Cover Image: A Broken Blade

A Broken Blade

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Member Reviews

Thank you Union Square & Co. publishing for the ARC! Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this and I DNFed it around 60 pages in. It’s not that this was a bad book, but I found that the book went into a lot of triggering topics and it got to the point where I was very uncomfortable and squeamish. I am willing however to give this book a second chance in the future but for now I’m going to put it on hold. I’m rating it a 3/5 stars just because I haven’t read it enough to give it an actual rating so it would be unfair to give it a low rating, but thank you again for the ARC!
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This book was like a mashup of ACOTAR and Throne of Glass and I absolutely loved it. 
At the beginning of this book all content warnings are listed and that’s just such a bonus, it really helps accessibility for readers. 
This was probably one of the best books I have read this month, I can not wait for the sequels to be released - because that plot twist… wow. I mean… I kind of guessed you-know-who had something to do with it, but the predictability doesn’t weaken the plot. 
This was a solid four stars and I am so excited to see more from this author.
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I was given this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

I read this book in one day! I couldn’t put it down! The twists and turns kept me turning the pages! 

I absolutely love Keera! Every once in a while we need an amazing, strong, skilled female lead and she is it!

Now I need the second book!
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Kill the King. Save the Kingdom.

When I first read this novels’ summary, a scarred assassin, a provoking prince, a quest to save her people – I instantly thought, “Okay. This is just Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass all over again.” 

Au contraire, mon amis. 

This book has many unique elements, prose that allures and captivates, and a woman’s journey to redemption, for her and her people. All things that make those 4.5 stars well-earned. If that is not enough to draw you in: Fae magic, espionage, shadowy promises, enemies to lovers, a double agent, and unexpected twisty twists. 
Keera (a Halfling, herself) has an inner darkness, despair, secrets, and a soul tainted with the blood of hundreds. She is not the embodiment of light, nor is she a teenage princess; she struggles with addiction, regret and self-doubt – all things that make her character relatable. 

Keera’s world encompasses a kingdom of mortals and non-mortals, the downtrodden “Halflings,” who are no more than slaves in the eyes of the King, greed, and suffering. Halflings in this society are akin to Rowling’s “Mudbloods,” though without the magical endowment. Only those stout and ruthless enough to survive the “Trials,” a series of five challenges specifically designed to break its initiates, are selected to be “Shades” for the monarchy. 

A furtive, hooded stranger, “The Shadow” is inciting rebellious acts against the Crown, threatening its’ power and tenuous hold on its’ “Blade.”

“Shadows were the largest just before the sunset, but lost their power when night inevitably fell. For Shadows don’t truly exist in the dark. It was time for me to bring the night.”

Minor issues were present, such as Keera marking her definite (and self-afflicted) lack of friends in the beginning of the novel. However, we’re soon introduced to her chambermaid Gwyn; a woman that Keera regularly worries over and brings back gifts from her travels. Another instance is Keera’s grudging subordinate, Gerarda, who at one point chases after Keera into forbidden territory, and yet the reason for this is never explained. The characters all have depth and their own complexity, though I feel physical descriptions were slightly glossed over in some areas. This, at times, made it difficult to truly picture their appearance in our minds’ eye. Keera is the Blade, and therefore the highest-ranking member of the King’s Arsenal, but there are problems with this: She despises the position (of which she makes no attempt to hide it), she doesn’t perform the expected tasks that come with leading the rest of the “Shades,” she rebels against authority, and she holds her position by fear, not respect or loyalty. All these elements left me confused as to how, in this world, she would remain the Blade under an impatient King with only indifference, bordering on hatred for her kind. 

I’m hoping for more details on the “Trials,” additional background on the Fae/Elves, and even more twists in the follow-up novel. Our newfound loyalty to Melissa Blair and page-turning prowess are rewarded with a hair-ripping cliffhanger. This reader will simmer quietly (or not so quietly) until the sequel is finally within my all too impatient grasp. 

I want to extend my gratitude to the publisher and netgalley for providing this copy to me.  
***I was given a free advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.***
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I wanted to like this but I just couldn’t get into it despite how much I wanted to like Nikolai and Riven. I do like both of them but the story was hard to really get into like I usually do that being said the plot has a lot of promise and I am debating possibly rereading it around the time book 2 comes out. It has a lot of promise but not a lot happens and what does happen feels a little rush and forced.  However, the end of this book has me curious for the next one and eager to see what will happen next.
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I loved this. It captured and kept my attention the entire time. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy. Definitely a 5 star from me!
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I loved the book. It had a slow start, where I struggled to get into it, but once I was I didn’t want to stop reading. The story is fairly well written, and I love books about assassins. The characters are dynamic, and the plot twist at the end, while I did see it coming, was still well done. I think there could be a little more world building, but it’s not so lacking that it hurts the book and it can be built on in the rest of the series.
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In a quick-paced high fantasy story centering a morally gray and sarcastic main character navigating a magic-filled Faerie society with a deep-rooted desire to rid her home of the Crown entirely, we can see the author's love for popular BookTok series within the same series. This book exists as a love letter to BookTok and it's very clear (in the best way).

