The Waterborne Blade by Susan Murray

Just finished reading The Waterborne Blade by Susan Murray.  This is the start of a new fantasy series set in a faux medieval world.  I admit I was really attracted by the premise and the gorgeous cover.  Having completed, well, I can’t really say that this is a series I will continue with to be honest.  And it pains me to say that because I hate to give negative reviews and I really set out with great expectations for this particular book.

The story gets off to an immediate start with the King of Highkell, Trisilian, despatching is wife, Alwenna, to safety in the face of imminent attack by Vasic – traitor and would-be usurper.  And so Alwenna begins her journey to sanctuary, accompanied by the King’s man Weaver and her maid.  From there on the story becomes one of flee, capture, escape and flee again!  It very soon becomes apparent that Alwenna has visions and also seems capable of wielding certain magic and in fact much darker magic is involved in the story towards the conclusion.  In fact, I must confess in that respect the twist towards the end gave me a real surprise.

In terms of characters.  The main two are Alwenna and Weaver who do spend a good deal of time in each other’s company.  On top of this we have Vasic taking the role of baddie of the piece and a number of additional peripheral characters that join at different points during the course of the story.

So, why didn’t i love this.  I certainly imagine that some people will do so to be honest.  It’s quite an easy book to read although the constant travelling back and forth does become a bit tiresome.  In fact, I started off thinking I would really enjoy this, even though Alwenna annoyed me almost immediately with her ridiculous demands, for example demanding to take a maid on a dangerous escape mission – just so that the proper formalities could be observed – get over yourself and stop putting people in danger.  I actually quite like ‘road’ journeys – a fact borne out by my love of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and so I was puzzled as to why my interest dwained a little and I think this is due to the perception of ‘size’ with this world.  It just really felt like a very small place.  I know that’s probably not the best articulation of how I felt but I do think it gives you a good idea.  The distances between A to B seemed easy traversed, there never felt like any real threats were encountered on the way and it just didn’t seem like the sort of place that a person could simply get lost or disappear into.

On top of that I became increasingly frustrated with Alwenna and Weaver.  They knowingly walked into any number of situations which they ‘had a bad feeling about’ – just why!  And, for goodness sake, Alwenna can see the future – how could she have had no idea of what was actually going on.  Okay, i realise her visions became stronger after she received a certain ‘gift’ but she did already have ‘the sight’.  I think my feelings towards both of them was that in spite of any number of reasons why they shouldn’t they continually made themselves into victims and I found it hard to comprehend.  On top of that I just couldn’t become attached to them.  They both had their odd moments of inspiration but overall I felt there was simply no chemistry involved between the two, the majority of the time they were at odds with each other and their eventual trist felt completely wrong and in fact a little bit cold and almost calculated.  I also struggled with why Weaver, given the knowledge that he had now come by would step out of character so blatantly.

Now, this all seems terribly critical – which I hate.  I really don’t think this is a bad book however I don’t really think it is for me.  I simply had too many things that niggled me and frankly didn’t add up.

I received a copy of this book from the pubishers through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above opinion is my own.

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