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Publisher's Summary

The sequel to Alex Marshall's A Crown for Cold Silver, an outstanding, game-changing epic adventure featuring an unforgettable warrior.

After 500 years, the Sunken Kingdom has returned and brought with it a monstrous secret that threatens to destroy every country on the Star.

As an inhuman army gathers on its shores, poised to invade the Immaculate Isles, the members of the Cobalt Company face an ugly choice: abandon their dreams of glory and vengeance to combat a menace from another realm or pursue their ambitions and hope the Star is still there when the smoke clears.

Five villains. One legendary general. A battle for survival.

©2016 Alex Marshall (P)2016 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about A Blade of Black Steel

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Plot Twist At The End Almost Ruined Book

After listening to the first book of the Crimson Empire series and enjoying it, I moved on to A Blade of Black Steel. I mentioned in my review of A Crown for Cold Silver that the book had some strange characters and some themes that some may not be comfortable with, but that there were no overt scenes that should stop someone for listening. Much of the plot and themes seemed to be added by the author to differentiate his world or add some shock value for interest. This second book continues in that direction for most of the book and I was enjoying the series very much.

(Possible spoiler) Near the end of this book a plot twist happens that seems contrived, and it kind of spoiled the remaining portion of the book for me. Two main characters, who had at this point through one and three quarters books had been men who were heterosexual fighting for the love of one woman, suddenly decide to stop competing with each other and begin making out with each other instead. As if this is not enough, one of the character's mother enters the story, and it turns out that his mother is actually a man who identifies as a woman, and that his father is a woman who identifies as a man. The mother wonders if her son's sudden taste for another man is due to remembering a fondness for breast feeding from his father. It all comes off as ridiculous and some sort of contrived attempt by the author to add every kind of politically correct LGBTQ possibility he could come up with. It's like watching any current movie or tv series where every storyline has to have a mixed race couple, a gay best friend of the wife, and friends consisting of one muslim woman, one asian man, and a nerdy white guy. It just didn't mesh with the story.

Overall, I have now invested listening time for two books, and other than the nonsensical ending of book two, I have enjoyed the series. The narration from Angele Masters is perfect for this book. I will continue on and hope PC plot twists will remain at a minimum and not disrupt my listen to much.

2 people found this helpful

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well-paced, funny, and entertaining fantasy

Yes! For a fantasy reader in his 40s that rarely ever comes across gay/bi heroes in fiction, it's so exciting to read an author who creates a world with gender and sexual fluidity. It's fun to finally see yourself in characters. After awhile, no matter how great the story, it becomes tedious always reading about stereotypical hetero males. The characters are as funny and memorable as Abercrombie's books. At first I was surprised by the drug use in the book, since you don't see it often in fantasy literature, but it became charming, like magic potions or herbal remedies from AD&D games.

1 person found this helpful

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If you are not into Gay &Lesbian Fantasy- SaveUR$

I truly Do Not Appreciate Audible placing "Gay & Lesbian" book into the Sci Fi/Fantasy Category without WARNING their LONGTIME CUSTOMERS about the content!

I've had to return multiple books that I get tricked into thinking are going to actually be worth listening to.
Chapters begin with women on women & men on men mugging down on each other.
I've had to Skip at least 5 different chapters in this Book alone just so I don't have to get sick from listening to homosexual encounters over & over!
I guess this author thought they'd begin pushing their disgusting agenda only once they'd pulled you into the story?

If I'd been TOLD before I'd wasted My Money on this author about this content I'd have not used up a credit or purchased the other books in the past.

Also, this book included;
1st- Men having Babies?
2nd - Women being referred to as Him/His/He?
3rd- Women sporting Moustaches like men?
4th - A "Princess" has a boyfriend, but then she meets another boy she's interested in. The princesses first boyfriend begins having sex with the new boyfriend...wth?
5th- 2 Queens, one old and one younger, when the older one decides that this younger queen is kind of cute & the details are just not what I expected when I purchased ALL 3 BOOKS IN THIS SERIES!
I'D LIKE TO LET THE AUTHOR KNOW THAT YES, I'VE BEEN FOOLED THIS TIME, BUT NEVER EVER AGAIN!

I'm not a religious person. I'm just a plain old heterosexual woman who doesn't like being TRICKED into buying books or having Audible's or this Author's Liberal Gay & Lesbian Agenda FORCED ON TO HER!
I TRY TO BE AN HONEST CUSTOMER & EXPECT THE SAME FROM THE COMPANIES I'VE SUPPORTED SINCE 2011 & 2013!
I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS STUFF! HONESTLY!

1 person found this helpful

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this is the new best author I've heard in years!

I have >600 books in my library. 75% fantasy 25% mystery/thriller. This is TOTALLY original.

1 person found this helpful

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Some of the best grimdark out there.

I read this book because I ran out of Abercrombie's First Law World to read, and it did not disappoint. If you like Abercrombie's style but want to see it done with a few twists, read this series. if you don't know who Abercrombie is, read First Law Trilogy and then read this series.
Alex Marshall is a master of dramatic irony, ultraviolence, and the complexities of human behavior. This series has some of the best characters and relationships in epic fantasy, even if most of them are totally irredeemable scumbag, drug addicts, and murderers.
Chock full of washed up old villains trying to do wrong right, a system of creepy ass devil magic, an ecosystem of insects and arachnids that get you high if they don't kill you, and a grim cynical political economy that demonstrates how religious institutions sometimes get wrong even what they get right, this series is a bittersweet, fun, trope-defying heartbreak from start to finish.

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Just as good as the first, can't wait for the next

the story great and the connection the characters make with one another is so captivating.

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Tran-tasy action comedy!

Gender bending madness just adds another level of bizarre to a fantastic sword and sorcery production. It's also hilarious.

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Best book this year

I am amazed that this series has not had more acclaim. it is one of the best gritty fantasy books I have read. Plus it is absolutely hilarious, I'm a very dark way. I f you like Joe Abercrombie you will LOVE this series

3 people found this helpful