First of all, I have an emotional attachment to Keera. In this world that breaks various groups of mortals and non-mortals alike into classes, we see effects of a strict colonial hierarchy put in place and how it impacts those at the bottom of the societal food chain- the Halflings. We are introduced to language variations meant to dehumanize and examples of physical alterations made to better assimilate for survival for the Halflings, and seeing Keera carry the burden of guilt of performing as an assassin for the King that oppresses her own kind as an alternative to forced sex work or death was a heavy story to take in. In this story, we follow a character filled with frustration, remorse, and anger. We follow her journey of alcohol dependence and addiction and how she tackles recovery. We see her become empowered enough to finally make a bold stand against the king and we see her open herself up to connection and community after distancing herself for so long.

I have a lot of love for the sad characters overwhelmed with guilt. Keera is high on the list of fictional characters in desperate need of a hug.

I cannot speak to the accuracy of the representation of addiction and recovery so I will speak simply to the, at times, repetitive nature of descriptions surrounding Keera's drinking. There came a certain point early on, before Keera's journey of recovery, where it seemed that at least once each chapter, we began with a sentence mentioning Keera's grabbing or drinking wine. We also got many descriptions of her annebreated and/or hungover state on top of those mentions of drinking so the presence of both felt to be extraneous at times. I think the story could be improved by a bit of editing in that department.

In contrast to the frequent descriptions of Keera's drinking, though, I think we got too little of certain physical descriptions. When a new character was introduced, we got a brief description of skin color left at either "pale", "light brown", or "dark brown" before getting their eye color, hair color, and (maybe) how their hair was styled. We would then get frequent repeating descriptions of certain characters' hair and eyes but rarely anything else and I think a bit more detail could be given for a more rounded out image. I think what we got was a solid bare minimum that could be pushed a bit more- luckily this is the first in a series and the author has plenty of opportunity to adjust (if they want to).

As for character development and growth, I'm really impressed with this debut. Something I loved so much about this story was the relationships between our main group on their mission to overthrow the government and cause social disruption. These relationships thrive not only one how deeply they are committed to protecting each other, but in how easily they're able to hold one another accountable and critique clashing perspectives. These characters are quick to acknowledge when someone isn't pulling their weight or speaking from a place of hypocrisy. They're unafraid to poke fun at one another and the history we're told is there feels real and believable.

I think this book functions as a great jumping-off point and I'm excited to see how our anonymous author develops the story further now that we have the bulk of the world-building out of the way. We've been given such an expansive world of vigilantes and casually queer characters navigating perspective clashes and flaws that make for the most interesting alliances and dynamics. I'm most curious to see how the themes surrounding colonization and the survival of an oppressed people carries on because the pieces we get hold so many layers.
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The Broken Blade-book review 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

“𝒴𝑜𝓊 𝒹𝑜𝓃’𝓉 𝑔𝑒𝓉 𝓉𝑜 𝒿𝓊𝒹𝑔𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓂 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝒷𝑒𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓂𝑜𝓃𝓈𝓉𝑒𝓇𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓀𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝓊𝓇𝓃𝑒𝒹 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓂 𝒾𝓃𝓉𝑜. 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝒽𝒶𝒹𝑒𝓈 𝓌𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃’𝓉 𝒷𝑜𝓇𝓃 𝒶𝓈 𝓌𝑒𝒶𝓅𝑜𝓃𝓈i. 𝒯𝒽𝑒𝓎 𝓌𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃’𝓉 𝒷𝑜𝓇𝓃 𝒶𝓈 𝓀𝒾𝓁𝓁𝑒𝓇𝓈”

This is a quick paced-not right off the bat though, but once it gets going it doesn’t stop. We follow a no rally grey FMC who lives in a magic-filled society, who wants to take down the crown. This book defiantly has odes to ToG, FBAA, ACOTAR, Bridge Kingdom but in its own unique way.

As the story unfolded you can’t help but have a oft spot for Keera. Forced into a life she didn’t want, without any knowledge of her past. We watch her tackle her own trauma, demons, alcohol addiction and how she tackles recovery. We get to follow her on her journey to becoming empowered and open herself up to people. 

On Keeras hunt for the shadow and to take down the king she makes her own found family of amazing characters. Together they are on a mission to save the halflings and end the crown. The main reason I gave this 4.5 stars was because of pacing in the beginning, it felt a little drawn out. 

That ending though 🤯 has me really needing book 2. I am hoping we get more answers and even more exploring in Keeras past. 

This book was previously published by the author herself and was just picked up by Union Square Co and is being rereleased August 2! I highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers.

Thank you to netgallery for this magically ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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Rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Sterling Publishing for this ARC!

As a political fantasy book, this book would be the definition of mid lol. Like it was okay world building, an okay romance, and okay plot. The pacing was quite slow and took a while to pick up however. It was interesting but I did get bored often.

There were many of the well loved tropes but the outcome of these tropes were meh. The one bed trope was anti-climactic, the “who did this to you” moment was okay, the enemies to lovers development was also meh. 

