a blade through the shadows | a broken blade by melissa blair

by - 8:00 AM

A Broken Blade is a classic fantasy story that checks off all the boxes to become a beloved internet tale. In an era where TikTok has quickly and easily become the dominant social media platform, this is a perfect example of how its influence has impacted this niche of fantasy. With Melissa Blair also having a BookTok platform dedicated to sharing her favorite reads, this truly read as a love letter to TikTok's bookish community.

isbn: 978-1454947875 | pages: 448
      publication date: august 02, 2022 | source: publisher
     genre: fantasy, new adult
     rating: 5.7/10 
riting: 5 | atmosphere: 7 | world-building: 6 | plot: 6 |  characters: 5 | impact: 5

b o o k s h o p *    |    g o o d r e a d s    |    a m a z o n
links with an (*) are affiliate where, when used to purchase gives me a small commission to support my blog at no extra cost to you!

I received a copy from Union Square & Co. in exchange for an honest review - all thoughts shared below reflect my personal opinion.

If you spend any amount of time on bookish social media, you'll easily come across videos, graphics, posts, etc. that describe books using tropes - at this point it's almost become a guaranteed way to pitch or review a story. For her debut, Melissa Blair essentially took the top tropes and blended them all together. From a kickass heroine with an unknown past, a dark and mysterious love interest, political intrigue, and of course "there was only one bed," A Broken Blade takes what is familiar to many YA fantasy fans and ages the story up to a NA audience to tackle darker themes of colonialism and addiction.

From the beginning, Keera is presented to us as a character abiding by her tropes but with the potential to reveal more about herself as time passes. While she falls into some stereotypes, such as reminding the reader on multiple occasions that she's that much stronger than xyz character, I appreciated that she didn't sit idly in her role as the skilled assassin. We got to see her in combat and use strategy to stay one step ahead of her opponents as well as her healing process as she fights her dependency on alcohol. There was room to grow and the author leaned into that, taking a character arc that's so widely used and molding it for Keera herself.

That same could be said for the plot and the rest of the cast - I could have easily read and dismissed this book as "every other fantasy novel involving fae" and I admit to having fallen into that headspace at first. But it's admirable to note that the story doesn't rely on its tropes to carry readers through all 400+ pages and instead uses the familiar to present and highlight commentary on systemic violence and colonialism. With the premise of the world based on the eradication of the Elves and the enslavement of Halflings, there's a conversation started surrounding the unfair claim of land and erasure of culture based on one race's superior savior complex.

As the first book in a projected duology, A Broken Blade sets the scene for a new fantasy world that is easily accessible to a wide audience due to its usage of familiar characters and plot arcs and begins an adventure that leaves room for lots of development in its sequel.

Thank you again to Union Square & Co. for a copy of A Broken Blade in exchange for an honest review - all thoughts shared reflect my personal opinion.

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