Tuesday, January 25, 2022

#Review - Obsidian by Sarah J. Daley #Fantasy

Series: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Release Date: January 25, 2022
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fantasy / Epic

Shade Nox is the only witch in a land of wizards – a fiend, a rogue, a wanted criminal.

Defying those who think her an abomination, Shade wears her tattoos openly and carries obsidian blades at her hips. For years, she has protected the outcast clans who wander the blighted Wastes, but the land is growing more unstable and her blades are no longer enough.

To save her people, Shade vows to raise a Veil of protection – a feat not accomplished in over a hundred years. But the magical Veils are said to belong to the Brotherhood church; if she succeeds in raising one, it will expose their lies. They swear to see her obliterated first.

Treading a dangerous path where allies can be as deceitful as enemies, and where demons lurk in the shadows, Shade chases a vision which could lead to her people’s salvation… or her own destruction.

Sarah J. Daley’s Obsidian is the authors debut novel. The story introduces us to the island nation of Malavita, protected by the magically-erected “Veils”, separating its population from the demonic blight of the barren wastes. Malavita is ruled from afar by an Empire keen to exploit its rich natural resources, and by the corrupt Brotherhood of blood magicians, the Capomagi, and others. The story is set in the aftermath of a magical war where humans are now trying to survive under the rule of an Imperial overlord.

The story opens by introducing readers to Captain Raiden Mad, an Imperial Emissary with diplomatic protection, who has been sent to the City of Sicaria to negotiate terms with Prince Dante Safire, the last scion of an ancient line. Raiden is the former Commander of the Imperial Guard, the seventh son of Emperor Suijn, sent to explore the possibility of erecting a new Veil with the help of a local prince and an outlaw witch. Enter the notorious Shade Nox who has an Imperial warrant for murder, and treason.

Shade Nox, the infamous Black Witch, is a blood magic user who wields obsidian blades. Obsidian is born from the fires of the earth, suddenly, violently compared to the stronger gemstones. The blade grants the wielder great power. She's able to touch all hidden elements of magic which scares people. She's the orphaned daughter of a former Brotherhood bishop who was abandoned in the wastes and found by Dante. Shade is an anomaly in that she has tattoos covering her body that makes her damn near indestructible.  

Shade lives in the Wastes protected by Veils. She is trying to save her people from a darkness that is spreading across the land and will do anything it takes to save them. Shade believes she can raise a powerful Veil, but the Brotherhood, Capomaji, and Corsoro want her dead. Especially one Bishop Raphael who has sent his Ruby Pontifex after her time and time again. Raiden, interestingly enough, may have more depth that first thought. He's able to stand his ground against deadly assassins, and stand up when magic is used against him. He becomes a valuable ally alongside of Dante, Matteo, Angelo, Cyril, Manoli, and Petra.

There are some sex scenes, but nothing graphic. Shade has multiple lovers in the book and none of it seems to be on the serious side. The plot takes some twists and turns, which kept me engaged, and the pace felt steady without being too rushed. Even though this is sold as a standalone, there is plenty of room for additional stories within this world. Especially with the antics of Raphael and his brotherhood and how they will deal with Shade.

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