Book Spotlight: SON OF THE BLACK SWORD by Larry Correia

Layout 1Reviewers Name: Scott Wooldridge

Title:  Son of the Black Sword (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior)

Author: Larry Correia

ISBN: 9781476780863

Publisher:  Baen

Publication Date: 10/27/2015

Core Audience: Fans of high fantasy, Fans of world building fantasy

Notable Aspects:  Great example of world building including religions / societal hierarchies

Review:  From the plot synopsis: After the War of the Gods, the demons were cast out and fell to the world. Mankind was nearly eradicated by the seemingly unstoppable beasts, until the gods sent the great hero, Ramrowan, to save them. He united the tribes, gave them magic, and drove the demons into the sea. Yet as centuries passed, Gods and demons became myth and legend, and the people no longer believed. The Age of Law began.

Ashok Vadal has been chosen by a powerful ancient weapon to be its bearer. He is a Protector, the elite militant order of roving law enforcers. No one is more merciless in rooting out those who secretly practice the old ways. Everything is black or white, good or evil, until he discovers his entire life is a fraud. Ashok isn’t who he thinks he is, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, the consequences lead to rebellion, war—and destruction.

For the first half of the book, Ashok is a blunt instrument. Insanely powerful and with a single purpose, to uphold the law, he does not seem to be the type of character to lead the story. All this changes about halfway through the book where Ashok discovers that everything he knows about himself and his society is a lie. This is when the one dimensional character is destroyed and finally shows some depth. The first half of the book focuses more on world building and heavy action. Salt water is looked upon as evil in the book as the demons come from there and you can’t drink it.  “Fish-eater” is used as a derogatory term while “ocean” and “saltwater” are used as curses.

In the world, we are introduced to what seems like a basic caste society. The lower castes and casteless people are treated like animals, which is a staple of many fantasy realms, but Larry throws in a few curveballs. Without venturing into spoiler territory, the castes are not as straightforward as they seem to be in the beginning of the book.

There is a veritable rogues gallery of secondary characters.  Some good,  some evil, some mislead heroes, some assassins, all with varying motivations, most very well fleshed out.

All in all it is a very entertaining, faced paced read. Highly recommended.

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