Drawn Blades: Solid fifth book

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDrawn Blades by Kelly McCullough fantasy book reviewsDrawn Blades by Kelly McCullough

Drawn Blades is the fifth book in Kelly McCullough’s FALLEN BLADE series. This review will contain spoilers for the previous books.

Aral Kingslayer has finally emerged from his mental paralysis after the death of his Goddess, Namara. It has taken eight years, a lot of alcohol and the death of some friends for Aral to reach this point. With a new-found set of ideals, Aral is ready to start making a difference.

Siri Mythkiller was the First Blade of the order of Namara before its fall. Her talents in the arts of the assassin were top shelf, but her ability in magic had taken her to pinnacles others could match. After she is assigned the task to kill a powerful quasi God who has been imprisoned for many years, she finds herself gradually being possessed more and more by The Smoldering Flame. When Siri reaches out from distant Sylvani to ask for Aral’s help, he agrees without reservation. The risk, challenge or futility of her request doesn’t even enter Aral’s mind because Siri is the First Blade and commands his very life even after the fall of Namara. The culmination of Aral’s choice to serve is a brief but magically charged marital ceremony that leaves Aral with a wedding band made of shadow.

The journey to Sylvani is not easy for Aral. Faran, his apprentice, continues to suffer lingering side-effects from the near lethal battle she went through. Despite the incredible talents for healing of Harad and Shan, Faran still struggles to return to full health. The Durkoth appear again and McCullough spends some time filling in the history of the world Aral lives in. Zealot followers of a defeated and imprisoned God plague Aral’s journey and even the best efforts of the King of the Durkoth can’t provide perfect protection for Aral or others who are trying to help him.

Drawn Blades takes a while to get going. There are some interesting elements of the story that do a lot to fill in unknown areas in the world. McCullough still has a good handle on describing action-packed combat sequences and providing enough humor to keep the dialogue from growing stale. The best part of the book is the relationships that continue to mature. The long association between the different blades doesn’t age with telling, but grows more and more interesting. This was not the best story in the series because it took so long to get to where things mattered, but it was still a solid addition to the FALLEN BLADE series.


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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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4 comments

  1. “The culmination of Aral’s choice to serve is a brief but magically charged marital ceremony that leaves Aral with a wedding band made of shadow.”

    That just *sounds* so cool! I’ve never read this series but you are piquing my interest!

  2. I’m interested in trying his other series. It just came out on audio.

  3. I just started this one. Yes, the pantomime and shadow wedding ceremony was definitely interesting!

    Kat – the Webmage series? I liked the first one and haven’t had a chance to move on yet. Now I need to remember to get back to it.

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