Book Review – House of Blades by Will Wight

House of Blades by Will Wight

House of Blades by Will Wight

The blurb prophecies:

Simon can only watch, helpless, as his family is killed and his friends captured by enemy Travelers—men and women who can summon mystical powers from otherworldly Territories. To top it off, another young man from Simon’s village discovers that he’s a savior prophesied to destroy evil and save the realm.

Prophecy has nothing to say about Simon. He has no special powers, no magical weapons, and no guarantee that he’ll survive. But he sets off anyway, alone, to gain the power he needs to oppose the Travelers and topple their ruthless Overlord. It may not be his destiny, but Simon’s determined to rescue his fellow villagers from certain death.

Because who cares about prophecy, really?

As usual with books I get from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library I had pretty low expectations, and the first few chapters of the book didn’t really gets my hopes up.

Fortunately it does get better as it goes on – it’s never quite triple-A quality, but it’s a lot better than you’d expect from a free book.

The magic system is pretty unusual, so much so that I hesitate to call it magic at all.  People called Travellers just teleport in weapons or creatures from their Territories to help them.  The end result looks pretty magical, but once it’s explained to you it’s more logical than fantastic.

One of the reasons I chose this book was mention in the blurb of the main character not being destined to save the world.  The main character being a prophesied hero is such an overused cliche that I appreciate that the author has turned it on its head.  As a result of this, the book has unusual dual protagonists – the prophesied hero and the other guy.  It’s funny when they get in each other’s way trying to save the day.

One of the ways the writing is less than top notch is that the major relationships in the book are not really established.  We’re told that the three main characters lived in the same village but didn’t know each other well and then they go off in different directions.  It doesn’t result in a lot of reader investment in the relationships.  The book also spends almost all of its time with the main character so we don’t learn enough about the other two to understand them well.

There was some confusion in the book about the chronology of events – one character got somewhere as a bad thing started, another character arrived there as it ended but somehow they both arrived at the same time.  There was no explanation, so I assume it just wasn’t written clearly enough.

Unfortunately one of the things that the book glossed over was morality – the main character went from having never killed anyone and having no desire to, to killing 75 people over the course of a couple pages, without enough of a transition or consequences.

The book does have a plot arc, but it opens more doors than it closes.  Even though by the end of the book you know a lot more about the world, there are still some major things left unexplained, and mysteries seem to be added faster than explanations.  It’s not an unreasonable thing for the first book in a series to do.