Ryuu is a boy orphaned by violence at a young age. Found by a wandering warrior, he learns he may have more strength than he ever imagined possible.
A quiet child, Moriko is forced into a monastic system she despises. Torn from her family and the forest she grew up in, she must fight to learn the skills she'll need to survive her tutelage under the realm's most dangerous assassin.
Young, beautiful, and broke, Takako is sold to pay for her father's debts. Thrust into a world she doesn't understand and battles she didn't ask for, she must decide where her loyalties lie.
When their lives crash together in a kingdom on the brink of war, the decisions they make will change both their lives and their kingdom forever.
If they can stay alive.
©2015 Ryan Kirk (P)2015 Ryan Kirk
Nightblade represents a whole year spent taking chances on books I’ve never heard of, all with the hopes of finding new authors and hidden gems. Some didn’t turn out that way but most turned out to be excellent and fun choices. Nightblade is truly one of those gems.
Instead of your run of the mill, European based fantasy we are treated to a world with Japanese/Chinese parallels with a very rich history. The land is split into three main Kingdoms, with other nations surrounding that, and each has a tenuous and fragile peace with the other. But our story takes place on a smaller more personal scale. Ryuu isn’t tasked with changing the world or bringing peace to a set of kingdoms, instead he us simply trying to live a life where he can use his strength to protect those without choice or means of doing so themselves…which is refreshing after reading so many books where the main character sets out to utterly dismantle the status quo. I think that difference really brings the raw emotion of the experiences he goes through to the forefront. The kingdom itself is oddly beautiful despite it’s issues and the author’s skill with building worlds is fairly apparent. I could see the busy streets of the city, and the shadow streets of the red lit road where men go for companionship, I could easily picture the old forest and stone paved courtyard of the monasteries. One can go a long time without experiencing world building on a scale where everything becomes an actual sensory memory, as opposed to just a plot line, and I never realize how starved I am until I find one.
Ryuu is definitely a fantastic character to follow, as is Moriko and Takako…who all come together in different ways. Each of them shares the loss of their family and the chance of a normal life but the way the view the world is different. Ryuu is headstrong and curious, and he wants to help others no matter what and most of the story centers around each consequence of his actions and the weight it puts on a single person. While he is skilled and hardened in many ways in some others he is a bit naive, which joins nicely with Takako’s loving personality and her knowledge of what the world is really like.
Nightblade is definitely a highlight to this year’s books, and I’m glad I took a chance on it when I did.
I've been into epic fantasy, sci-fi and everything in between since I first read The Lord of the Rings. I also love detective novels.
I don't! I found the characters very formulaic and I had a stacato Manga film running in my head as I listened to it. Personally I found it lacked innovation, I didn't care about the characters particularly either. It felt like it was written for 12 year olds boys and maybe it was, am then definitely not it's target audience.
The reader was OK.
I enjoyed the book but the writing needed a bit more editing and the narrator sounded like he was half asleep. I don't regret buying it though.
First thing, this is an adult fantasy. While not grimdark, it is more oriented to adults, with violence, rape and other adult themes. That being said, those parts are organic to the story, not gratuitous. There are 3 different storylines following 3 different characters, who proceed through a series of tragedies in their lives that shape their futures. Ryuu watches his parents murder at the hand of bandits, and is rescued by a warrior passing by, who happens to be a banned Nightblade, kind of a magic using warrior/assassin. He decides to train Ryuu, who he senses has a lot of power. Ryuu spends years training with his master, building mastery of his skills, all while avoiding the monks who convert or kill all Sense (the magic) users.Moriko is taken by the monks as a child, to be raised in a monastary, with harsh discipline and an austere life. She is physically abused, as are all the novices, and trainined to use her power to sense magic users. Her magic is differnt, though, being more like Ryuu's. She is then trained by an assassin to use the power offensively. Takako is sold by her father to a brothel to pay for his debts. She is groomed for years for the part, but a General has plans that include her being a consort for his son that derail her plans. The crossing of Ryuu and Takako sets off a chain of events That will change everything, and when Moriko crosses thir path, you can feel the strings of fate shifting.
The plot is fast moving after the initial introductions, with a lot of action and some well drawn out fight scenes. The magic is fresh and fairly original, without being too overwhelming. The setting, the Three Kindoms, is somewhat underdrawn as far as the Northern and Western kingdoms, but the Southern Kingdom is well described. This is just a minor thing. The characters are a real strength, being interesting and engaging, if not always likable. The villains are well drawn out, with realistic motivations for their actions. Andrew Tell, who I had never heard previously, does a great job narrating, really differntiating the characters and bringing the story to life. Any fan of Anthony Ryan.s Blood Song books should enjoy this book.
I was given a review copy of this book by the narrator at no cost in return for an honest review through Audiobookblast dot com.
The reading is too monotone, because of that the voices for the characters seem out of place. That makes it had to connect with the characters. There are also a few contradictions in the book that are annoying when they pop up.
With all of the positive reviews I was expecting a lot more out of this book.
The narration struck me first. The narrator is emotionless and robotic. The times that he does try to put an emotional inflection to the dialog the result is often the opposite of what the book explicitly states as the manor or emotion the character is experiencing. Long pauses when switching between the speech of characters gives it the feel of badly dubbed old anime.
The dialog is so full of cliches that it become painful.
It author tries to create layers to the characters' personalities, but I believe he fails. The emotions or thoughts that he writes a charter is feeling is often contradicted by their immediate actions without any justification or explanation for the change.
