I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Waterborne Blade (Waterborne, #1) by Susan Murray
Series: Waterborne #1
Published: 2015 by Angry Robot
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The Waterborne Blade by Susan Murray is a story of adventure and betrayal set in a medieval/fantasy world. The story begins with a capital city that’s about to be attacked. The king asks his best friend, a low-class man named Weaver, to help get his (secretly pregnant) wife Alwenna out of the city, because he knows that the odds of surviving the attack are slim. Alwenna and Weaver must make their way through the countryside, and as they do, they must learn the hard way which of the king’s “friends” can be trusted and which are opportunistic.
Alwenna is introduced to us as a spoiled bimbo. She hates Weaver because he isn’t cultured, even though he’s doing everything he can to save her life. She’s not prepared to face any kind of hardship whatsoever, and has a lot of growing up to do. I hated her with a passion. However, about 1/3 of the way through the story, she does a complete 180 and turns into a normal person/heroine. And, of course, she’s a special snowflake who has the power to see the future, and we learn that her powers are even more vast than we’ve been told. I found Alwenna’s sudden shift to be a bit too abrupt. She never felt like a complex character, or a real person at all, for that matter.
I was also frustrated by the foreshadowing in the story, which generally consisted of some kind of warning/gut feeling that Weaver and Alwenna were about to do something incredibly stupid, only for them to ignore it and walk into a trap. This happened several times, and I wished that the author would have used a different way of letting readers know that something was about to happen, because this particular method just made me feel that the main characters were being stupid.
Despite those weaknesses, I did find myself intrigued by the magic in The Waterborne Blade. There’s a cursed/evil family, some kind of magical zombie/soul-leeching, a powerful knife, and magic earthquakes. Gotta admit, magic earthquakes are pretty cool.
My overall thought is that The Waterborne Blade definitely isn’t the strongest fantasy novel I’ve ever read. Not by a long shot. There are better books out there. But if, say, you find yourself stuck on a long layover and The Waterborne Blade happens to be on your Kindle, it’s a quick read that will help kill some time.