The Mortal Blade (Magelands Eternal Siege #1) by Christopher Mitchell

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Stage 2 of the  SPFBO competition is now well underway and the Critiquing Chemist and I have been reading the finalists.  Today we post our review for our third finalist The Mortal Blade (Magelands Eternal Siege #1) by Christopher Mitchell.  Don’t forget to stop over to the Critiquing Chemist to check out their review.

Mortalblade

‘A city ruled by Gods, a mortal champion, a misfit girl and a disobedient dragon…’

I would start my review by saying that Mortal blade was an easy book to read and a story told by four unique points of view.  The story immediately intrigues you by following one of the povs as they undertake a dangerous nighttime mission that definitely whets the appetite and leaves you wanting more.

The City of the Eternal Siege is quite aptly named as it seems to be continually under siege by a fierce and overwhelming (in terms of numbers) enemy known as the Greenhides.  The City is ultimately ruled by a God King and Queen although at this point they’re more figureheads than anything else.  Their demigod children instead have been allocated different parts of the City to govern, an arrangement that seems to cause friction and jealousy at best.  Not of help in this respect is the fact that the Gods went to war with each other 300 years ago.  With their long lives come bitter memories of the death and destruction caused during that war and resentments still bubble beneath the surface.  The place feels like it sits on a knife edge of tension and the everyday mortals who live in the City feel rather like fodder for the Gods to use in their political maneuvering.

The four main characters are: a demigod named Alia.  Alia was on the losing side during the war of the Gods and although she has been pardoned and given a role in this new domain I would say her position is tenuous, although this doesn’t stop her sneaking around and trying to help the mortals who live in the city as part of her own ongoing rebellion.  Corthie has been brought to the City as a Champion to help with the relentless onslaught of the Greenhides.  Corthie is quite unique in that he seems to be the only human with godlike ability that translates into a form of battle vision, giving him a constant edge over his enemies.  In one respect Corthie’s ability enables the City to begin to experience some sort of respite from this continuous onslaught but in another way his ability  brings him to the notice of the Gods and this is not necessarily a good thing.  Maddie is a young Blade (soldier) who seems to have been thrown out of every unit she’s been allocated to as a result of unruly behaviour.  She has one more chance to redeem herself before being allocated to the almost suicidal unit known as the Rats, basically the soldiers who go beyond the wall on a regular basis to face the Greenhides.  As it happens Maddie’s new role is probably just as life threatening.  Finally, we have Daniel, a recently graduated officer and part of the nobility.  Daniel is the last in line and his family are desperate for him to redeem their name and status by succeeding in his military career and forming a beneficial alliance with one of the other noble families through marriage.  No pressure there then.  To say that Daniel isn’t overly keen on either prospect is an understatement.

The writing is easy to get on with, the pacing is fast and this is an enjoyable read.  However I did have a few issues that prevented me from absolutely loving it.

Firstly the characters.  To be fair I think with most stories that have multiple povs it’s usually easy to like one or two of the storylines more than the others.  With this one, I actually found my interest waxing and waning.  I started off really enjoying Alia.  I also thought Corthie got off to a strong start and was intrigued to see his role develop.  However, two things ultimately changed this for me.  I felt like Alia came across much younger than she actually was and this wasn’t helped at all by her forming a relationship/insta-love with Corthie and becoming almost immediately smitten.  That element of the story didn’t work well for me and somehow lacked conviction, she’s not a giddy teenager after all and this isn’t her first time falling in love.  Also it felt like Corthie became younger in attitude as his story progressed, taking risks and acting more like someone going on a jolly jape than a soldier entertaining life and death almost every day.   Maddie and Daniel on the other hand were the opposite.  I found Maddie frustrating to begin with, in fact a little annoying, but really started to come round to her as the story progressed.  Likewise Daniel.  His storyline is a little dry at first, he’s unhappy with his lot in life and to an extent he comes across as a bit privileged and mopey but as his military career begins he starts to come into his own and his character improved for me.  I felt like the world building was a little flimsy and I had a scattering of small niggling issues that eventually left me feeling that this book was perhaps aimed at a younger audience.  I’m not sure if that’s the case or not and that statement isn’t intended to be derogatory, simply I find myself reading less YA these days as they more often than not don’t provide the detail that I’m looking for.

All that being said, I have to say that Mortal Blade was easy to read, fast paced and entertaining.

My thanks to the author for a review copy.

My rating 7 out of 10 or 3.5 out of 5 for Goodreads.

The Critiquing Chemist rating is 7.5 out of 10

Our average rating is 7.5

#SPFBO – Not a Review : Finalist Reading Schedule, Book #1

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Stage 1 of the SPFBO competition is now complete and Stage 2 has now commenced.

During Stage 2 The Critiquing Chemist and I will read, review and score the remaining 9 finalists as will the other judges until a winner is revealed.  We have randomly selected our reading order and have already started reading.  These ‘Not a Review’ posts are my way of shining the spotlight on each of the Finalists as they become our next read.  Today, I’m posting details of our first finalist: The Mortal Blade (Magelands Eternal Siege #1) by Christopher Mitchell.  The Mortal Blade is the Booknest’s Finalist and below is a little more information about the book:

Mortalblade

A city ruled by Gods, a mortal champion, a misfit girl and a disobedient dragon…

Stolen from his home, Corthie Holdfast has arrived in the City of the Eternal Siege as a new Champion.

He must fight alongside the Blades, whose lives are dedicated to the defence of the City against the hordes of monstrous Greenhides; or die at the hands of the Gods who rule.

Maddie Jackdaw, a young Blade, faces her last chance. Thrown out of every unit defending the City, either she takes on a new role, or she will be sent to the Rats, a company of misfits given the perilous tasks beyond the Great Walls.

Her new role, if she takes it, will bring her face to face with her deepest fears, for beneath the walls, in a secret and hidden lair, lies a dragon, imprisoned and waiting…

CMAuthor Information

I love deserts, which is too bad as I live in Scotland, but the mountains, glens and lochs more than make up for it. My other love is Greek Tragedy, especially Euripides, and I also read history, science, fantasy, and pretty much anything about the Beatles…

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