Review: The Emerald Blade by Steven Kelliher

Look at this cover. LOOK AT IT! IT IS GLORIOUS!

Ohhh Landkist. I’m glad that you are back, because I’m ready for some more crazy fire-sword wielding elemental adventures!

Also, I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review of it. 😀 It took me a while to read, but to be honest, I’m on vacation, writing this review at my mom’s house, lol.

One Sage is dead. Five remain.

For Kole, Linn and the newly-minted heroes of the Valley, their victory is short-lived in light of new revelations.

The King of Ember is alive. But the man who once led his people against the forces of darkness is changed. His path now takes him to the north and a land called Center, where he intends to bring his power to bear against another would-be God.

While Kole and Linn gather a small company to follow the King, another group heads for the northern deserts, intent on discovering what power the Emberfolk left buried in the sands.

The Dark Months have faded, but the light cannot last. The time for hiding is over.

It’s time for the World to meet the Landkist.

The World was a place made to last. It was a place whose power was meant to endure, to give life or protect it, and on and on. The stars were something apart. They burned brightly and then not at all. Some even said those that shone down on them now were just the ghosts of what had been.

It took me a few chapters to reorient myself into this world. A lot happened at the end of the last book and it’s been a couple of months since I read it. I couldn’t remember who was who for a bit… that sorta thing. Worry not, however, as my brain eventually got comfy in the world. Snuggled into some nice Ember heat and off we went! The first few chapters or so did a good job of bringing me back into the world. This one was an easier read for me than volume one, actually. It flowed better for me, so it felt like it went quicker and was more immersive. That’s probably just me, but there it is. Editing was on point for this one as well. All told, I thought this one was stronger than the first, and I quite liked the first!

The Emerald Blade, like its predecessor, is influenced a lot by Miyazaki and Avatar: The Last Airbender. This one gave me a real big Avatar vibe, and like with book one, I was totally okay with it. Perhaps a little more here, since, ah… well someone is sort of the last airbender in this particular tale. The Emerald Road itself had a huge, huge Princess Mononoke vibe going on as well (great forest spirit and all – a lovely homage). Don’t get me wrong though, it’s certainly influenced by these things, but it’s still original. It takes its own path, and has its own story and its own characters, but that story and those characters just happen to bring to mind some of my favorite animation, just as the first book did. In this volume of the story, the King of Embers is on his way to a land called Center, where the Emerald Blade, another Sage-like being similar to the White Crest is said to live. Kole and Linn gather a group together to follow him to Center, because where he goes, the Eastern Dark is bound to be close, and fuck that guy and his evil shenanigans. At the same time, Linn’s Faeykin sister Iyana travels north to the deserts to see what the Embers’ ancestral homelands have to hide, and what can be done there to revive the Embers of the Valley, who are becoming fewer every generation. A grand adventure is had by all. Well, a grand adventure is had by Linn and Kole at any rate. 😀

I liked how we saw things from the POV of some of the antagonists (more or less) from time to time, and their POV of course disagreed in many ways with that of the protagonists, so that was kind of neat. The plot had plenty of twists and turns in it, and kept me guessing about things like certain characters’ motivations. I really liked The Emerald Blade as a character, where I wasn’t sure I would at first. I was expecting to see more from Iyana and her company, but as soon as both groups split up, that seemed to be the end of anything from Iyana and her group. Oh well.

My one real criticism of this one is that it could have been a bit shorter. It’s a veritable tome of a novel, and while lots of interesting things do happen in it, there are times when the pace slows down considerably. The pacing is mostly fine, especially during the exciting parts, but the slow parts sometimes drag along a bit and I found myself wanting to just get back to the exciting stuff. It didn’t happen too often, but often enough that I thought about it, I guess. Let’s just say that I still managed to find time and motivation to read the whole thing on my vacation, so even with that gripe, it can’t have been too bad, amirite? 😁

This one has a Linn and a Sen. Coincidence? Probably. Who is Sen, anyway?

Other than the slower parts, as I said, I thought this one was wholly better than the first. I still like Kole and Linn a lot, as characters, though I do wish that this series had a tad more romance in it. Kole’s relationship with Linn is often portrayed as very close but ambiguous and I wish it wasn’t. It’s okay if they’re just friends, but if that was made more clear, it would weigh less on my mind, I think. I would hope less for intimacy between them if I knew for sure that their relationship wasn’t like that. Either way, I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series! 4/5 stars!


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