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Along the Razor's Edge

(The War Eternal #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  993 ratings  ·  175 reviews
No one escapes the Pit.

At just fifteen Eskara Helsene fought in the greatest war mankind has ever known. Fought and lost. There is only one place her enemies would send a Sourcerer as powerful as her, the Pit, a prison sunk so deep into the earth the sun is a distant memory. Now she finds herself stripped of her magic; a young girl surrounded by thieves, murderers, and w
Kindle Edition, 281 pages
Published March 30th 2020
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  993 ratings  ·  175 reviews

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Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"If there's one thing you remember from my story, one lesson you take from it, let it be this: Gods are fucking arseholes. All of them."

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Rob J Hayes’s writing was some of the most fluid string of words that’s ever graced my eyeballs?

Most of the story is being told to us from the main character. Retelling what happened while she was in The Pit. A brutal prison deep underground where inmates (also known as scabs) reside in the dark, mining tunnels, being tortured, eat
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

“Are we all just monsters waiting for the opportunity to show it?”

Late in 2018, I saw the cover of Never Die on Twitter as the author wanted some readers for the ARC, I did not know who the author is, what is the book about, I just had a feeling that I would love it and I did. It ended up being my last five stars book of 2018. Last month, when Rob was asking again for people to read the ARC of this book, I jumped again for the opportunity a
Nick Borrelli
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading Rob J. Hayes' books for a couple of years now. Whether it was his Ties That Bind series, Best Laid Plans series, It Takes a Thief series, or his stand-alone gems like City of Kings and Never Die, there seems to be one consistent theme. I pretty much universally enjoy everything he writes, which is a testament to how talented he is as a storyteller. So when I heard that he was releasing a brand new series called The War Eternal, and that the entire series will be published in 20 ...more

So I edited this book and it was... well, it was AMAZING. Far different than whatever I'd been expecting. The world is dark, and our protagonist and secondary characters are just as dark and brutal as the world they inhabit. The plot is relentless and unforgiving. Hayes starts things out with a bang, and he doesn't let up. Everything in this book is supposed to be there, from all the aspects of the world, to the conflicts, character development and more. I never felt like there was a wasted
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it

Along the Razor’s Edge, a darkly engrossing opening of Hayes’ The War Eternal series, sets the tone for the entire novel in the first few pages. It likely won’t be for everyone: it’s bleak, brutal, and focused on the loathsome, self-centered protagonist. If you stick with it—and you should—Along the Razor’s Edge offers smart, streamlined storytelling, and no shortage of genuinely thrilling moments.

It’s hard to describe the plot of the novel without giving away too many of the story’s twist
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Are we all just monsters waiting for the opportunity to show it?"

This book is going to make you mad. And that’s a good thing.

Meet Eskara Helsene. Ripped from her family as a toddler, educated through torture, conscripted for war, and forced to murder, all before the age of fifteen. And then the real horrors begin. Because Eska becomes a prisoner of war when her kingdom ends up on the losing side of a battle, and so is sent into The Pit, an underground mining prison, buried under thousands of fe
Derf H
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding!!! There was something uniquely fresh about this book and I can’t put my finger on it! I really liked the story telling and the world building, can’t wait to start to second book.
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic, fantasy, ya
This was good! Lots of action and a fierce protagonist, an interesting cast of characters, great world building and a unique magic system. I didn’t really like the foreshadowing voice, telling of future events- I found it bumped me out of the story, hence missing one star. Otherwise a fabulous read and I’m hoping to learn more about the world it takes place in.
Review now live at Grimdark Magazine

“Handshakes are a dangerous business in some parts of the world.” This quote from Along the Razor’s Edge stuck with me, though Hayes meant it in a different light than how it pertains to most of us in this Covidic world right now. Still, it was no less deadly, as it turns out.

Our protagonist in this novel, Eskara Helsene, is quite the anti-heroine. She’s one of the world’s most powerful battle sorcerers, yet as our story gets underway, she’s as helpless as a b
Lee Conley
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A review of
Along the Razor's Edge
Rob J. Hayes

Along the Razor's Edge is the first book of Rob J. Hayes’ new series, The War Eternal. It follows the story of a young girl called Eska. A child Sourcerer (yes, I spelt that right), who fights on the losing side of a great war between empires. She is captured, stripped of her magic and imprisoned deep within an underground prison known as The Pit. A prison mine, full of murders and scum, where they toil their lives away digging, doomed never to see
Cameron Johnston
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Now that's what I call a cover! Dark and dangerous just like the book inside.

Mysteries, magic and monsters (both human and otherwise) are very much my thing, and Along the Razor’s Edge by Rob J. Hayes delivers all of that in spades and heaps even more on top.

Eskara was trained as a weapon, a young sourcerer using her magic to destroy the enemy. The war was lost and all her power was stripped from her before she was thrown into the Pit, a mine ran by sadistic overseers intended to break its occup
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
"Grimdark at its finest and filthiest" Review to come ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Its been a while since I’ve one sitted a book. What a ride.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Good in theory, real bad in the execution

Have you ever sat through a bad movie while thinking “Hold on, maybe it’ll get better. Let’s give it 5 more minutes,” before getting to the end of the movie and realizing that you’ve just wasted 2 hours of your life? Well this is the book equivalent of that feeling. The author teases you with potential. The main character’s future self narrates the book. You can tell that she’s supposed to be some badass warrior/mage who regularly performs superhuman feat
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I finished this during my like quarterly insomnia spells. It's 4:56 AM and I'm not even slightly sleepy, but let's get to the book. Eskara is giving us her memoirs and we start our journey with her when she's 15 years old and in hell, not literally, though the pit might as well be. So the main character is stubborn and let's her emotions pretty much rule her, she's looking for a way out of the pit to get revenge on those who put her there.

