[Originally posted on tumblr on 12. April 2013]
Alright, yesterday evening I finished Alex Bledsoe’s ‘The Sword-Edged Blonde’, which is a nice genre mix novel.
This story starts out with our first person narrator and main character Eddie LaCrosse sitting in his office. Kind of noir-like, yes? After that it’s off to his new case and when the hero of the story suddenly stepped into a tavern I got the feeling this was suddenly a ‘western’. Nevermind that, because suddenly there’s some kind of spy (‘special op’) who saves the hero’s ass and then takes him somewhere else because of a new and more important case.
Up to this part everythings was a little awkward because usually you wouldn’t suspect this kind of genre mix in a fantasy novel. Though I knew about it beforehand. Yep, that’s right, the enviroment is actually medieval-ish fantasy though everyone talks quite ‘modern’ and the characters have names that are easy to remember and are pronounceable. Which is really refreshing because I have quite the problem with
a) names that are of the ‘what the hell is that word supposed to be - oh, it’s written with a capital letter so it’s a name and
b) I’m not sure I could pronounce. Ever.
So yes, thanks for non-‘fantasy’ names. Keyboardsmashing unfortunately rarely results in getting you quality names. Actually looking up names does. (No offense to people who actually are so amazing and make up their own languages. I bet you guys can actually pull off inventing names that are actually pronounceable.)
The thing with this book is that when the main character gets to the actual main plot the plot suddenly advances ‘in reverse’. You get some nice flash backs that actually move you forward in the story because it’s vital information for the plot. I think that was very interesting and very much better than simply infodumping the main character’s past. Especially since he’s the kind of ‘tragic past’ hero so he doesn’t want to think too much about it because it sends him into fits of angst but that’s okay.
Also, the narration is extremely witty. Just for example, there are two scenes in which Eddie gets knocked out and in the first one he pretty much explains how it’s never like in one of those usual hero stories that the hero is suddenly wide awake. I liked that. The second time that happens someone drugged him and the room is spinning. And there are some lines that amused me endlessly:
"It took four tries, but eventually I got to my feet. The room showed its appreciation by trying to turn inside out."
Shortly afterwards: "I banged my head against the wall until my skull’s thickness scared the room into behaving."
Since this book is pretty short with only 320 pages you don’t get much of the fantasy world setting. Sure, the narrator explains that there are celibate wizards and moon priestesses (who have some really gruesome rituals) but apart from Eddie’s encounter with a really interesting character you don’t get much about the magic part. As for the world: This book comes without a world map but that’s alright. The narrator explains what you need to know and that’s about it. I guess.
Well, it’s certainly not a high fantasy book. Someone on the Goodreads forums named this genre ‘Sword Noir’ which sounds really good.