Estara's Reviews > Blade Song

Blade Song by J.C. Daniels
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Aug 25, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: ebook, read-in-2012
Recommended to Estara by: I really liked the short story at Tor.com
Recommended for: fans of urban fantasy and possibly the Kate Daniels series
Read from August 24 to 25, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Because Shiloh Walker comments a lot on Ilona Andrews blog, I sort of couldn't help compare the development of Blade Song with the first book in the Kate Daniels series as there are some similarities in the set-up.

Kitasa Colbana has no one left in her family, like Kate at the beginning of her series. She comes into contact with a shifter clan with a very dominant male. She's incredibly skilled in sword-fighting and generally fighting and has some magical skills of her own.

These are the similarities but the way Walker/Daniels worked with them (at the fairly short length of 235 pages on my eReader, which were enough to introduce the world and the characters, have the main story wrapped up and set developments that allow for more next time (there's even an excerpt for a second book at the end) has a very different direction from Kate, Curran and their world (not to mention that there are numerous short stories and six books about that world by now).

Walker/Daniels cuts down a lot on the setting itself, except for a general information recap that didn't read as too info-dumpy to me how the world of humans/non-humans worked, specifically in Orlando Florida and in general. I found it interesting that she chose to cut lose from the possible love-interest in the tor.com short story very early, making his influence somewhat unwelcome at the start, if tolerated by Kit and ever increasing the signs of something being wrong until the shit really hits the fan at the end of the book.

W/D really has a gift of sketching side characters with a minimum of words so memorably that their impression remains with you, this especially works with the Lady of the Cats, who only shows up in the flesh once, and a bow maker whose bow is amazing but who has a very black heart indeed. Colleen, Jo, Kori, Es, Goliath, T.J. and that fire witch are very much their own people, too - as little or much as they show up.

But basically this book is Kit and then Kit and the cat asshole sidekick she gets stuck with. And it really is like that from the start. With her interior musings we get a good reason why Kit a) can't react other than confrontational towards repressive authority even when she is totally sure there is a high risk of it costing her life and b) that she suffers from severe PTSD because of her upbringing and when that is triggered she can't help but fight whether it makes sense or not.

You see, she was trained by her family, too. Just like Kate with her adoptive father and later her guardian. But whereas Kate had been expressly been rescued and honed into a fine weapon with the support of these people, Kit had been systematically forced to adhere to standards her half-human blood shouldn't have been able to reach and when she occasionally was able to reach them, punished for that. By her grandmother who was the head of her family. And no one had helped (father unknown, mother dead).

We meet in due course people who helped her after she had managed to get out of that place (when she was 14 or so?), who gave her a break which is probably the reason she isn't wholly defensive and kill or be killed, but her choice of doing PI work and having a gift for it (not that we saw a lot of that, the story centers a lot around Kit's emotional well-being - but then I don't read mysteries for themselves anyway but for the personal interplay) and her real need to help children makes her unable to step back from a job even when she can see it will be highly difficult to survive.

What I thought was impressive in the short length of the book is how Kit with her personal PTSD trauma's buttons being pressed again and again in this particular job manages to drag a lot of complacent people out of their comfort zone. From the Green Witch House that admits their former leader and the coven screwed up supporting one of their own and therefore, because Kit didn't, they were offering her alliance now (a bit deus-ex-machina for me, because it was so needed and worked in so many different ways and we were told that alliances are very rare, etc.) to Damon the enforcer and bodyguard asshole cat himself who had decided that he didn't want the responsibility of cat clan as long as the Lady kept the other crazy cats in check. And who no longer has the luxury now that he has decided no one but Kit will do for him.

Why three stars? It's all a bit too fast. I especially can't forgive Damon that bit with the hood of the car because I thought he reacted far out of any supposed control he had and I had the feeling that Kit's decision, considering what Jude had been putting her through, was more of a Stockholm Syndrome and survival mechanism than a clear feeling of "I want this": the alternative was ever so much worse and insidious (after all Damon can only kill her, not control her mentally), she had felt safe with him occasionally after being severely wounded and almost dying, etc. He promised to control the cats if she became his. I think all three things weighed more than the physical attraction - I mean they've only known each other for a week!

Then again, she now has one enemy dead, the other enemy openly acknowledged, the people responsible for the disappearance of the children dead or on the run, new allies in the witch coven and a formidable male who has sworn he will never hurt her again and neither will anyone else, as long as he has breath. I have confidence that Walker/Daniels can make me believe that Kit, if she can ever find some peace in herself, may find Damon not just a useful ally and sexy in bed but maybe eventually something like what Curran became for Kate, the two of them against the world.

I do hope this sells well enough that she can write longer stories in this series.
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