Dark Blade by Steve Feasey is the start of a new YA fantasy series steeped in mythology. It’s a rollicking tale of good versus evil. The novel opens with an orphan boy with mysterious parentage, who discovers his mother was a witch. When his destiny becomes entwined with a magical malignant sword, we know we’re on solid fantasy ground. Dark Blade is old-school fantasy fiction with a modern flourish. It’s entertaining from start to finish.
Here are 5 Reasons why you should read it.
1. It’s The Belgariad Reborn.
During my teenage years, I loved the Belgariad by David Eddings. For years, Garion was my favorite hero. I read the books over and over, finishing all five in a few days and then return to the Pawn of Prophecy to start all over again.
Steve Feasey invokes the spirit of Eddings with Dark Blade. There are gods, a farm boy, witches, and a talking sword. The style and content channel Eddings too; engaging prose that demands to be read. The tone is darker than The Belgariad and things hot up much more quickly, as befits modern fantasy, but nevertheless, the hallmarks are there.
2. The Mythology.
I loved Dark Blade’s mythology. Which is ever-present and familiar, whilst remaining mysterious. The myths in the novel have a Celtic feel to them, but I think are entirely of the author’s invention. The novel is essentially a modern folk-tale. Tricky gods, double-edged pacts, and good and evil all feature in this novel. As do witches and Earth magic. The novel’s mythology provides a rich backdrop for the story, whilst simultaneously driving the action too.
3. The Characters.
Characterization wasn’t exactly Eddings strong point, but boy did I love his creations. The characters in Dark Blade are similar. There’s not much complexity to the players of this novel, but they all have their roles and fill them well. Feasey definitely makes the reader care about his creations. The growth of central character, Lann, is impressive, as is the descent of villain of the piece, Kelewulf.
4. Swords and Sorcery.
Classic fantasy! Who doesn’t love magical sword fights, with witches and warlocks channeling energy? Feasey wields his fantasy credentials with aplomb.
In part thanks to the excellence of the novel’s mythology, the settings in Dark Blade feel very real. Whether it be beleaguered kingdoms, fantastic gates into the Underworld, or a lowly cottage, the novel’s settings are rich and evocative. I particularly enjoyed the pastoral themes explored by the witch’s magic and the incursion of dark forces into a green and pleasant land. Not necessarily an original theme, but again, Feasey implements it with great skill.
Dark Blade is a glorious old-school fantasy filled with light and shadow. Its elegant mythology makes it an absorbing read as do its heroic characters. Whilst invoking the old masters of the genre, Steve Feasey has created something fresh and exciting. Dark Blade is a gripping read that heralds the start of a very exciting new series.
You can pick up a copy of Dark Blade, here in the US, and here, in the UK.
If you enjoyed this review, do check out my other 5 Reasons to Read posts.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.