Cover Image: A Broken Blade

A Broken Blade

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Member Reviews

A Broken Blade is the first book in the Halfling Saga by author Melissa Blair. The Halfling Saga is a new adult fantasy with a dash of enemies to lovers romance. This book was a really solid start to a promising fantasy series. I can’t wait to grab a copy of the next book and see where things will go from there.

My review is purposefully going to be a little vague, because the book is written king od vague and mysterious surrounding certain characters and events, and I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises or fun I had along the way. It’s one of those books that you just have to experience for yourself to understand. But here is what I can tell you….

This story is about our main character, Keera who is a halfling, half elf and half human. In this world halflings are deemed only worthy of being slaves to the crown. Keera was chosen from a young age to train as a warrior spy for the king, and she has been very successful in that role, but it has come at a serious cost to her. When we meet her, she is just a shell of a person and she has a drinking issue (among other things). One of my favorite aspects of the book was watching Keera come into her own. Keera gets an assignment from the King to track down and kill an assassin called The Shadow, and that quest sets Keera off on a totally different course than she ever though was possible.

Away from Court life, Keera’s eyes are opened to a lot more of the world that she ever experienced. Not only did she run into the Shadow but she also found a group of rebels, and with them comes a great cast of characters. I would have enjoyed the romance element of the story to be a little heavier, but this book was definitely more plot driven. The romance was there but it was pretty minor in my opinion. If you are a fan of plot driven quest style fantasy novels with mysterious and morally grey characters, plenty of secrets and betrayals, then The Halfling Saga might be the series for you. I enjoyed A Broken Blade and I am very interested in the next book.
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Thank you for netgalley and the publisher for giving me an e-arc of this and here's my honest review. 
This book started well I was liking the vibes and getting to know our main character but as I got through I found that the story was so predictable just the average fantasy without any new things and as an avid fantasy reader I didn't like this at all. This book didn't have anything you look for in a fantasy at all the characters didn't have any depth at all I honestly didn't care about any of them at all even the main characters,the romance was so plain and ridiculous at times, the plot was predictable as I said and didn't give me any twists and lastly the writing style which was really simple for a fantasy. So in conclusion this could be good for an amateur reader but if you wanna reach higher audience the author needs alot to work on.
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A Broken Blade by Melissa Blair, an intriguing premise, but ultimately didn't appeal to me, thank you for giving me a chance with this book.
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Thanks to @netgalley for this #gifted e-Advanced Reader Copy of A Broken Blade 

This book follows Keera, also known as the King’s Blade. She is the most talented spy I'm the kingdom and the King's favourite assassin. So when a mysterious figure called the Shadow starts to make moves against the Crown she is tasked with hunting the Shadow down. In doing so she crosses into the magical lands of the Fae, in an attempt to establish if her enemy is Mortal, fae or a halfling like her.  Keera is left shocked by what she discovers and can’t help but wonder who her enemy truly is… The King that destroyed her people? The Prince that tortures them? Or the Shadow that threatens her place at court?
As she searches for answers, she is haunted by a promise she made long ago. A promise not only to save herself but an entire kingdom.

What I liked 👍 
1️⃣ Enemies to lovers 
2️⃣ Pace & plot 
3️⃣ Found family vibes 
4️⃣ Magic & Fae 
5️⃣ A complex lead character 

I struggled with connecting with this one, I think it has so much potential & some great elements but in some ways it felt like they tried to incorporate all these fantasy elements and it didn't fully connect in a really believable manner. But maybe this is because fantasy is one of my favourite genres and I'm tough to impress on that score 🤣🤔 

On the whole if you enjoy fantasy with a dark twist, morally grey main characters & political tension then give it a go! I'd love to hear what you think!
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“You don’t get to judge them for being the monsters the King turned them into. The Shades weren’t born as weapons. They weren’t born as killers. They were born as children. Stolen. Ripped from their parents and placed on that godforsaken island.”

Keera is a reluctant assassin for an awful King who is responsible for stealing the land of her people. After making the decision to to take the opportunity to try to bring down the King upon discovering she is to be sent to hunt down a mysterious figure called the Shadow, Keera finds her own found family.
I related to Keera's character and her alcoholism, and found the build up of the enemies to lovers romance to be well done. The fast pacing and diverse representation were equally well done and I cant wait for the next book!
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I seen this book all over TikTok and couldn’t wait to read it. The marketing was so fun! This is a quick paced fantasy. A morally grey main character. A faerie society. I really enjoyed this debut novel and I look forward to see what happens next. 