This book hints at great worldbuilding, though to see mo
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally published over at!
Release Date: March 30, 2020
Published by: Self-Published
Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark
Pages: 281
Format: ebook
Review Copy: Provided by the author in return for an honest review.

What Rob J. Hayes has done in Along the Razor’s Edge cements his place as one of the masters of grimdark fantasy.

I’ve taken my time getting to the review of this book, the first of an ambitious new trilogy Rob has decided to release over the next few months of 2020, starti
S. Naomi Scott
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review. My thanks to Rob J. Hayes for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

At fifteen years old Eskara Helsene has suffered more pain and torture than most people experience in a full life. Taken from her home at the age of six and trained in the arts of Sourcery by the Orran Empire, she is one of the last Orran Sourcerers alive. The only problem is that she, along with
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I really can’t give Along the Razors Edge anything less than 5 stars because I had an absolute blast reading this book even though one thing annoyed me.

Before I expound on that, I’ll say what I loved about this one.

Eskara Helsene( points for that badass name) is a young magic-user, or Sourcerer, who is trained and thrust into a war, just in time to see her side finally defeated. As a war criminal, she is thrown into a type of work camp far underground know as the Pit. The story starts there
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I loved this book!
The characters, the world building, the story were great, but what I loved the most was the writing. I always enjoy when an author plants seeds of what’s gonna happen in the future! This book is full of them, so now I’m naturally even more excited to read the sequel!
And the magic system? So cool and so savage, I loved it!
A decent read with a great promise to more epic and interesting things in the later books to come. The title along with the cover is awesome, and it reflects the spirit of the book. It's grimdark, and reading it reminded me of Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire. There's a very big world hidden in the story, and I feel that Hayes has stored some pretty nasty surprises for the readers.

The world that Rob J. Hayes has created here is fascinating. It mentions about floating cities, magical realms, monster
Frank Dorrian
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to try some of Rob Hayes' books for a few years, but as I'm both extremely busy with work/gym/home and my own writing, and also a very very slow reader, I've only just got round to it with Along the Razor’s Edge.

I have to say, I'm not disappointed, and also pleasantly surprised. I have a thing for gritty, 1st person narratives, but I'm extremely picky with them, and at first I thought this wasn't going to be for me. I was swiftly proven wrong on that.

Along the Razor’s Edge is s
Thomas Weaver
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“I have long since learned that heroes only exist on the pages of books, and the lips of bards. Out in the world there are only choices. Those choices might appear heroic to some and villainous to others. I often wonder how my own people look at my choices, how my daughters look at my choices. I think I have played the villain far more than the hero.”

This is the first self-published novel I’ve ever read. I’m not sure what my expectations were, but whatever expectations I had were surely exceeded
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So so good. Extremely good world building and such a tantalising spoiler hinting story line.. Loved it.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, fantasy
Along the Razor's Edge is my kind of a story. I have a soft spot for vengeful protagonists, ready to sacrifice many things to get what they want. Main character in this story is like that. We meet her when she's barely fifteen and she's that age most of the story though we can see flashbacks from her earlier life. She reminded me a little of my favourite protagonists: Sal the Cacophony, Marta Childress or Monza Murcatto. Eskara narrates the story from the future, as she is older woman, so she ha ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I just finished Along the Razor's Edge a few minutes before writing this and wow, just wow, that was great.

The setting is one I am quite fond of, I've always enjoyed subterranean settings, rather it be the Aspirant mines in Faithless, the Underdark in the Forgotten Realms, Moria in The Lord of the Rings, etc, and the Pit here is a great addition to my love for the setting. A prisoner mining colony with a caste system, arena, and politics.

The idea of Source Magic and the information we get on t
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was awesome. I need more!
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: At this point, I’m glad to say that I’m a through and through Rob J. Hayes fan. I’ve read every book of his that’s been released and a few that haven’t (so far). Rob’s books have all of the things that I look out for in fantasy:

- Terrific characterization
- Epic plots
- Thrilling magic systems & world-building

So far he’s written stories in three different worlds, not counting the SF-thriller Drones he released nearly two years ago. With this book, we are introduced to a fourth
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars
Along the Razor’s edge is one of those books where an interesting premise executed masterfully!
It was my first time reading Rob J.Hayes and definitely not the last!

Told in Eska’s own voice, this is a story of a very powerful Sourcerer, who was taken away from her family to become the most powerful weapon of the Orran Empire. But even her extraordinary powers cannot save the girl from being taken captive by the foe and thrown into the jail for the worst of the worst, which happens to be a
Jonathan Pembroke
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indie
Of Rob Hayes's books that I've read, this was by far my favorite. Eska is a wonderfully-written, complex protagonist with a strong proud exterior but in the halls of her own mind, is riven with regret and self-criticism. She reminds me of that friend everyone has--the one you love but want to slap at the same time. Secondary characters are varied and developed. I found the pace of the plot pace excellent and I'm anxious to keep reading to see what happens. ATRE hints at an intriguing wider world ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Going to write up a full trilogy review, so stay tuned.
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Winner of Mark Lawrence's 3rd Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) with Where Loyalties Lie

Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as

Other books in the series

The War Eternal (3 books)
  • The Lessons Never Learned (The War Eternal, #2)
  • From Cold Ashes Risen (The War Eternal, #3)

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