The Ember Blade was a really good book. It follows the story of Aren and his friend Cade as their lives are turned upside down and inside out. Thrown in prison for treason and then tangled up in a revolution, everything changes rapidly. One of the best things about this book was how the characters developed and changed over the course of the book. Minds, opinions, and beliefs all altered as the characters experienced the world.
It does start off with a somewhat standard epic fantasy plotline, a boy—missing a parent or two—is thrust into some situation where his life and belief systems are turned on their head. A prophecy happens, and there’s a magical item of great importance—the Ember Blade. It has a fair few of the very standard classical epic fantasy tropes, and the length you would commonly associate with those books. It was really, really, really long, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
At times I found the plot to be a bit formulaic, and there was a particular tic that could be frustrating at times. In order to draw out the tension, Wooding changes to a different point of view at tense moments when it feels like something big is about to happen. Normally the POV of an antagonist. It draws out the tension a bit and keeps you reading, but can be frustrating when you just want to know what’s about to happen. It does, however, show the motivations of the antagonists and why they’re doing what they’re doing. It definitely helps to humanise them and make the conflict more interesting.
Wooding creates a tale that is a mix between classical epic fantasy and modern darker fantasy. The tale of a nation under occupation. The struggles of those who’re losing their culture, who’re oppressed, struggling under occupation. It’s very much a novel about the characters and how they deal with their own struggles and the struggles of their nation.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Ember Blade and would recommend it to people who like:
- Character focused books
- Epic Fantasy
- Awesome battles
- Door Stoppers
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.