Review of BLADES OF THE OLD EMPIRE by Anna KashinaAngry Robot, February 2014
Prince Kythar Dorn has a problem--he's got magical powers in a kingdom where those with magical powers are forbidden by their religion to hold the throne. Fortunately his father is supportive and intends to push through a law changing this ancient rule. Unfortunately the church, which is both powerful and heavily infested by the Kaddim, an ancient and evil brotherhood, will fight the change with all its force.
A change in the law will require consent from all of the ancient allies... including those who haven't gathered in hundreds of years since the fall of the old empire. And just bringing them together appears to be an impossible task. While the king sets out to browbeat the man who would become heir if Kythar is disqualified, Kythar himself is sent to bring in the more ancient allies. Along with Kythar goes Kara--a highly trained warrior and bodyguard with whom Kythar is in love. Also accompanying Kythar are a band of friends and foster siblings.
I confess it took me a while to get into this story. Kythar and his father appear to suffer from entitlement. Rather than arguing that the old law is evil, they appear to object to it purely for personal reasons--because they want Kythar as the heir. Kythar's love for Kara initially also seems a bit forced. As the story progressed, however, author Anna Kashina got into the groove, delivering fast-paced and exciting fantasy. I enjoyed the martial warriors with their sense of honor. The evil-infested church and the mysterious brotherhood made for a dangerous antagonist playing a deep game where they anticipate every move Kythar makes and remain one step ahead.
There's a lot going on behind the scenes in BLADES OF THE OLD EMPIRE. Kashina appears to have fully developed her history, and we get the hint that more ancient forces are waiting to be unveiled as the story progresses. I liked that at least some of the characters are motivated by greed and ambition rather than simply playing the role of good vs. evil.
Once I got into the story, I got caught up in the experience and had a hard time putting the book down.
Four StarsReviewed 6/04/14
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