It is not a peaceful time in the Algardis Empire. War is raging between the mages and seventeen-year-old Sara Fairchild will be right in the middle of it.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Sara is the daughter of a disgraced imperial commander, executed for desertion. Sara is also the best duelist and hand-to-hand combatant in Sandrin. She lives quietly with her family’s shame but when challenged about her family’s honor, her opponent inevitably loses.
On the night she finds out her father’s true last actions, she takes the Mercenary Guilds’ vows to serve in the emperor’s army. Using her quick wits and fierce fighting skills, she earns a spot in the first division.
There she discovers secrets the mages on both sides would prefer stay hidden. Dark enemies hunt her and soon it’s not just Sara questioning the motivation behind this war.
While fighting mages, blackmailing merchants and discovering new friends, Sara comes across something she’s never had before – passion. The question is – can she fight for her empress against a mage who might unwittingly claim her heart?
This is year one of the Initiate Wars. Sara is hoping it doesn’t become the year she dies.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy from Terah Edun in exchange for an honest review.]
I was very excited to get started on Terah Edun’s Courtlight spin-off trilogy and I admit that I had very high expectations because of an excerpt I read from chapter one. Fortunately, the rest of the book turned out being just as good, sometimes even better.
Sara Fairchild kicks butt quite literally. She’s a battle mage, meaning that her fighting skills are unparalleled and she also has a certain magical advantage. That doesn’t mean she’s invincible because we learn soon enough that her powers can come at a very high price. I like how she balances revelling in her skills with being fearful of what they could lead to if not kept in check. It makes her more relatable than if she were just constantly kicking butt without any fear of consequences. Add in her emotional isolation and her need to clear her father’s name and you’ve got yourself a sympathetic, interesting and three dimensional main character.
The plot is very fast-paced; there’s almost no time when the reader can truly catch their breath. Which is, of course, how I ended up reading this book in one sitting despite my intentions only to read about 25% of it before going to bed. It was so good I couldn’t put it down because I just had to see what was going to happen next. There were plot twists all over the place and I love how even with Sara, our main character, things aren’t always what they seem. Even the bumbling Ezekiel Crane is more than he appears to be.
As usual, Terah Edun’s world-building was amazing. Even if you haven’t read the Courtlight series, you can enjoy this one because the two series aren’t dependent on one another. In this one we learn a lot more about the powerful mages that made the Initiate Wars so devastating. There’s a lot of political intrigue but it’s never so ridiculously complicated that the reader will get bogged down in the details. As I said earlier, not everything is as it seems in this book, even when it comes to the supposed rules of the world. With magic flying left, right and centre things in the Algardis Empire are constantly changing. It makes for a very unpredictable story.
Basically, Blades of Magic is a great kick-off to Terah Edun’s new trilogy. I can’t wait for the next book, Blades of Illusion!
I give this book 5/5 stars.