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The Waterborne Blade Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 2015
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"The Waterborne Blade is an intriguing and compelling fantasy woven from a fascinating story set in a vibrant world inhabited by vivid characters. Susan Murray is a consummate storyteller who fulfills everything you could desire of a book and leaves you wanting more."
- Graeme K Talboys author of Stealing into Winter
“This is a wonderful thing, a sweeping fantasy which somehow manages to pull off the trick of being intimate and very human at the same time. It begins with a realm in peril, and then puts its shoulders back and strides confidently towards a horizon packed with magic and love and abandoned palaces and a huge and very real evil. Susan Murray has written a debut novel of great skill and depth, and I loved it.”
– Dave Hutchinson, author of Europe in Autumn
“This is a well-paced, enjoyable read with characters that feel rounded and real…the writing shines.”
– Rian Drinkwater, SFX Magazine
“This thrilling tale of sword and sorcery thrusts us right into the action. When we meet the protagonists, we are given no background on them, or on the situation they find themselves in. We are told they need to flee, now, and we follow.”
– Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Corner
“The plot moves at just the right pace, keeping it exciting while also allowing some time to develop Alwenna and Weaver as characters. This makes it really easy to become invested in the outcome since you actually know them well. I never felt like it was dragging and it was difficult for me to put it down. I almost missed my MAX stop on my way home because of this book. It’s totally engrossing, which makes this book go by pretty quickly, and leaves you wanting more.”
– Roberta’s Literary Ramblings
“I have to hand it to Murray, she certainly knows when to kick in the exciting developments in plot and character to keep you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think you’ve reached the right place to set it down, you end up reading right through the night to find out where exactly the plot is about to take you. It pretty much blind sighted me and I read a lot of fantasy!”
– Book Frivolity
“The Waterborne Blade is an exciting medieval adventure and I would definitely recommend this book to people who like fantasy and enjoy intrigue, magic, romance, and an interesting female lead.”
– The Qwillery
“This is epic, intelligent fantasy that doesn’t rely on excessive sex and violence to pad it out. Read it!”
– Flying, Not Falling
“An epic fantasy that’s easy to read.”
– Talk Supe
“An interesting high fantasy with great characters.”
– Syntax Reviews
“You know when you love a book so much that you’re like ‘Oh, well I need to wait 3 seconds for ____ to be ready for dinner. I can get another page read before then.’ That was this kind of book for me, and I loved every second of it.”
– Find Your Next Book
About the Author
Susan Murray is a graduate of the Open University, and describes herself as a "serial house renovator". She was recently longlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize. The Waterborne Blade is her debut novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
Recommended for: Fantasy fans. Fans of strong female protagonists.
I knew I was going to like this book from the very beginning. It's well written, and the characters are developed quite nicely. It starts with action rather than a bunch of exposition about the events leading up to what is currently happening and world development. Instead, the book begins with Alwenna being sent away by her husband with his trusted King's Man, Weaver, who is an immediately intriguing character. Weaver is obviously less than thrilled about being assigned to this task as he wants to stay behind and fight in the oncoming battle. However, his dissatisfaction in his king's decision seems to stem from more personal reasons, and Susan Murray does a good job of keeping his reasons a mystery until the opportune moment.
When we meet Alwenna, she is a woman who has been pampered for her entire life who suddenly has to rough it through the wilderness (against her wishes) in order to escape the clutches of the usurper, Vasic, whom her husband fears will take over the kingdom. However, despite Alwenna's cushy upbringing, she rises to the occasion, and time and again proves herself to be more than capable of taking care of herself when push comes to shove. Alwenna never shies away from a challenge, and never expects someone to save her. She insists that she be taught how to build a fire and properly de-feather, gut, and cook a chicken in case she ends up not having any servants to take care of her. (Which happens at various times throughout the book.) Not only does she insist on learning these things, but a couple of the things she learns become important later. This was refreshing since some books tend to have their heroes spontaneously gain skills when they are needed. Not the case here. It was well thought out, which made it that much more fun to read.
The plot moves at just the right pace, keeping it exciting while also allowing some time to develop Alwenna and Weaver as characters. This makes it really easy to become invested in the outcome since you actually know them well. I never felt like it was dragging and it was difficult for me to put it down. I almost missed my MAX stop on my way home because of this book. It's totally engrossing, which makes this book go by pretty quickly, and leaves you wanting more.
I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out, and will be anxiously awaiting the day! I need to know things! Also, the cover is pretty cool. Just saying.
The Waterborne Blade is an enjoyable read. Susan Murray uses alternating POV’s to keep the story moving and its pacing is terrific. The use of dreams to fill in Alwenna’s past blends in seamlessly with the unfolding action of the story. Murray’s strong female protagonist begins as a pampered queen and shows excellent growth as she deals with the hardships being presented to her. The supporting cast is also well written, with the exception of, in my opinion, Weaver. Ranald Weaver is a bundle of contradictions. He professes his loyalty often to his king and queen yet I feel his actions do not always follow suit. I also didn’t like his treatment of Alwenna. Weaver’s many character flaws can be forgiven once his past is taken into account but not all.
check out the review in its entirety as originally posted on The Qwillery, by clicking the following link:
Yes it does follow certain tropes a little too closely at times. There is not a lot that is new here in general terms. And sometimes it does feel a little too much a mix of an author's favorite inspirations in fantasy.
Yet I found myself not minding too much simply because it is well told. Stories can have many similarities to stories told before and still manage to be fresh and engaging. Murray for the most part pulls this off.
My biggest quibble was I found things a little too "much" at times. The main character a little too "spoiled" in terms of being so unaware -- I did not think the world was set up in such a fashion that she would have been that oblivious to all common sense. Her discovery of her magical self also hovered close to being too much of a trope.
But this is also an area that while well trodden in general terms is lacking in what is hitting the shelves today. This is definitely a more traditional fantasy in many ways. So sometimes something that might be flawed by one reader as a bit paint by the numbers, can be seen as hitting all the right notes by others.
I would say this is right up the alley of those who like Gail Z. Martin (me not so much) or Rowenna Cory Danniells (an author I rather enjoy).