physics-professor wife, Laura. He enjoys hiking and biking and his role as self-heating cat furniture. He is the author of the WebMage and Fallen Blade series and School For Sidekicks. More information can be found at his website www.kellymccullough.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Gjevre on December 5, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dark and complex and real, "Broken Blade" protagonist Aral Kingslayer is a former assassin fallen on hard times, with not much left but his sense of humor and his own shadow. Fortunately, Aral's shadow is Triss, a fiercely loyal Shade familiar who draws magical power from the unknowable realm of the everdark.

I grew up devouring Anne McCaffrey's "Pern" stories, and finding Kelly McCullough's new novel "Broken Blade" was like discovering a grown-up version of a treasure from my childhood. Like the dragons of Pern or the daemons of Pullman's "Dark Materials" trilogy, McCullough's Shades are more than just loyal comrades. Aral's familiar Triss is a dragon-shaped shadow, fierce and earnest and wounded. But he's also a wild card in Aral's nature--a deeply bonded but independent agent who can disrupt Aral's romantic relationships or transform his odds in a fight.

Did I mention there was fighting? Aral Kingslayer's Order of Namara, a group of religious assassins devoted to Justice, has been ruthlessly destroyed. Now Aral is a hunted man, trying to figure out what justice means in a changed world. With urgent, fluid prose, McCullough drives his protagonist from sword fight to assassination to betrayal, leaving readers eager for the next volume in the trilogy.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Red Pen Reviews on December 27, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The quick and dirty:
Rating: 3.5 stars
Premise: Aral, one of the last of an order of assassins for Namara, the goddess of divine justice, is living in the bottom of a bottle with a price on his head when he gets offered a seemingly simple delivery job. He runs into a former friend and a new enemy, both of whom should have him running from the city where he earned the name of Kingslayer. Instead, with the help of his familiar and a client in need of justice, he tries to right a wrong in the way he used to; things get complicated very quickly. Along the way, he starts to edge back to the remnants of who he used to be.
Warnings: brief bout of torture (largely beating) described in moderate detail, not terribly graphic
Recommendation: Buy it, then be prepared to lend it out. I had friends hounding me for my copy before I finished it.

What makes this one great:

Kelly McCullough has previously written the Webmage series, which is an unusual blend of computer hacking and Greek mythology. It manages to give full credit to both sources, but after that one ended I really wasn't sure that he could do the wordbuilding trick so well again. He has, and he's made the transition from the cutting edge of modern to gritty with grace.

From a sheer writing style perspective, Broken Blade is quite impressive. On the third page we're introduced to a character who is "tall for a woman, perhaps matching my own five feet and eleven" and has "hair a few shades darker than my own middling brown." In one paragraph we've gotten descriptions for two major characters out of the way, which sounds small, but consider: how many books have that incredibly worn "wake up and look in the mirror and what do I see" scene?
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Books31 on November 30, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Broken Blade series reminded me of a lighter version of the book Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick (a fantastic book if you haven't read it.)

Broken Blade is perfect for a fan of political/hierarchal conspiracy in a fantasy series.

Aral is a fantastic broken character that readers will love to learn more about, in fact this was one of my favorite parts of the story. McCullough does a fantastic job creating an engaging yet realistic tale of how a once great assassin and religious follow could be broken made into the "jack" acting outside the law we see today. It's fascinating hearing Aral's stories how he killed the king, and how he grew up with his fellow followers of Namara. Not only that but the idea that if a religious follower's goddess died, what the ramifications would be, is a fascinating premise.

Of course Aral isn't the only interesting character in the book, I also enjoyed Triss. Triss is Aral's shadow familiar who also looks a little like a dragon when he's not impersonating Aral's shadow. Triss has cool powers, and is definitely his own established character. The only issue I have with Triss is that Triss isn't as complex as I'd want him to be. He's strong and makes a great sidekick but sometimes I'd be nice if he was a little bit more, or if we knew more about his kinds back story. That said I realize this is an unreasonable expectation as detailing more of Triss's back story and adventures could in itself be an entire new series.

That said, this book isn't just great characters and intricate political plots, it's also filled with some heart pounding action. As Aral is forced to confront great foes and powerful former friends, the story is positively bursting with excitement.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on August 31, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a review comparing this to Brent Weeks night angel trilogy which I loved so this was a bit of a let down. It was good and I enjoyed it and can see the comparison, but for starters it was really kinda slow and a bit boring to begin. I understand this is the first book in a trilogy I think so it takes time to set everything up, but it took awhile to really get into or even care about what was going on. The story did pick up and was interesting and did finally have some action, and by the end I am left wanting to read more, but not really anything exceptional about this book. Will read the next installment now that all the background info is laid and hope for a bit more next time.
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