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The Fallen Blade: Act One of the Assassini Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
It's unfortunate that Grimwood took this intriguing starting point and overloaded it with what seems like enough material for at least another novel or two. Within the first few chapters, you'll encounter a vampire, werewolves, assassins, competing gangs, a witch, a magician, a contested regency, a romantic rivalry, and that's not nearly all. There's so much going on in the first 100 or so pages of this novel that it frankly becomes too cluttered and hectic to be really enjoyable.
Unwrapping a few of the key elements: the titular Duke of the city is Marco IV, but since he is, as the saying goes, several sandwiches short of a picnic, his uncle Alonzo (brother of Marco III, the last Duke) is the official Regent, with his mother Alexa (the last Duke's widow) pulling at least as many strings both in the city's Council of Ten and behind the scenes. Lady Giulietta is the Duke's cousin and about to be shipped off to Cyprus for a politically expedient marriage she is entirely unhappy with.Read more ›
To start with, the episode at the very beginning of the book in which Atilo goes chasing after Giulietta makes no sense. Atilo dawdles around and doesn't step in to take her home until almost dark, thereby embroiling his assassins in a completely unnecessary fight with the local population of German werewolves. Half of his men are killed. His explanation for this breathtakingly incompetent bit of leadership is that he was 'hoping [Giulietta] would turn back.' So all these followers of his die just so he can indulge the futile whim of a bratty teenager for an extra hour? No. Just no.
Quite a bit of the rest of the plot hinges on the fact that two important characters fall in love with Giulietta, for no reason apparently. I suppose it's possible to concede that Tycho, because of his peculiar nature, might instantly imprint on the first bloodied-up female he runs across. Maybe. But Prince Leopold falls in love with her why? Because he observes her locked in an attic, in squalor and boredom, for a few weeks? How does this win him over? I have no idea. If Mr. Grimwood knows, he isn't telling us.
The characters--all of them--evoke only disgust or pity, sometimes both at once. There is literally no one to root for here. I understand that Mr. Grimwood was trying to depict a ruthless, amoral milieu, but he forgot to include someone the reader could care about at the story's center. Even Tycho, who is clearly meant to be the hero here, is such an indestructible enigma that it's impossible to work up any interest in his fate.Read more ›
Grimwood excels at taking Venice and making it his own, seamlessly weaving the historical city with the supernatural aspects of his tale. His depiction of magic and the supernatural blends effortlessly into the greater political and social intrigues of the book, and comes across as a natural part of the setting.
Character development, however, is uneven. The two most interesting characters are Atilo and Tycho, and you will want to continue reading if for no other reason than to see what happens to them. But many of the other characters are either one dimensional or outright grating on the nerves. Giulietta has a nuisance of a personality, and one that leads the reader to hoping for her demise just so she will stop sullying the scene with her annoying demeanor. Alonzo is a Medici knock-off who apparently never realized that The Prince was a political satire and not an actual handbook.
But where I become conflicted is in the presentation of the plot. Grimwood does a superb job of crafting some of the most intense and exciting scenes I've read in recent fantasy works. But what he often lacks is subtlety. The political machinations at play throughout the book have all the subtlety of an angry bull.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow, I completely get the mixed reviews. There is so much to love and so much to hate in this book. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Norm Deplume
The Story jumped all over the place was confusing no real continuityPublished 10 months ago by cecilia van patten
It' has intregue and adventure and cliff hangers and that oh so dreaded got to buy the next book to see what happens next. Grrrrr but great! Must buy.Published on January 30, 2014 by April D Morehouse
The parenthetical title is a bit misleading since the main character's full identity is never revealed. Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by Treeshow
The story takes place in 14-15 century Venice. It's a bit like vampire meets Borgia's. There is a lot of action, many characters, and a mystery that is, as yet, unsolved. Read morePublished on July 28, 2013 by Joseph A. Terrano
Blend some werewolves and vampires into the intrigue of XV-th century Venice, and you get a fast-paced, intricate, enjoyable story. Read morePublished on April 6, 2013 by H. Slusanschi
the story wasn't engaging I couldn't get into it
the plot was weak
the story line was disjoined
and all in all the story was horrible
Jon Courtenay Grimwood writes some of the best alternate worlds ever. All of the world building, and everything that is different because of the changes is all inferred. Read morePublished on June 27, 2012 by Travis Young
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