CW: substance abuse, addiction, murder, self harm, depression, and more.
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I heard a lot of hype about this book on Tik Tok and while it didn't disappoint this is not generally a book I would finish as an ebook. I am more of a physical book reader and this book fits the genre of something I would like to have in my hands to annotate and see my progress because it is a complex fantasy story that can be compared in complexity to Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas. I will be purchasing a physical copy to absolutely destroy with pen markings.
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This is a fast-paced fantasy adventure with magic, politics, and some of my favorite tropes (hate-to-love, one bed, comforting presence after a nightmare, etc.). While I struggled a little at first to really get into the book because of the politics between the different races that were not that clear, once I got past the 20% mark, it was very easy to get lost in this book and to read “just one more chapter” until I finished it.

Keera is a Halfling (half-mortal and half-something else) working for King Aemon. As the King’s Blade, she is responsible for organizing the King,s Shades (spies and assassins), as well as tracking down whoever the king wants dead and killing them. From early on, we can see how Keera hates the king for what he has forced her to become and to do. She doesn’t enjoy being the Blade, and she would be very happy to see the king dead if only it didn’t mean that the crown would go to Prince Damien who’s crueler and even more dangerous than the king.

Keera is full of guilt because as the king’s blade, she has been forced to hunt and kill halflings for the past 30 years. She wants to get rid of the king, but it’s an impossible feat to perform alone, and she cannot trust or rely on anyone else. When the king sends her on a mission to hunt down and kill the person known as The Shadow, Keera realizes that maybe she’s not the only one wanting to see the king dead, and maybe there are people out there who will be able and willing to help her.

The world-building is well done and complex, but it honestly took me a while to figure out and understand the difference between all the species, and even now, I struggle to understand the difference between the Elves and the Faes in this book.

Here is a little summary of the important facts:
- Elvarath is ruled by the mortal king Aemon (at least, I am pretty sure that he is mortal, honestly I was a little confused about all the races and their politics at first).
- Halflings are the child of mortals and elves or faes, or they have elves or faes somewhere in their ancestry. Their blood runs amber instead of red, and they are property of the king, not much better than slaves.
- The king of Elverath has a shaky alliance with the Dark Faes. The Dark Faes live in the West and do not care much about the politics of Elverath. They just want to be left alone, and they are also trying to help the Halflings since they consider them as their kind too.
- The Light Faes have been extinct for centuries.
- The Elves are believed to be “extinct”, but they are not all dead. Most were killed by King Aemon, the survivors are hiding and living with the Dark Faes mostly.

Keera is a great main character. As a halfling, she’s at the very bottom of the hierarchy, she was found as a child and has been forced into the King’s service ever since. From the very first chapter, we can see that she is ruthless when it comes to her missions, but also that it costs her to kill innocent people. As the story progresses, we can see more and more of her caring side. She does not really care about herself and her life, but she really wants to help the halflings in her kingdom, acting a little like a Robin Hood whenever she can, and giving money to those who help the halflings.

Keera would be what I consider a morally grey character, but not necessarily by her own choices. She was forced into this life, and she was forced to kill innocent people and traitors, whether she wanted it or not. Because of her training and her life as the Blade though, she has become very efficient and can make tough decisions when she needs to, even when it breaks her heart. She knows how to be efficient and deadly… She is also in desperate need of some love and a hug.

I like the beginning of “found family” we saw in this book. It was not a real found family (yet), because Keera did not spend that much time with them, and they are not even close to really trusting each other, but there is definitely potential there, and I really hope the author will use this dynamic to create a tight-knit unit that Kerra can trust, and that will show her what having friends and people that care for her feels like.

The physical descriptions of the other characters were minimal at times. Honestly, besides the eyes and hair color, we didn’t know much about them, but truly, I didn’t really care as I have a habit to imagine the characters in my head, and sometimes they don’t even completely fit with the description that is given. Still, I think this could be a little improvement for the next book.

