It’s been too long since I’ve had the chance to sit down for an evening and read a book cover to cover, but I took Saturday night off from life and did just that. Plus, The Sword-Edged Blonde has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months since I first got it from the library, and a million renewals later, it was begging to be read.
Now, let’s get one thing straight: Alex Bledsoe is one of my favorite writer finds of the last year. The Tufa novels (Hum and the Shiver and Wisp of a Thing) are fantastic, and I’m eagerly awaiting the finale of the trilogy. But this book…I don’t know, it’s just not quite there.
It can be tough going back to read the earlier work of a writer that you enjoy. Because while sometimes there is a youth at play that can get deadened later on, more often, you find that their skills grew as their list of completed works expanded, and that’s the case here. The Sword-Edged Blonde isn’t bad by any definition of the word; it just doesn’t feel as polished or as deep as some of Bledsoe’s other books that I’ve read.
Anywho, the story follows Eddie LaCrosse, blade for hire, in a fantasy kingdom where a lot of the names are made up and the points don’t matter. Eddie gets sent on a red herring mission to find the daughter of a local king, but he ends up being sort-of kidnapped by a spy from his homeland. He gets taken home (I am skipping all the made up names. I hate the made up names in fantasy), and the king turns out to be his childhood best friend. And the king’s sister was his fiance before she was killed in MYSTERIOUS BUT OFT ALLUDED TO circumstances. So, anywho, the skinny is that the king needs Eddie’s help to figure out why his very sweet wife seems to have murdered and eaten their son.
So Eddie goes adventuring. And it has a lot to do with retribution for past crimes, and the bit about horses being important is telegraphed super early (especially if you know the Epona Roman mythology reference). It all wraps up rather neatly. It brings to mind Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell saying “The good end happily and the bad unhappily. That’s what fiction is.” That’s okay for some light reading, but don’t expect to tread on major themes here.
But the plot moves quickly, and you really end up rooting for Eddie. The novel feels like urban fantasy due to the writing and how the characters speak, but its set in the wayback when fantasy worlds. And the book has one of the best dedications I’ve ever read, so at least thumb through it for that.
Like I said, this is no deep read, but it’s good enough that I’ve ordered the second book. I’m willing to spend some time seeing what’s in store for Eddie LaCrosse.
JMF Rating: 6/10
‘Til next time,