Cover Image: A Broken Blade

A Broken Blade

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Member Reviews

Thank you Union Square & Co. and NetGalley for providing an e-arc for an honest review.

I love a fantasy book with a great morally gray female main character, found family, and slow burn romance. Honestly, what more could you ask for? You’re immediately immersed in a world of assassins, political intrigue, and powerful beings. The worldbuilding was written beautifully and the character arcs, especially for Keera, were strong and made a reader want to root for them. 

The ending had a nice cliffhanger and I am excited for the next book to be released. 

Also please note to check the content warnings before reading.
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Thank you to NetGalley for letting me read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 
Slow to start but once I got a few chapters in, I couldn't put it down. Truly loved this book. If you like Sarah J. Maas or Jennifer L. Armentrout, you will love this book.Enemies to lovers, badass heroine, bisexual exploration and more. Beautiful book, will read it again and can’t wait for the sequels!
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Firstly, thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review but mostly thank you Melissa Blair for writing this book.
It's been a while since I found a high fantasy book I could get completely lost in and this delivered.
The exploration into colonisation, systematic violence, depression, self-harm, slavery, and dehumanising of mixed raced people had me feeling some feelings (check the full trigger warnings) but ultimately I was so swept up in the story and adventure and falling deeply in love with Keera (and most of the other characters tbh).
Dedicated to Booktok, she gave us all the trope we know and love but with a little something else as well. I screamed at the end and immediately googled information on book 2 (I beseech you Melissa please hurry and put us out of our misery).
Definitely one of my favourite reads of the year.
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I remember this book going viral on TikTok for the anonymous author and I was also seeing great reviews as well. So when I saw this book on here, i knew that I had to request it! NA Fantasy Romance is my favorite genre, and this book definitely delivered. It has all of my favorite tropes, and the world building was done very well. It is a very steady pace where you don't find yourself bored; you really are captivated the whole time. I am really excited to continue reading this series!!!!
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I picked up A Broken Blade on a whim and, ultimately, that’ll teach me to read books described as “booktok sensations”! A book categorised as new adult (although how this protagonist can possibly be described as ‘new’ adult at the age of 60 is beyond me, especially when she reads as a generic YA protag), this is a book that feels like the worst blandness of YA. Obviously, as with almost every review I write, YMMV! You might like this where I didn’t!

But, boy, I didn’t.

Pretty much everything about this book is basic: the plotline, the worldbuilding, the characters… Not that I was expecting much more, when I picked it up, but I wasn’t expecting this. I will say, though, it did have the potential to dive deeper into its discussion of colonialism here. But that was probably the best part of it, and ultimately let down by everything around it.

The first thing I noticed on opening this one up was the writing. I’m going to be using the word bland a lot in this review, so please bear with me. But that’s the best word I can use to describe it. I would hesitate to say this was bad writing (although some parts got very close to it), but there was just nothing to it. I felt like I was being told a lot of things and not shown enough. And I was also getting told those things repetitively.

But I persevered (although probably later came to regret it). The next thing was the characters. None of them felt anything beyond archetypal to me, easily summed up by a few characteristics and not much more. This even extended to the main character who is usually, I find, the sole exception to this. She gave off extreme “not like other girls” vibes, mostly because she basically had no friends bar one and disdained almost everyone else. But also because she was “flawless”. I don’t mean actively had zero flaws, because I think her alcoholism was meant to be that (which we’ll come to), but more that there was nothing that really impacted how her story went. Everything came up trumps! Whatever she put her hand to, she excelled at! There were no points where I thought maybe their plan wouldn’t work. Any obstacles that were put in her way were swiftly overcome, or even just written out of the story once they’d served a purpose (I mean the alcoholism). And of course in the end it turns out she’s not just special, she’s extra special.

Maybe the plot and worldbuilding here could have been a saviour but no, both were just as bland and underdeveloped as the rest of the book. The worldbuilding in particular was very flimsy: I finished the book with so many questions and not a lot of answers. Perhaps this will change in book two, but I doubt it. It’s pretty much your basic YA fantasy fare and nothing more. Of course, as I mentioned with the colonialism themes above, it has the potential to improve! But I don’t think I’ll be reading it to see if it does.

So, unfortunately, this won’t be a series I’ll come back to. And if it’s taught me anything, it’s never trust a “booktok sensation”.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Union Square & Co for the ARC! 

This was such a fun read, it had everything a fantasy reader would want in a book like elves, fae, and everything in between-- like the halfling MC Keera!

This romantic heist had me guessing the whole time but i didn't expect the direction the story would go which is ALWAYS refreshing! 

4/5, can never have enough broody shadow men
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This was a really great book. It had some familiar elements to some other big name books for sure (an unwilling kings assassin with a secret motive being the biggest one for me) but it was still unique enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading the same story. I thought the world itself was fairly unique, and though I found myself predicting some plot points, others caught me quite off guard. 

