TRAITOR'S BLADE has garnered heaps of positive reviews over the last few months; so many that I came to regret declining a review copy from its UK publisher. A swashbuckling fantasy with shades of Alexandre Dumas and K.J. Parker? It sounded like my über-book.
I promptly requested it from the library, but before it could so much as wend its way through processing, let alone make it into my greedy hands, the author put me in contact with his Canadian publisher via Twitter. They generously mailed me a copy that very day.
Authors and publishers can be pretty awesome.
I read TRAITOR'S BLADE almost immediately, then sat on it for a while because I didn't know quite what to think. I enjoyed it, but I had several large problems with it and I wasn't sure I wanted to hash them out on here. There's a lot to be said for critical reviews, but I no longer want to dwell on the books that didn't quite work for me1. It's far more fun to highlight books I can rave about.
And let's be honest--it's always more difficult to write a not-entirely-positive review when the book came to you at the author's request.
That considerable reservation aside, I've decided I do want to discuss my issues with TRAITOR'S BLADE, partially because they've stuck with me in the months since I finished it and partially because I haven't seen them mentioned in any of the other reviews I've come across.
So, here we go.