Jacob Proffitt's Reviews > Burn Me Deadly

Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe
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Aug 08, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, mystery
Read from August 06 to 07, 2012

This review is going to spoil the snot out of The Sword-Edged Blonde, so if you haven't read that one yet, go away and come back after you have. It’s well worth doing so.

This is the second book in the series and it does well continuing Eddie's story and extending our interest in him. As epic as the first one was, with gods, curses, decades of backstory, and a brutal surprise reveal (I can’t even imagine living with Eddie’s guilt for Janet’s brutalization and death even as I can fully imagine myself doing exactly the same in his shoes at that age), I was worried that this one would feel lacking in contrast. After all, however interesting the regular life of a sword jockey might be, it isn't every day he's going to untangle a 500-year-old case of revenge, jailbreak a god, and snatch a little closure from a tragedy from his teens. Silly author shot his whole wad up front, right?

Well, while Burn Me Deadly doesn't have the same breadth or impact as the first book, it does feel like a worthy successor and not just a sop to people wanting to spend more time in the same world. Picking up two years after the end of Blonde, Eddie gets ambushed (yeah, literally, what else would you expect of a hardboiled fantasy detective?) by mysterious folks messing around in with his own backyard. Things are never as simple as you might assume, the people in charge can be counted on to snap up the wrong culprit(view spoiler), and hokey religions and ancient menaces sometimes, as Eddie well knows, turn out to be more real than is strictly comfortable.

Anyway, while I'm loving the series and Eddie is a great protagonist, this book drops a star from its predecessor, though not so much because the story is any less gripping or entertaining. One of the few frustrations with the first book is at the end when Liz asks if Eddie knew her sister Cathy and he lies about it (actively enough that she's going to be pissed if she ever finds out the truth). This is such a cliché and I thought Bledsoe was better than that. It was also somewhat out of character, contradicting his new-found… comfort… with his past. I mean, Eddie should be wise enough at this point to know he's laying landmines in his own path forward—especially if things work out with Liz as he knows right up front he wants. If things work out with Liz he's eventually going to have to come clean and that's a world of pain that only builds over time. Further, and more actively my own pet peeve, it means one person in the relationship is making unilateral decisions by withholding important information and essentially manipulating the one they supposedly love (or want to). Eddie just didn’t seem like that kind of weak.

And yeah, two years later and he still hasn't told her—that's a lot of pent-up pressure buried in that landmine, Eddie...

A landmine that big has to end up in the next book, and sure enough, it's a relatively big part of Eddie's internal conflict in this novel (though not one that affects the external story, really). Sadly. Eddie and Liz' relationship is a good one and has the solidity that few authors bother to build in their books. You could see that being together had weight for both Liz and Eddie and that they had come to rely on and cherish that weight. I really didn't like having a completely unnecessary (dramatically as well as narratively) sword hanging over a relationship that I care about. (view spoiler)

All that said I enjoyed the book quite a lot and can't wait to read the next (though I probably will. Wait, I mean). Yeah, I spent a lot of time nit-picking a pet peeve in this review, but the character and story were so fun that I should probably point out that it amounted to only a small niggle in the back of my actual reading pleasure.
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