I would not recommend this book.
This is my first Ryan Kirk novel and there is no denying that he is a gifted writer. The story revolves around 3 orphaned or abandoned children forced to survive in a country run by a ruler versed in the tactics of realpolitik war preparation, willing to sacrifice the few for the promise of the many, ignorant or unwilling to reign in his arrogant and brutal commanding general. The story unfolds with three separate story arcs, one for each of the children who, unbeknownst to them, are destined to converge in the future.
I'm conflicted on how I feel about this novel. It is a powerful and often poignant illustration of parental death, betrayal and fear inflicting unimaginable hardships on pre-adolescent children and how each of them struggle to overcome them. It is also one of the most chilling accounts of the adage, "no good deed goes unpunished" as well as a saddening narration of a truly innocent and optimistic soul being victimized, brutalized and tortured through no fault of their own.
I fault the book on two areas. One, the brutality and torture of the two female protagonists. I felt the author went over the top with his decision to focus on the depiction of the cruelty and disfigurement unleashed on them. Two, the author's decision to depict the avenging flawed Nightblade, Orochi, as someone noble was troubling. His flimsy excuse for allowing the brutal torture of an innocent when he could very easily have prevented it scoured away any vestige I would have of ever giving him any "noble" consideration.
The narrator starting out slow and in somewhat of a didactic manner was a bit unnerving but after awhile this style became less of an issue as the story started gain steam.
I have decided to continue on with Book 2 based mostly on the author's talented writing skills and my hope that his over-indulgence of sadistic torture is over.
I have no idea where all the positive reviews came from for this book. It really sounds like a rough draft of a book and not a finished product. The narrative is relentlessly third person with very little dialog making it very hard the get to know or empathize with the characters. The author tells rather then shows. A large number of the characters and places don't even have names just 'the merchant' or 'the butcher'. Same with place names. All in all its a very 2 dimensional world with almost no color or detail. A few of the characters have vaguely Japanese names but the places do not, and the culture, what we see of it does not resemble anything recognizeably Japanese.
The story itself is ok but nothing terribly original or unexpected. Overall very disappointing.
The entire thing.
No. He is wonderful!
This book was fantastic! It was everything I could have hoped for. This was one of the best stories I have read in the past couple years. I have no complaints other than there being no sequel... YET.
This was fan-feaking-tastic!! I didn't just read this, I devoured it. Everything about it was phenomenal, but non more so than the character building. Every character in this was extremely well written and developed.
We have Ryuu, a boy who saw his parents being killed and who was rescued by a mysterious man. This warrior is a Nightbade. Ryuu had heard that the Nightbades were the enemy but the man who rescues him, is anything but. He is kind, honest and wise. He passes on as much as he can to Ryuu and thus changes the boys life.
We have Moriko. She is taken from her family by the monks, whom she despises, and taken to the monastery. There she is trained to use the powers they sense in her, but with her inquisitive nature, she doesn't follow direction good, and she hates the way the monks treat her, and other people. She is sentenced to death, but ends up training with the assassin the monastery use. She soon realises that this assassin, is in fact a Nightblade, and she might just have their powers too.
Lastly, we have Takako. Her father sells her to a Madame at a young age, and she captures the attention of an important man. He wants her for his sons consort but Takako soon realises that the boy isn't a nice person. How can she escape this life that has been forced on her.
3 different people, 3 different lives, but when they all collide, their lives are changed forever.
As I said. The characters in this were amazing. The character growth was practicably amazing. Poor Ryuu learns that his actions have consequence, sometimes deadly! Moriko learns that what you are told, isn't ways the truth. That you have to trust your instincts and do what's right, even if it hurts. And Takako learns that life is hard. One mistake is all it takes.
Another plus with this is the world building. The lore behind the magic and the Nightblades was amazing.The descriptive way the author writes the world, makes it impossible not to be drawn in. The writing just grabs you and weaves the story around you. It really is amazing!
In all, this was an amazing read and one I can't recommend enough. The authors writing was phenomenal, the characters made you love them and the whole story will devour you. I listened to this over 2 days and had a hard time unplugging from it. I need book 2 to come to audio ASAP.
Andrew Tell was amazing. He gave each character their own voice and really brought the story to life. He brought the heartache and sadness that each one experienced expertly to life and really gave his performance his all.
*I received a copy of this for review. This in no way affects my thoughts.*
"Brilliant. Skip reading and start listening!!!!"
Top 10 for me. I loved it. Real characters. Well written. Entertaining story and not too predictable but not mad either.
Think of your favourite books in the fantasy genre and this sits among them. If you've jot tried it jump in and have s Ho. You will not be disappointed.
Ryuu. Think of a boy with gifts and a sense of responsibility growing up in feudal Japan with w great fantasy twist. Brilliant.
Deep well paced character development throughout the book made this a must read from start to finish. Really good!!
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com
"amazing story loved everything moment of it"
a really good book, I'm not hooked and must read the next one now :)
"slow to start, but brilliant.got me in"
only if like minded
Didnt like it for the first 30mins but then I couldn't let it go
"well drawn charecters"
this is a really good charecter driven book. Which gives the story a well rounded feel.
it is really hard to choose, all of the main charecters have something going for them.
I enjoyed the prologue, i felt it set up the atmosphere and direction of the book really well
Couldn't put this one down (narration was effective too). I'm going to start book two straight away as I've enjoyed this one so much. .
The story was weak but might have been improved with a better narrator. Shame really.
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