There was huge character development through the story, and I went from being so frustrated with the MC for constantly drinking and not standing up for her beliefs, to rooting for her and being so proud of her progress. Her going from being alone and hating the world to having a small group of friends she genuinely cared about was really special. 

It definitely ended on a slight cliffhanger, but nothing too dramatic. Just enough to keep me enticed and looking forward to the next book.
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A Broken Blade is captivating from the first page and a wonderful debut. 

The world building is something that stood out to me while reading. It is immaculate—so detailed and intricate but easy to understand and visualize at the same time. And the world is inhabited by dark fae, elves, halflings, mortals, and the extinct light fae. 

This book was utterly consuming, I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t stand to put it down, and it pulled me out of a reading slump. The writing and plot is phenomenal. Keera is sent to hunt The Shadow, a person that is making moves against the king, but along the way she decides to help save the kingdom from the oppressive king. 

Keera is morally grey and the king’s best assassin. I liked her immediately, she has a lot of issues to work over but they are addressed very well throughout the book. We also get little bits of information throughout the story that allows the reader to slowly piece together Keera’s past. I enjoyed Riven as a character, I always am here for a brooding fae MMC. 

The ending was jaw dropping, it was completely unexpected and I need book 2 immediately. My mind is blown. I loved A Broken Blade.

✨Court & political intrigue
✨Morally grey assassin FMC
✨Brooding fae MMC
✨Immaculate world building
✨Only one bed
✨Found family
✨Slow burn enemies to lovers
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I understand why this book blew up on booktok a while ago. The story's natural progression and dynamic characters help make this a wonderful debut book. The worldbuilding is great and the female main character is plain awesome. I can't wait for the second installment!
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A little while ago A Broken Blade blew up on Booktok, and it's clear why. You can tell that from its conception, this book was primarily written to sell. This story is full of many good and popular elements, and while that was enough to get me to pick up the book, the writing and core story themselves never compelled me to keep reading. It's a difficult task to create an entirely original piece of art, many even argue it's impossible. While I don't expect every book I read to be an entirely original work, I except it to have something unique to keep me reading. Overall, while I did appreciate the author's inclusion of the topics of alcoholism, sexism, and other real world issues in this book, the plot and characters themselves never truly held my interest. This book just felt like a combination of others I had already read, and while I understand that is what may make it so palatable to many others, for me it just inspired boredom.
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Thank you NetGalley for the arc for an honest review.

Wow. I didn't go into this with wild expectations, but the ones I did got exceeded. This was my first fae book in a while and I enjoyed this thoroughly. I also didn't go into this expecting anything queer to be going on, but there was and I was kinda excited. It's not like it's blandly out there, you just have to kind of connect the dots.  

I didn't want this to take me as long as it did to read this, but I stopped reading because I really wasn't in the mood to read fantasy and just because I didn't want to read. But I really did enjoy this and am ready for the second book whenever that comes out I will be reading it and try to get an advanced copy of that. The characters are such good characters that I love to see interact. They all have something that brings them together, even if they don't trust each other. I love the trope of enemies to reluctant allies to lovers, and that's what happens between Keera and Riven. Honestly give me and Riven and I'll be happy, yes I'm aware that I have a gf, shut up. Also Nikolai, ugh.j I absolutely love him and if he dies I swear I will sob. He's so much better than the Nikolai in the Grishaverse, I'm prepared for people to yell at me. But I feel like he was just more entertaining and I liked him more.

I loved the writing style. I like the way the characters are written and the character development. I can't wait to see where the story goes and I'm excited to see these characters and plot continue on.
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Overall Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Spice - 🌶️
World Building - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Character Development - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Trigger/Content Warnings - murder, kidnapping, enslavement, genocide

Plot; This plot is stellar. I'm a little thrown off by the pacing, but only because the second half was ridiculously enticing and fairly quick in terms of timeline in the book anyways. The beginning was very good, just there was more focus on Keeras character and the world building. Necessary, and set up the rest of the novel beautifully, but slower. You can definitely see where Melissa pulled from their people's struggles and histories with the beginning of the plot and how the world is built, and I think it makes a good talking point for people to talk about issues that still exist today. I absolutely love the plot progression in this novel though. It's very fluid and doesn't seem rushed or convenient which is nice. 

Characters; These characters man. Holy. All have character arcs, all have massively distinct background, driving factors, personalities, you name it. These characters were very fleshed out. I love Keeras development though. I'm at a loss of what to say for these characters, they're just so enticing. 

Romance; I'm a tiny bit discontent with the romance. Mostly because the book spends a lot of time addressing it, how it's a natural spark, can't avoid it, blah blah blah and I did NOT feel like there was any explanation or closure for that. Granted, I think that's because there isn't one YET, I'm hoping the next book will address that, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't waiting the whole book for an explanation that didn't come. Now, I think the romance was good, and it worked, and it had a lot of ups and downs, which was exciting, but yeah, that's probably my.biggest complaint with the book specifically. 

