ARC Review: Redemption’s Blade

Hello people! How are you? Are you reading some great books? What’s sure it’s that I am! Yay! And today I want to talk about one of them. In June I read a lot of ARCs (a lot for my standard anyway) and I had a lot of luck because so far they were all good and some were amazing! Like this one… so let’s start!

Thanks to NetGalley and to the editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: Redemption’s Blade
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication Date: July 26th, 2018
Page Count: 520

Ten years ago, the renegade demigod known as the Kinslayer returned. His armies of monsters issued from the pits of the earth, spearheaded by his brutal Yorughan soldiers. He won every battle, leaving burnt earth and corruption behind. Thrones toppled and cities fell as he drove all before him. And then he died. A handful of lucky heroes and some traitors amongst his own, and the great Kinslayer was no more.

Celestaine was one such hero and now she has tasked herself to correct the worst excesses of the Kinslayer and bring light back to her torn-up world. With two Yorughan companions she faces fanatics, war criminals and the monsters and minions the Kinslayer left behind as the fragile alliances of the war break down into feuding, greed and mistrust.

The Kinslayer may be gone, but he cast a long shadow she may never truly escape.

I was hoping to read something by this author from some time, now. I heard good things about his books and he writes fantasy, not only them but most of his books are of this genre, so, obviously I wanted to try them! And when I saw this title on NetGalley I had to request it. I know that I said that I would have tried to not add new requests, but come on! I’m justified, right?
Anyway… I requested it and they approved me! I was so so glad! And so I had to go and start it as soon as possible, and now here I am with the review! I’m doing a little happy dance right now!

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, to be honest, but I was expecting something nonetheless, because of what I read around about the author. Well, let me tell you that this book exceeded my expectations! And it wasn’t just for the characters, even if we have a good cast of them, mixed and original and well developed, and it wasn’t either for the world-building, even if it’s full of new species and cultures and things, and it wasn’t for the story, even if it’s fast-paced and interesting. All these things were great, mind me, but I loved this book for its ideas.

What happened when the bad guy is defeated and the good guy won the day?

This is the starting point of the story, and we see a world that has won the war and now it has the peace all wanted so much, a world that has defied his enemies, yes, but it paid a dire cost to do so.
The alliances formed during the war are a tenuous thing and mistrust and greed are everywhere, now that cohesion is not needed anymore. The economy is at waste, the war took her toll in lives, in destruction to the cities, with all the things that this destruction implies: the destruction of buildings, yes, but also a stop to the commerce and to the production of goods. The cities are devasted and need rebuilding. Societies (all the different races, kingdoms and empires, religions and so on, so on…) now have to deal with the past and choose what would they do with their present. It’s not just about building, but about people, too. They need a new identity, and it’s not just the identity of the single person, but the identity of all the societies, small or big. Every city, state, empire, every race, every religion. Everything now needs to choose his present and his future.
To be honest, this book could have been a sociological fantasy essay, for his deepness while speaking about all this.
And I loved the way in which we can see the different cities and groups of people deal with a new, painful, reality because even if the war is won it’s not done.

And what happened to the heroes, once they kill the bad guy?

This is another of the important questions that we can find between those pages. More often than not, books end when the good win over the evil, and more or less, we have a happy ending for everyone (not always, that’s true, but you get what I am meaning, right?). We don’t see how the cities rebuild themselves, how the people adapt to the new life and we don’t see what is of the heroes once they’re not needed anymore.
Celestaine, the MC, is a hero, albeit reluctantly. She was part of the group who killed the Kinslayer (yep, the bad guy) and everyone acclaimed her as a hero, with songs and ballads for her feats. But she thinks herself a fraud, not a hero. For every battle won there was one lost. For every life she saved there was someone that she left behind or that she killed. Even if the world saw her as a paladin, she doesn’t think so well of herself. And she tries to atone, starting a new adventure to try and bring back the light to this world where shadows and darkness are everywhere. To try and do something good and to, at least, see herself as a real hero.
But now the people don’t know what to do with her, she’s not needed anymore. The authorities watch her with suspect and don’t want her around. We have the quest to find a new purpose, a new identity and to be, at last, satisfied with ourselves.

And what happened to the minions and to the loyalist of the bad guy? And to the race that he created during the war?

This is another question that we don’t find often in the books. But it’s a really interesting one! And in this book is central to the story. We see how people treat the others, the former enemies. And that’s what really shows us as not all in the world is always black or white, but that in the end the life it’s all made of greys, and we have a ton of different greys.

This is what really made the difference for me. All these questions, all these considerations made the reading a great one!
I’ve said before that the world-building is good. The author creates a lot of different species for his book, and they all are original and well done. We have a lot of fantastic creatures who live there, and all of them fascinated me. They are all tragic, the lot of them, but there is hope, at least for almost all of them, and that’s what matters in the end. I really can’t say that this author is unoriginal!
And then we have the characters. We have Celestaine, Heno and Nem, two Yorughan (and that’s a great thing because Yorughans were the most feared and hated during the war, because they were the attacking force, the most brutal and vicious on the battlefield. So they really were “the enemy”.) and yet Celestaine brings them along, trying to do the right thing, always. And then we have Ralas, the bard, Catt and Fisher, and this pair is really fantastic, and Kul, a prince of one of the races that suffered more during the war. This last one is the one who I liked less. It’s not a bad character, but he’s the less developed, and I’d liked to see something more about him. I didn’t click with him.
And I liked the writing, too, with a humor which makes the reading all more pleasant.

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Wow, that was a really long review! Sorry about that!
Did you read this book? Have you read something else by the same author? do you have some pieces of advice on which one to read next?

Happy reading!
S.

20 thoughts on “ARC Review: Redemption’s Blade

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I’m glad you finally had a chance to read Tchaikovsky’s work! I haven’t read anything by him yet; I like to only read completed series and stand alones. O_o

    This sounds like a wonderful concept. Worldbuilding is so critical for a first book in a series to be catching. It sounds like the philosophical ideas really made the book shine, however! Is there a cliff-hanger? Do you want the next book RIGHT NOW? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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