Broken Blades Don't Sing: Tales of Ashkar Book I
By Kayl A. Karadjian
There’s a lot of fantasy here, fantasy that requires a decent amount of imagination. This book actually feels more like an adventurous anime than a novel but its good. The concept of Elementalists really reminded me of one of my favorite pastime shows; Avatar: The Last Airbender, in which humans with the ability to manipulate the elements waged war.
The plotline of Broken Blades kind of breaks into more than one story, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ever read a smidge of fantasy before. We start off with a young Serraemas, eight years old, he’s at home with his mother who’s making stew when his father comes home with seemingly big news. News that will take them from their class of peasants to the higher-ups. Unfortunately their late dinner is interrupted by a sudden attack which leaves our protagonist nearly dead. Lucky for him, he’s rescued from the cold by the beautiful Elena who serves as our main romantic interest for the story.
From there we have plenty of good old fight scenes, narrow escapes, and highly emotional exchanges between the complex characters. Serraemas is a character I somewhat enjoyed, I liked his growth as the story progressed. He goes from eight to around eighteen and we clearly see a difference between the scared boy who’d been left for dead to the caring boyfriend with instincts sharper than a two-edged sword.
Serraemas is the kind of hero every girl wants to read about. He’s gorgeous, he’s protective, and he fights for a cause. He’s a well-developed guy, to the point where it becomes clear to the reader that author Karadjian obviously had fun layering the depths of his personality. Admittedly, I was expecting to find a guy who’d choke in battle and annoy me with a hundred thousand flashbacks of that gruesome night in his childhood. While there were hints of his past that came up throughout the book, they were all totally necessary and, in my opinion, they only helped to push the story along. I never felt trapped in Serraemas’ past, and I wasn’t annoyed by the emotion he brought to the story. It was all believable and very well put together.
What to say about her? When I first started reading, I just wanted her to die. Not even a full page into her character’s introduction and I wanted her to go away. She was utterly useless except to serve as another reason to keep Serraemas’s fighting spirit alive. I get it, sometimes a story has a character who is simply the ‘pretty girl’ and that’s OK except this version of the beautiful, innocent, damsel in distress was a complete turn-off. I could have accepted the fact that she was just a nice squeeze for the protagonist but I felt like her whole ‘innocent beauty in an ugly world’ getup was a really annoying hit and miss. There was nothing to her except that she was so beautiful and her skin was so soft, and her lips so pink, and she was so innocently gorgeous and did I mention how beautiful she was?
Other than Elena, I really liked this story. And in the author’s defense, she wasn’t actually in it much so I guess I really enjoyed it.
Raxxil was someone I loved and hated. He was cool but he was also a little arrogant and a bit aggressive too. Most of his lines were shouted, barked, or hollered; it was entertaining and annoying which is a good thing because that shows how much I was into the story! You can tell you have a good author with a great story when they make you want to chuck their book across the room and fall asleep reading it at the same time.
Broken Blades Don’t Sing was unique and original, full of deeply pained characters with their own stories that brought you closer to them and in turn brought you deeper into the plot as a whole. The concept of the Elementalists was intriguing, there was more than just the four simple elements and the way their powers were portrayed was actually cool. The structure of the book was well thought out, it was clearly planned from cover to cover, you could tell that just by how much detail was pumped into each page. Even gestures from the characters were mentioned, their outfits were described, sometimes their food too—all of this helped me get to know them a little better.
My favorite thing about this book was the vivid detail and the way the author set up each scene. I felt like I was guided through the book, as if I were sitting back and watching all this play out before me. I will admit, the narration was a little odd for me. It was GOOD, but it was odd. Only because the world was recreated around nations and Lords and sometimes the characters said things like “The Master wishes…” but then they would go and say “Son of a b—!” to me, that didn’t match up well. I just didn’t think the inclusion of foul language that kids use today matched with the kind of foul language that would have been used in the Age of the Lion or Rimas, or the other Ages.
That’s not to say that the writing or the editing was bad though. It was pretty great actually, and the story still flowed well. With a cast as large as the one in this book, you’d think I’d be confused from bouncing from character to character but no. Each location, character, and action was easy to follow. Broken Blades Don’t Sing deserved each of the five stars I gave it. I’m pleased to say I got to read a quality book written by a talented and imaginative author. I look forward to the next book in the series.