Writing; The writing is very good. Generally I don't think that there were any phrases that were over used, I don't think things were described too much or too little, it was all very fluid. I do like though that things are withheld until they're plot relevant. Keera having scars is a known thing from like, page 3, but they are only addressed when they become plot relevant, and I think that adds to it. The novel is written on the "need to know" idea, if you know what I mean, and I'm here for it. 

Overall Thoughts; While I do think that it was a good stopping point for this novel, this type of ending should be criminal. Aside from that, brilliant. You can definitely see that Melissa was appealing to booktoks favs, and that execution was flawless. Very excited that this is getting published now, it definitely deserves it.
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3.5 stars

This book didn't live up to its cover for me. The first probably 75% was a total slog. The plot was boring enough that I just finished the book and can't remember what happened in the first half aside from Keera being drunk. The ending actually made me mad. 

None of the characters were terribly interesting or exciting. I didn't actively dislike Keera, but I didn't like her either. The romance was balls. There was 0 chemistry. If you are interested in sexy bits, there are a couple of scenes, but only one with any actual action, and the action is fingerbanging, and it was disappoint son. 

This is a typical gonna have to take down the evil king story with a Strong but Broken female lead who has to overcome her Demons. The new spin on it is that the elves/halflings/etc, are seemingly aboriginal, though that is never explicitly stated, which is an interesting take.  The asshole king and his little bitch sadist son are not new. The traumatized MC is not new. The falling for the biggest asshole you can find is not new. The worldbuilding was sub par. The writing was okay, but I'm starting to realize that I say that often when I really mean that I didn't come across a lot of grammar issues or blatantly wrong use of language... wait. I now recall that I bookmarked 2 such things that irritated me:

"It bounced from one hand to the other before he finally caught it in the CRUX of his elbow."

"But what if it was all a ruse? Had Kilian been BUYING his time..."

I'm not in the business, so I'm not familiar with the process a book goes through before ARC distribution. I understand that they are not polished, but I feel like shit like that should be caught before they go out. 

Anyways, I wouldn't actively caution anyone against reading this book. I'm sure lots of people will quite like it, but for me it was a let-down and it didn't captivate me like I had hoped it would 

Oh, and I am calling it, if not for the next book then the book after, but Gwyn only exists so she can be killed for emotional oomph. She gon' die.
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I enjoyed this book and can't wait for book 2. I think the plot and the characters were really well written and I loved the story progression. The main character was someone that I really enjoyed reading about and I am interested in seeing where the rest of this story goes.
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I read several comments saying this was just like Throne of Glass, and they weren't wrong. But I still ended up enjoying it. The first 150 pages were a bit tedious. I struggled to connect with Keera, and felt like the plot was just going through the motions. 
But it did pick up, and by the end I was invested. There were some exciting fights, an element of mystery, and eventually some character growth. Hoping the sequel isn't too far away!
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This story is great!

I wanted to read this book more for its cover than for its synopsis, which in case it caught my attention. But that cover was magic and it's great that it made me read this story.

The protagonist of the story is fire and the situation in which she finds herself is tense and doubtful, but the author developed this character too well.

The main couple in the story have the chemistry of life and I wanted more of them. I want more of them!

And the ending wow I didn't really see it coming. and now I'm more eager to know what will happen!
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An outstanding start to a Fantasy series.  The world building is lush and the characters compelling.  There is action and suspense, friendship and betrayal. I am looking forward to the continuation of the series.
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A Broken Blade was really good! There's some books I see get so much hype that I don't know if they'll live up to it, but this one did! It had tons of booktok tropes, enemies to lovers, forced proximity, blade to throat, etc. It does feel like a lot of elements just taken from popular books all smashed into one but it has the representation that was missing from those books which I love to see. Big tw for alcoholism and self-harm.
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It took me a minute to get into this book. But at about 30% I was hooked. 

Interesting characters. Compelling story. Beautiful settings. A couple good twists. 

An ending that makes me really excited for the next book without being painfully cliffhanger-y. A rare thing to find. 

I can see why this was getting all the hype on TikTok!

Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read this advance copy.
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(4/5) I went into this book with NO expectations and no knowledge of the mystery surrounding it on TikTok. With no expectations, I enjoyed this book and thought that the pacing was good and the characters were interesting. It gave me Throne of Glass vibes, but with the main character a bit more morally gray. I do feel like the main romance in the book wasn't that well developed, but maybe the author will pull a SJM and he won't end up being the primary love interest anyway. There were certainly plot holes/unanswered questions, but I suppose that's to be expected with a first book in a series where the author is setting up reveals for later books. The ending of this book didn't quite make sense to me, since it feels like a surprise that shouldn't have particularly been a surprise (no spoilers). 

I would certainly read and heed the content warnings at the beginning of the book, and appreciate the author for including them. The way that the book handled addiction could have been better, and I was kind of disappointed with it.

Did this book stand out to me compared to other series in the same vein? Not particularly. But since I like series like it, I'll continue reading when the author publishes the sequel(s).
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