I wouldn’t say that there is romance yet in this series, but there is clearly a physical attraction between Keera and another character, and there is a huge potential for an awesome enemies-to-lovers relationship to continue to develop. There is a little bit of mild smut near the end, but it fits perfectly with the progression of the story and relationship. It wouldn’t have made sense for Keera to just jump into bed with anyone simply because she was physically attracted to them, so I love that there is only mild smut, but a promise of more to come because there is sexual tension there, and both parties are clearly feeling “something more” for each other.

The ending promises a second book filled with even more politics, spying, and also some angst (probably… hopefully). I am very eager to read the second book and see what awaits Keera! It did see that “final twist” coming, but I am still very happy about it, and I love all the angst it might bring to the beginning of the next book.

On a side note, I think this book was categorized as “new adult”, and I have to partly disagree. Sure, there is a little bit of smut, the main character is an alcoholic, and because of her mixed blood, she is over 60 years old, qualifying her as an “adult main character”, but the vibe of this whole book is more similar to the YA fantasy books I’ve read than the NA. The main character is not bad at all! But I didn’t feel this “more mature adult” quality that I expect when I read NA books with older MCs.
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I'm convinced that this book has everything I've ever wanted in a book: enemies to lovers, one bed at an inn, characters with interesting backstories, amazing plot lines, and superb world-building. I had so much trouble putting it down - even though I had to with moving and work sometimes :( - but this was such a well-written fantasy book. I honestly felt a bit sad upon finishing it, as it's the first in a series, and I don't know when the next book will be released.

I don't want to give too much away, but this book had twists and turns that I did NOT see coming. The perfect amount of suspense and reveal led to a tense but enjoyable reading experience. I loved the characters' chemistry with each other, and the slow burn of it all. The supporting characters were intriguing in their own right as well, perfectly balancing the group out. I seriously need the next book ASAP with the way this one ended. Definitely a 5 star read for me!
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Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was a solid start to a new series and a debut novel. It had me hooked from the first chapter and I’m a sucker for any book with an assassin as the main character. Keera is an assassin for the King known as the King’s Blade and she is known as the deadliest of the Halflings. Keera is a badass morally grey character and has her own demons that she deals with as the King’s Blade. As the King’s Blade, Keera is tasked with hunting down the one known as the Shadow who is threatening the Crown. 

I don’t want to give away any more of the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for you. I will say that I loved the variety characters in this book.
 
- Slow burn
- Enemies to lovers
- Forced proximity
- One-bed trope
- Found family
- Political intrigue

I’m looking forward to book 2 and can’t wait to see where this story goes!
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Really enjoyed this one for all of these reasons:

- slow burn enemies to lovers
- political intrigue
- morally grey MC
- Found family

All of the above always tick my boxes with a fantasy book! I absolutely loved Keera and have grown an emotional attachment to her. I loved her ruthlessness and sarcasm, but also she had this war of emotions going on inside as well with the internal struggles she is facing. It was great to have snippets of Keera's past interlaced through the story, it was a great way to learn more about her. 

The world building and other characters were great, although that betrayal stung. I liked that heavier themes were explored in this book, in a really good way. I also enjoyed how much action there was and all the plot twists along the way. Book 2 is out like tomorrow, right?
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Wow. What a journey from watching booktokers receive their anonymous ARCs of this book to now, finishing my own eARC from Melissa’s publisher—Union Square & Co.

This debut YA fantasy novel was such a great read. Once I got to the 30% mark, I couldn’t put it down. This is the book that will keep you up reading until 5 am. I loved that you get all the fantastical elements of other high fantasy, but with an anti-colonialist perspective. You really get a look into not only the workings of Keera’s world, but also into how she has been affected as a woman who has never been able to choose how to live her own life, including dealing with grief, alcohol abuse, physical violence, and threats of sexual violence (please do check TWs before reading!), not to mention the guilt that hangs over Keera from actions she was forced to take or die herself. 

My single complaint about this book was that, at times I felt like a little detail in the world building was left out, leaving me a little confused about technical things like how exactly Fae/Elven/Mortal/Halfblood genetics work. 

