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Broken Blade (Fallen Blade #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,764 ratings  ·  115 reviews

Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer fought for justice and his goddess alongside his familiar, a living shadow called Triss. Now with their goddess murdered and her temple destroyed, they are among the last of their kind. Surviving on the fringes of society, Aral becomes a drunken, broken, and wanted man, working whatever shadowy deal comes his way. Until a myst

ebook, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Ace Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dec 31, 2012 Carol. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans looking for a fast read
I discovered Kelly McCullough's WebMage series a few years ago and found his unique interpretation of computers and mythology fascinating. With Broken Blade, the first book in a published trilogy, he has branched out into a more traditional assassin fantasy. Alas, while McCullough does bring inspired character development to a rather traditional story, I found it paled in comparison to the WebMage series.

Broken Blade opens in a tavern, where a former religious master is struggling with the loss
Eon (Windrunner)
A great book that I am surprised not to see on more TBR lists.
Only 300 pages long, but packed with action, fun characters, cool ideas and a solid story.

“Are you the jack?” she asked when she reached my table. She leaned down toward me as she spoke, silhouetting herself against the only light in the room—a dim and badly scarred magelight chandelier.
“I’m a jack, and open to hire if you’re looking for one.” A jack of shadows, the underworld’s all-purpose freelancer—how very far I’d fallen from the
I can't say this was amazing, but it was damn close to five stars for me. I had a lot of fun with this story, and I cant wait to read book two to see how Aral grows.
I really enjoyed this one--sorta-gritty fantasy but without the nihilism or the misogyny that makes so much of the genre so grim. This one has memorable characters, and terrific strong female characters. It's a quick read and lots of fantasy fun. I immediately read the sequel and pre-ordered the third book.
JJ DeBenedictis
In the end, this was a fun little book, but it has its flaws. There is an awful lot of "telling" in it, and I found the protagonist and his sidekick a bit too likeable (adorable, in the latter case) to buy them as ruthless killers. That's not necessarily a bad thing, right? Likeable characters? But it did cut into my ability to suspend disbelief.

The action in the middle-to-latter-half of the book is what makes this novel worth reading. There, the story gets pretty enjoyable. In contrast, I found
Kari Chapman
This was a very good book. The concept isn't entirely original - a former assassin for justice (in this case, for a goddess of justice), finds themselves no longer within the organization that raised them and trained them and guided them. In this case, due to the goddess herself being killed, and her priesthood disbanded. Left to loose ended Aral isn't sure what to do with himself, and falls to drink and petty thuggery.

The main character is interesting. I enjoyed the back and forth between him
Liked this, didn't love it. Angsty passages aside, there's enough action to carry the tale and to compensate for the fact that though there are several female characters in the cast they're all the same warrior amazon type. I wasn't particularly convinced by either Aral's alcoholism or his internal agonies over having to take charge of his own decisions/life rather than subordinating them to a goddess or other authority figure (though that last bit is a nice touch...just seemed a bit overdone, a ...more
Five years after Namara, goddess of justice was killed, her temple destroyed and her followers scattered to live out their final days in shadowed exile, Aral is but a shell of his former self. Once known as Aral Kingslayer, he and Triss, a dragon familiar bound to his own shadow now make a living performing the duties of the shadow jack, a go-to guy if you want no questions asked. Aral, however, cannot help but ask questions when a young woman seeks him out and offers far more gold than the simp ...more
I went into this book basically unaware of the premise and with no prior knowledge of the author (who I thought was a chick.) Actually, I don't know what originally led me to put this in my to-read category. And after reading it, I still don't know.

The first few pages intrigued me enough to keep me reading, but honestly, after that it was a steady progression toward dullness. One of the faults, I believe, was the narrative. The first few pages were rather clear even while hinting at unknowns, la
The detailed setting and little descriptive touches were really enjoyable. I was less fond of the protagonist, though I loved his shadow familiar. The romance angle was limp enough to take me right out of the story, it would have been more believable (and more refreshing) to have kept characters with so little chemistry as friends.