Overall the book was decent but nothing too special
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Despite being a decent book, I think it lacked something. 
As implied by the premise, Keera is a member of the Elven race and serves as the King's Blade in a kingdom in which anyone with Elf blood is either executed or enslaved. When someone called the Shadow moves against the crown, 
Keera is ordered to track them down, and she begins revealing more and more secrets in the forbidden Fae lands.


Keera wasn't bad, but the characters didn't really appeal to me. The romance seemed lacking to me. Although the author did a great job of highlighting Keera's struggles with alcoholism, 
it seemed like she was able to overcome it far too easily.

On a positive note, the plot was interesting. 
The text was predictable at times, but it was also readable, and everything appeared to be relevant and understandable. 
I liked the world-building elements in the game, even though I prefer fewer species in my fantasy worlds. 

Politics and building blocks were no problem to understand, and I found them interesting. 
My real issue is with the writing, which isn't bad per se, but I found it to be a bit weak in comparison with other works. 
The author seemed to have run out of ways to keep things interesting.
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This book is amazing!!! I saw it all over Booktok and cannot believe how talented this author is! The world is so beautifully crafted with such intriguing political systems. And the main character? SLAYS!! She is such a strong and independent character that I honestly believe we need to see more of in fantasy books. Also, the twinge of romance had me swooning! Highly recommend this book.
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I was provided a free ARC of The Broken Blade by Melissa Blair from Union Square and Co via NetGalley in return for my honest review of this book. Any opinions stated in this review are mine completely and are not influenced by outside sources.

I tried so hard to get into this book but unfortunately it just wasn’t for me and it felt like any of the other YA books coming out right now.
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I'd like to first say that this is much more of a positive 3/5 than it is negative. However, it is a 3/5, mostly because of the writing, which I'll talk about in a minute.
As always, let's start off with our characters. The main two here are Keera, a Halfling and the king's Blade, and her rival, Riven, a Dark Fae and the Shadow thwarting her. Keera deals a lot with trauma from the death of an old friend and her alcohol addiction, so keep that in mind when going to read! Also TW for self harm post-kills. Keera is such a complex character, which io love. There's an element of mystery about her even though the book itself is first person POV. Additionally, Riven has a very similar feel of suspense. He and Keera talk to one another, but in a way that promotes healthiness, not a way that demolishes the mystery of them and their relationship. I definitely didn't have any complaints here!
Next, our relationships! Although we do see background platonic relationships, the only relationships Keera is a part of are her budding friendships with Syrra and Nikolai and her romance with Riven. However, all of these develop slowly and organically. Keera can't trust the people she meets in the Fae lands and they don't trust her, which makes for the development of some really interesting relationships. I loved how by the end, you can see just how much they all care for one another and how far they've come.
Lastly, plot/worldbuilding and in this case, writing, Starting off with the positive, I really liked the plot. I thought it was predictable at times, but it was also readable and everything was both understandable and relevant. Although I do prefer to have less Capital Letter Species in my fantasy worlds, I thought the world-building elements were great too. I had no trouble understanding the politics and building blocks, but they were fun to learn about. My real issue lay in the writing. I wouldn't call it BAD, but I thought it was a bit weak compared to other published works. Obviously this could happen in any first person work, but i found the constant use of "I did [x], I did [y]," to be grating at one point. It felt like Blair was running out of ways to switch things up. Additionally, it seemed so matter-of-fact at times that the writing didn't flow as well. This is a very common, slightly stupid phrase when it comes to writing, but it was always telling, not showing. I did like the book, but that prevented it from being four or five stars for me.
I'd definitely recommend this for fans of darker fantasy books, NA, and enemies to lovers with lots of character development. The writing just wasn't quite there for me, but I'm confident that I and a lot of other people can enjoy this book.
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Thank you to Union Square & Co and NetGalley for the ARC. This was a decent book but I felt like it was missing something. The premise is interesting - Keera is part Elf and serves as the King’s Blade in a kingdom where anyone with Elf blood is either killed or enslaved. When someone called the Shadow moves against the crown, Keera is ordered to track them down, going to the forbidden Fae lands where she starts to uncover more and more secrets.

Keera was okay but for the most part the characters didn’t really draw me in. I wanted way more from the romance/love interest. It was a nice thought for the author to show the struggles of alcoholism, but it seemed like Keera was able to overcome it way too easily. I also got a little confused with all of the talk of mixing bloodlines and the differences between Fae and Elves, Light Fae, Dark Fae, Halfings, etc.

There clearly are a lot of people who loved this book so I would say it’s still worth a try and it might improve when more things are revealed in the rest of the series.
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This is such a good debut! I had high expectations because of all the hype and I was not disappointed.

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

My body is made of scars,
some were done to me,
but most I did to myself.
 
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 moves against the Crown, Keera is called upon to hunt down the so-called Shadow. 
 
She tracks her target into the magical lands of the Fae, but Faeland is not what it seems…and neither is the Shadow. Keera is shocked by what she learns, and can't help but wonder who her enemy truly is: the King that destroyed her people or the Shadow that threatens the peace?
 
As she searches for answers, Keera is haunted by a promise she made long ago, one that will test her in every way. To keep her word, Keera must not only save herself, but an entire kingdom.

Thank you NetGalley for giving me an eARC!!
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