shadowblade3.5 stars

A fun fantasy book read.

This was a fun book to read if you just take it for what it is and don’t dig too deep into it. There was plenty of action and intrigue to keep my attention. I liked the main character, Naia, a young girl that dreams of becoming a Jaihar Blademaster. After she assaults a teacher at her school, her future seems uncertain. Unexpectedly, an important stranger intervenes on her behalf and she is elevated to train in the elite Upper Grounds training facility. What she doesn’t know is that she is being secretly trained to impersonate a legendary princess to challenge the imperial family and wrestle the throne away from tyrants that massacred an entire Court of people, and achieve peace. 

I liked this book but thought it was a bit uneven. It has pretty glaring flaws that prevent me from ranking it higher than 3 stars. The author makes a big deal about Naia being an exceptionally skilled fighter who could be a great Blademaster once trained, but then skips through her training years with hardly a mention. I would have liked to read more about what she went through. There is also very little world-building, so we don’t really know how the kingdom is structured, why the current ruler and his family are bad and need to be replaced, or why the rulers slaughtered an entire Court. There is no explanation as to why or how the impostor princess can challenge the imperial succession, or why the scheme has a chance of success. There is also no mention as to what happens if she succeeds, and why a young, weaker son of the ruler is the better choice to lead the kingdom.

Even so, it’s a fun read if you just want a bit of escapism.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.