Those issues aside, I wanted to like the book better than I did. The pacing just kept throwing me off. A multiple-chapter flashback struck just as things were getting
Paul Weimer
A reread for "comfort", but one that I sorely needed, especially since I wanted to refamiliarize myself with Aral and Triss in preparation of reading the newest Blades novel.
I really enjoyed this book enough to start the next one. I have very little time to read a book these days so I tend to go audio but this one wasn't available. I grabbed it at the library and couldn't put it down.

Aral Kingslayer is a mage in a world where mage-life is dependent upon a familiar. That's where it get's interesting. Tris is Aral's familiar and he is a living shadow that appears as a dragon. The two are the last of a religion with a dead goddess. Their goddess called them Blades and
Lee Dunning
In some ways it's unfortunate that this is the book I read after 'Half the World'. Joe Abercrombie is probably my favorite author these days, and anything coming after one of his books is going to look anemic by comparison. As such, consider the three stars I gave this book as something closer to three and a half.

I liked several things in 'Broken Blade', especially the bonded familiars from the lands of shadow. Triss, a dragon-shaped shadow adds a lot to the story. I would have liked to know mor
Fun pulp fantasy reading. Thumbs up.
The blade of the title is not a sword; it's a man. Aral Kingslayer was once an assassin-monk in the service of the goddess Namara, called the Blade of Namara. But Namara is dead and Aral now turns his skills to smuggling, theft and heavy drinking. His companion is Triss, his shadow, a shape-changing familiar whose true form is dragon-like. Triss worries about Aral, and his drinking, and his diminishing skills.

Then Aral is hired by a beautiful woman in an ill-fitting red dress, and the job doesn'
This will be a short review.

This book has some real potential. Sadly, neither the writing style nor the characters really captured me. Honestly, the style of the book seemed to be that of a 16 year old writing about his favorite D&D character replete with unnecessary repetitions.

The main protagonist is pretty much a drunken bad-ass with a hen-pecking familiar. It felt like the bad-ass often escaped from near certain doom thanks to luck or convenient timing.

The romantic relationship in the b
Karina Rapp
These characters will stay with me for years to come. McCullough has created a world of well-defined rules--for magic, political negotiations, and religion--that has become indelibly imprinted on my brain. I LOVE the relationship between Aral and Triss; their closeness is fiercely loyal, tender, and affectionate…I've seen very few characters truly bonded so convincingly from the very beginning. Their banter and mutual support really fills out the story; without Triss, this could easily be just a ...more
Apr 07, 2015 Angela marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
7 April 2015: $1.99 on Kindle
first book in this new series by K. MacCullough. Strong plot, good characters (deep, worked, complicated) and a rich fantasy universe. I will read the sequels for sure.
Very entertaining city-based romp with a likeable first person protag and his shadow sidekick.
This was pretty great, overall. I always like stories about assassin's and thieves and stuff, as well as "fallen on hard times but redemption cometh". And this hits both spots. The overall magic system regarding the Blades and Shades symbiosis is preeeety neat, and I'd love a novel set back when the Goddess was alive and the order was at the peak of it's power.

Overall the plot was semi predictable, but still enjoyable. The characters were well written, and felt more real than not. Kind of just b
Rosalind M
3.5 stars. A rich premise of a fallen hero given a chance to reclaim some of his self-respect, but the story got bogged down by overlong flashbacks and too many options examined in too much detail. The romance was more of an abrupt "We might just die, so let's have some fun first!" choice than the development of true affection; nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't lead to the kind of devotion that McCullough seemed to be aiming for. Also, the the thought of intimate scenes when soaked in sewe ...more
What can I say? I liked it. I liked the whole series. It was different.

It was basically a cross between your typical assassin fantasy genre but with some Chinese mysticism thrown in. This book is more about a flawed hero taking on the darkness even though he knows he might fail. Some things just have to be done.

The lead character is flawed and his faith has been broken. His only friend is his own shadow. Part of a disgraced group of 'good' assassin's, he has fallen on some hard times. Oh how the
BROKEN BLADE, the first in McCullough's new fantasy series "Fallen Blade", seemed to me the perfect answer to my assassin/thief/fantasy blues. I haven't really found anything to replace Brent Week's "Night Angel" trilogy yet, and this sounded perfect. Fallen Goddess, assassin on the run, complex fantasy society--seemed to fit the bill.