That aside, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a dazzling debut that left me anxious for more (as in I need book 2 right now so I can find out what happens after this cliffhanger!!!). I will eagerly await more from Melissa Blair, and I’ll definitely be picking up a physical copy of the gorgeous, subtly metallic, paperback to add to my shelves when I can.
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<b> <I> Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga#1) by Melissa Blair in exchange for an honest review. All of the following opinions are formulated on my own. Any quotes in this review should be cross-referenced with the final copy for any possible edits.</I> </b>

<b> Overall rating: </b> 4 out of 5 stars

<b> Favorite quote(s) </b>
“Shadows were largest just before sunset, but lost their power when night inevitably fell. For Shadows don't exist in the dark.”

<b> My favorite elements: </b> I was on Booktok when everyone was throwing around the title "A Broken Blade". I never really heard what the story was about. I did find the marketing very intriguing for an indie author and I think it is smart that someone snapped up this story for traditional publishing. The complex writing of this debut is astonishing and feels as if it was crafted by a seasoned published writer. The story definitely gives me Throne of Glass vibes. I would say the MC is a smidge more on the morally gray side. 

<b> My criticisms: </b> I'm absolutely not a fan of the love interest and the end is confusing. This can always be pulled together in the next book. I don't think that it was particularly groundbreaking, and it doesn't have to be for a debut. I enjoyed it even though it felt forgettable. Let's be honest, readers forget the plots of 80% of the books they read in their favorite genre. 

<b> If you liked the following, you will probably like this book: </b>
<I>-Throne of Glass
- Bow Before the Elf Queen
-  A Violet Made of Thorns </I>

<b> Will I finish the series? </b> Yes, I intend to. Hopefully, I will see the next one floating around on social media and remember to add it to my TBR.

 <b> Does it deserves the hype?: </b> I would say it is a promising debut and yes, we should watch this author as she writer her upcoming books/series.
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Thank you Netgalley for sending me an ARC of this book!

4.5/5 Stars

This book right out of the gate had me enraptured within the world, from the very beginning I had the world envisioned right away. For someone who is a visual reader, this was amazing as I was captivated right into the world within the first chapter. I did find the first few chapters having a little slow paced, but after I felt like I was flying through the rest of the book. There are so many things I enjoyed about this book, the diverse range of characters, the world building, the magic, and more.

This book was quite an adventure! The only reason this book did not get 5 starts is I wish it was a little quicker paced at the beginning. Overall, I love this book by Melissa and cannot wait to jump back into this world with the second book! If you are a fan of The Shadows Between Us or Throne of Glass, then pick up this book!
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This book was such a comfort read for me. I grew up reading nothing but YA fantasy and after having read so much else lately this one just felt like a return to the sort of fantasy books I grew up loving. The book is not YA, but in it we find a lot of the same sort of elements and tropes I love about the genre. Keera is a reluctant assassin for a king who is responsible for having stolen the land of her people. When she is tasked with hunting down a mysterious figure called The Shadow, she takes the opportunity to try and bring down the king, and along the way discovers a found family. Keera is a morally grey, flawed MC, dealing with alcoholism and the ramifications of working as an assassin for a wicked king. Enemies to lovers is of course my favorite romance trope and the chemistry and build up in this book was perfect. The story is a great blend of action, romance, and political intrigue and I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel. If you like Sara J Maas’ Throne of Glass series I think you’ll want to pick this book up!
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Disclaimer: I received this finished copy and e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: A Broken Blade

Author: Melissa Blair

Book Series: The Halfling Saga Book 1

Rating: 5/5

Spice: 2/5

Diversity: Sapphic couple mentioned, Bisexual MC

Recommended For...: fantasy, LGBT, new adult, romance

Publication Date: August 2, 2022

Genre: Fantasy

Age Relevance: 18+ (racism, violence, gore, alcohol consumption, death, war, sexual assault, colonizing, “blood purity”, cutting, slavery, cursing, romance, alcohol addiction, withdrawal, human trafficking, sexual content)

Explanation of Above: The book has a running theme and allusion to racism and discusses things like colonizing, “blood purity”, slavery, and human trafficking based on ones birth. There is a lot of violence, war, death, and gore in this book, specifically blood, corpses, and vomiting. Alcohol is consumed by the MC and other characters, but the MC is suffering from alcohol addiction and goes through withdrawal in the book. Sexual assault is alluded to but not specifically mentioned or shown. Cutting, specifically cutting names of people the MC murders onto her skin, is shown in the book. There is some cursing. There is some romance and some sexual content with scenes/body parts described in detail.

