Traitor’s Blade by Sebastian de Castell: Book Review

Obtained: Penguin, ARC
Pages: 384
Publish date: March 4, 2014
Rating: ★★★

I got a copy of Traitor’s Blade as an ARC (advanced readers copy), which was very exciting. I really had no idea what to expect from this novel besides the fact that it was a fantasy and looked quite political. Well, I did get all of that, but I also got a lot more. Traitor’s Blade tells the tale of Falcio Val Mond and his fellow Greatcoats, Kest and Brasti, as they travel around this fantastical world trying to save an orphaned girl, and defend not only their King, but their title, as the Greatcoats have been slandered and become nothing more than “tatter coats”.

Upon first impressions, I loved Traitor’s Blade. I was immediately drawn into de Castell’s Medieval world within the first page and a half. To be quite honest, I found it hard to pull away from Falcio’s quick-witted and often humorous narrative. Had it not been for other priorities, I would have likely read this novel in one sitting. My favourite part of the book was definitely the writing itself. de Castell created some fantastic, real characters that kept me wanting to read more. The wittiness of the dialogue had me thinking that this fantasy was something of an interesting cross — a Game of Thrones world starring none other than Pirates of the Caribbean‘s own Jack Sparrow! I’m not typically a girl who enjoys reading lengthy fight scenes, but these ones captivated me and had me hanging on. And the ending was quite climactic, although I was hoping for a different outcome.

Besides the writing, I did like how the politics in this world was somewhat comparable to ours – everything a little bit shady, people fighting for power, unsure of where everyone else truly stands. I did like that it wasn’t saturated with the politics, but when it was a topic of discussion, I did like how it was comparable to the real world. Everything in this novel seemed to be done in a good balance: funny internal narrative, witty and dramatic dialogue, epic sword fights, and stunning moments of uncovering the truth. I also appreciated that the chapters were short enough to keep my attention without leaving out important information.

I gave this book four stars on Goodreads because there were some magic elements in this world, and I feel as though there wasn’t enough of it in the book for my taste; it felt as though there was hardly any magic at all, and it could have been completely left out without making a difference to the plot. I also found that major plot points or events would be mentioned in a sentence and moved past quite quicky, so I had to re-read some bits when I found myself lost.

Overall, I really enjoyed this fast-paced fantasy, and I highly recommend it to anyone else who prefers this style or genre of literature!

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