In some ways it was diverting and intriguing, but the problem was more in the execution. McCullough relies a bit too much on coincidence and unspoken rules. He doe
3.5 stars. Started off well, but I lost interest by the end.

Aral is a former lawful-good (from his perspective) assassin/executioner. After his goddess is killed he descends into alcoholism to cope and petty crime to stay alive. When an old friend-turned-enemy reappears in his life, Aral realizes how adrift he's become from the person he once was. I like watching characters grow and change based on the choices they make and the consequences of those choices, and there's plenty of that with Aral.
I read a lot of books, but I don't buy many of them. Mostly, I check them out from the library, and if the library doesn't have a copy, I buy my own or do without. It was with some hesitation that I bought Broken Blade. The summary sounded intersting, but the sample chapter on Amazon didn't make my hand reach for my wallet. Nonetheless, I bought it. Was I disappointed? Maybe a little. See, this book had the potential to be knock-your-socks off awesome--and didn't quite make it. Here's the breakd ...more
I at first was a bit apprehensive on how much of a dnd feel' this had but the further along with the book and the character development I thought it was actually very well paced,good characters and very interesting magic system that has so much more to be explored... wait on further contemplation I feel it was almost left up to me as the reader to explore the magic system how I wanted to, as it was Not overused that you sometimes feel in certain books and left me wandering around thinking about ...more
Laura Ownbey
The quick and dirty:
Rating: 4 stars
Premise: Aral, one of the last of an order of assassins for Namara, the goddess of divine justice, is living in the bottom of a bottle with a price on his head when he gets offered a seemingly simple delivery job. He runs into a former friend and a new enemy, both of whom should have him running from the city where he earned the name of Kingslayer. Instead, with the help of his familiar and a client in need of justice, he tries to right a wrong in the way he us
Tricky, this one. It didn't really do anything wrong, but damned if it really did much great. There's lots of interesting stuff about the world, but it never really delves into it deeply enough, and there's a faint sense that the world is sort of Asian-inspired without ever actually showing us enough to pull it out of generic-urban-world-fantasy description.

It's that sort of thief-hero fantasy noir - except Aral's dead dame is a goddess, so clearly he trumps your man-pain and he's actually a rog
I loved McCullough's WebMage series, so I was very happy to hear about this new series when WebMage ended. I wasn't disappointed by this book and I'm looking forward to the next in this new series.

Aral Kingslayer was once a mage-assassin for the goddess of justice. She was murdered, and her assassins (mostly) hunted down. Aral and his shadow-familiar hide their past and go to work as greyjacks. They do various jobs -- deliveries, pick-ups, anything up to murder -- to keep themselves alive and Ar
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Kelly McCullough was raised and educated by free-range hippies. Later he received a degree in theater and worked in improv. That combination was the perfect preparation for his current career as author and cat herder. He lives and writes in the Midwest with his physics-professor wife, Laura. He enjoys hiking and biking and his role as self-heating cat furniture. He is the author of the WebMage and ...more
More about Kelly McCullough...

Other Books in the Series

Fallen Blade (6 books)
  • Bared Blade (Fallen Blade, #2)
  • Crossed Blades (Fallen Blade, #3)
  • Blade Reforged (Fallen Blade, #4)
  • Drawn Blades (Fallen Blade, #5)
  • Darkened Blade (Fallen Blade #6)
WebMage (Webmage, #1) Cybermancy (Webmage, #2) Codespell (Webmage, #3) Bared Blade (Fallen Blade, #2) MythOS (Webmage, #4)

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“Being one of the world’s best at anything is a funny sort of situation. It’s a bit like walking along a fence top between two very deep pits. On the one side is overconfidence, on the other self-doubt. A misstep in either direction can set you up for a fall into ruin. And lying to yourself is one of the easiest missteps to make.” 1 likes
“I could have asked why, but I figured I’d find out quicker if I just did as I was told. Life is like that sometimes.” 0 likes
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