Codex and I managed to read the exact same book, which is surprising because I can’t read and Codex psychically absorbs words. She was finished with Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword in under three hours.
With the death of the Hugo’s, we’ve decided to focus on the Dragon Award nominees, and review some of our favorite books on the nominee list. Codex is glaring at me.
Apparently the Hugo’s aren’t actually dead. It’s just that everyone wants them to be dead. Can we refer to them in the future as the Undead Hugo Awards? No?
Son of the Black Sword begins with a dream of blood and helplessness.
It opens with scenes of horrific violence. A high-caste warrior possessing–and possessed by–a near-sentient Ancestor Blade– must defend an entire village from a gargantuan man-eating monstrosity that has crawled out of the ocean.
I imagined it wearing a hospital-gown-inspired mumu. I’m not sure the author wanted to inspire that particular imagery, but it’s my story and I can fill in the blanks the way I want to. No wonder it takes me weeks to read a novel.
Mr. Correia crafts his world as the demon eats the occupants like potato chips, the warrior following his bloody path on the way to an inevitable showdown. You can’t make sea demon sushi without slicing off a few limbs, right?
Men occupy the land and demons own the sea. The penalty for trespass in either direction is death. That is the Law. And Ashok Vadal lives the Law. He breathes it. He will kill for it and die for it and never ask why.
In the shattered civilization that grew up in the aftermath of the War of the Gods, where the seas are literally demon-infested hells, the Law rules supreme. Every man, woman and child, and even the sub-human casteless, have a clearly defined role, with iron rules binding them. Inquisitors root out transgression and demon corruption. Protectors, men like Ashok Vadal, are their sword arm.
Ahh… but who guards these guardians from themselves? What if a secret war were brewing between them?
Son of the Black Sword’s opening chapters are like a slow ride to the top of a roller coaster, as the author carefully builds up the cast of richly-developed characters in an intriguing new fantasy setting. The world-building is superb. The plot builds gradually, but surely, for the first third of the story, then drives forward, corkscrewing the reader along. Pace yourself. If you hit the apex late in the evening you’ll be riding the storyline until dawn.
We disagree about the ending, so we’ve decided to be adults and compromise our review by each including a separate concluding paragraph. You shouldn’t believe for a moment that we fought bitterly for two hours trying to convince each other our position was the right one. Good thing we aren’t YouTubers!
Codex’s Conclusion (not edited in any way by Q):
When you pull into the platform, shaken by the jolt of the final twist, you’ll have that “jump up and run to the end of the line to ride again” feeling. Unfortunately book two of the Forgotten Warrior series isn’t out, and the ending will leave you satisfied–but definitely wanting more. And, after going to bed and leaving this unguarded, I’ve come to realize that not only is Q right about his conclusion, but he deserves to [REDACTED] with my [SUPER REDACTED]. Repeatedly.
The surprise ending feels abrupt. Subplots just… end. It is the weakest part of the story, but is hardly crippling. You’ll be left wanting more, and will eagerly check Amazon to pre-order the next book.
Codex & Q