Publisher: Union Square Co

Pages: 431

Synopsis: Keera is a killer. As the King’s Blade, she is the most talented spy in the kingdom. And the King’s favored assassin. When a mysterious figure called the Shadow starts making moves against the Crown, Keera is forced to hunt the masked menace down.

She crosses into the magical lands of the Fae, trying to discern if her enemy is Mortal, Elf, or a Halfling like her. But the Faeland is not what it seems, and neither is the Shadow. Keera is shocked by what she discovers and can’t help but wonder who her enemy truly is…

The King that destroyed her people? The Prince that tortures them? Or the Shadow that threatens her place at court?

As she searches for answers, Keera is haunted by a promise she made long ago. A promise not only to save herself but an entire kingdom.

Review: I really liked this book! I thought it did so well talking about real life atrocities, such as Indian Boarding Schools, slavery and running away to freedom, and the creation of cops to stop run away slaves. The book focused a lot on the political/humanitarian side of the issues, a lot like Ash Princess, and it did well with the enemies to lovers romance (and there’s even a one bed trope!). Overall, I felt like the character development was well done and the world building was great. The book is very well written and I can’t wait for book 2!

However, I did have issues with the slow pacing of the book overall and I felt like the action build up was super slow as well. There were some time skips as well that I felt didn’t help further the plot. But my biggest issue is that I don’t understand why this book is shelved as young adult fantasy. The MC is 68 years old in the book and there are some graphic sex scenes in the book. There’s also a character in the book who is a teen that the MC sees as a child, which is a great indication of this not being a YA book. While the book could definitely be passed off as NA because the MC says that due to her slow aging, I don’t agree with the YA shelving because it contain NA/adult themes rather than YA.

Verdict: It was great! Highly recommend!
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I enjoyed the book so far…the plot is interesting and the world building isn’t too overwhelming. I saw this book on TikTok and didn’t do too much research on it…unfortunately I had to stop because the SH triggered me. (I saw another review about this just now but I didn’t see/check trigger warning beforehand, which is totally my own fault) 
I‘m very intrigued though, so I will probably pick it up again and maybe skip certain parts.
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A few centuries ago, in the Kingdom of Elverath King Aemon decreed that there are only two species, mortals and dark fae. Halflings and elves they were either destroyed or owned by the crown. 

A Broken Blade is the first book of a new high fantasy saga, some of the tropes are: 
• Morally grey characters
• The Evil Overlord
• Political Intrigue
• Enemies to lovers

Keera is the blade of the kingdom and has been for the last few decades, her work is to  find Halflings and kill them, she a complex character that feels guilty about her work and resorts in drinking to mitigate the guilt. You will root for Keera, even if you haven't lived her experiences, you will understand her and want support her cause, I enjoy her character development. 

There is a lot of action, blade scenes (love it) Keera will join a group of diverse characters for the fall of the king and and his horrible government. They are great characters,  morally grey too, sarcastic and loyal.
There is romance too, specifically Enemies to lovers, the tension here is 🔥,  my favorite part is the communication part, the trust in each other. 

Is a good debut, I was hooked, it’s fast paced, the world building is interesting, I want to know more about the differences between the species and their magic. Also, the story touches many topics like alcoholism, self harm, violence, and colonialism. 

I don't know how many books there will be but this ends in cliffhanger, I need info about the second book ASAP. If you like books like throne of glass or six crowns I think you will enjoy this.
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I enjoyed what I was able to read so far. The characters and worldbuilding was certainly interesting. I won't be able to finish this book however as I got triggered too badly by the self harm.
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I received this book as an ARC. 

I didn't get a chance to read this when it originally released so I am very grateful I got to receive this ARC and read it. I absolutely adored this! 

The pacing was a bit slow at times but I also think that was necessary for the world building. It definitely felt like there was a lot of set up happening here so that the next few books can delve deeper into the world/lore as well as the plot. I am excited to see how everything develops moving forward.

I enjoyed the romance but if you are not a fan of slow burn enemies to lovers, you will not care for this. 

I enjoyed the themes in here of rebellion and strength. I also really LOVED the trigger warnings list. I always appreciate that.
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