Monday, June 11, 2018

#Review - Nightblade's Honor by Ryan Kirk #Epic #Fantasy

Series: Blades of the Fallen # 2
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: 47North
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Fantasy / Epic

In the riveting sequel to Nightblade’s Vengeance, the nightblades must choose a side, and the Kingdom will either rise again…or shatter into pieces.

With the realm on the brink of war, the once-celebrated blades have become an easy target for the rage of its devastated citizens. The nightblade warrior Asa’s lifelong quest for vengeance is over, but now she finds herself on the run from the people she sought to protect. As Asa forges a new course of action in an uncertain world, her path crosses with that of a young noblewoman.

Mari knows that great opportunity lies in the heart of chaos. If the Kingdom is to rise again, Mari will need support, and she can think of no group better than the nightblades. But the nightblades have been betrayed before, and gaining their trust will not be easy.

Mari wants to save the Kingdom. Asa wants to save the people. Both are willing to risk everything. But do their quests make them allies…or enemies?

Nightblade's Honor is the second installment in author Ryan Kirk's Blades of the Fallen series. Per the publisher, Blades of the Fallen is actually the prequel to the author's Nightblade series which I have not read, nor do I feel it necessary to do so in order to enjoy the first two novels in this series. Set in a world that I've compared to being feudal Japan, powerful Nightblade's (who I've been calling Samurai), and Lords (who I've been calling Daimyo) play a dangerous game to see who will reign supreme and lead the Kingdom. 

The series, mostly, focuses on a group known as Nightblades. Nightblades can feel what others can't see. We won't call it the force folks. The author calls it Sense. Nightblades tend to be able to sense events at a distance, or they can predict an opponent's next movement, or they can walk into a village without being seen. Blades are almost mystic in their status. Nightblades are supposed to keep the peace, but history has a tendency of repeating itself over and over again because humans never learn from their mistakes. 

The story is actually told through the eyes of three very distinct characters. One of the three main characters is Asa, a fierce, young nightblade warrior who spent a decade in pursuit of the enigmatic general who killed her father in a violent revolt in a place called Two Falls. Having found the man responsible, Asa's life has taken a whole new twist. She wanders through the wilderness not knowing what she will do next. What does she do now, especially with a Kingdom in chaos, and a new leader who loathes Nightblade's? 

The second meaningful character is Koji who readers met in the first book. Koji is one of the youngest Nightblades and is a powerful character who has the infinity for combat not shown by any other Nightblades. He is really in a league all his own having already satisfied his own personal vendetta in the previous installment. With Nightblades being blamed for the destruction of the Haven, Koji is a wanted man. Because of his actions, Blades are being hunted relentlessly. Now that everyone appears to hate Blades, what will he do now?  

The final character is the most interesting. Mari is a noblewoman from House Kita whose brother Juro who was killed by a Nightblade. With the rise of a King who has no real claim on the crown, Mari knows all too well that a violent and deadly civil war is close at hand. She knows that the only hope for the Kingdom are the men and women known as Nightblades and Dayblades. She hopes that by going directly to the source, she can put together her own army to stand for the innocents who will be killed in any war. However,  Blades being killed, and being blamed for the Kingdom's problems, her search for peace may lie with two very different Blades who are searching for their own paths.

I have seen reviews where this is apparently the sequel to the series which really doesn't make me happy. Why, you ask? Because there's so much left do do. There's no way I am going to be happy with an open ended ending when I have plenty of questions as to the next step for these characters. Especially Asa and Koji. I have seen others that have hoped that there will be a sequel. Well, I am among those who believes Kirk should write a legitimate sequel. Just like he did to the Nightblade series.

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