Friday, April 3, 2009
The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe (review)
Title: The Sword-Edged Blonde
Author: Alex Bledsoe
Dewey Decimal: F Ble
I had heard about Bledsoe's debut via Fantasy Debut and finally decided to experience the world of this guy named Eddie LaCrosse for myself. But when I went to the store to find a copy, I went home empty handed. Mr. Bledsoe was kind enough to send me a galley copy, sign it, and do an interview. I felt blessed.
And when I moved into the world of Eddie LaCrosse, I didn't quite know what to think. I knew before hand it was a blend of fantasy and mystery and the LaCrosse character was a swordsman and detective of sorts. By the time I finished, that's exactly what I got.
The weak point of the novel for me was the world-building. But it's one of those weaknesses that you don't really pay attention to that much. There are references to places, lands, kingdoms, rivers, etc. and at times you're pulled out the story and tempted to look at a map. Not having one, you are resigned to get back into the story with a little haze as to where LaCrosse is going (geographically). But I've always been a big map person. I like to see where people go. I grew up reading maps on family trips and reading maps in books.
One other main point of the novel that was a little weak, but pleasantly so, was religion. I suppose this could fall under world-building, but the religion of worshiping Epona, the horse goddess, is prominent. When those scenes came about, I was reminded of S. M. Stirling's Emberverse series as well as comforted that the religion wasn't such an overwhelming character that it stole the show from Eddie and other humans. But I did get a little attached to Lola by the end.
The strong point of the novel is clearly Eddie LaCrosse. Maybe it's because I'm nearly my own middle age, or maybe it's because he's such the troubled hero, he's very realistic. He's a bit rough around the edges, rough in his actions, and rough when speaking, but hiding behind that is a brilliant mind driven by a tortured soul.
A very enjoyable novel in the end, and a fast read. I kept putting it down to go read something else and I was continually drawn back to it. While not a high fantasy or epic fantasy novel, the story is very character driven and has enough action to keep you interested (although some of the action scenes seemed a little too campy when compared to other scenes). Some of the scenes jump back and forth, but it's done artfully enough that you don't lose your mind and can still follow along. And the twists at the end were quite entertaining (and a bit romantic).