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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Blade Lord is the first entry in The Decallion series by Susan Hartland and an engrossing read for fans of epic fantasy. It is a story that is intricately woven with fascinating plot points and a game of interests that will immediately catch the attention of readers. Decallion, unlike tethered blade lords, is a free-spirited soul, a blade lord with allegiance to none of the rulers in the Circle Kingdoms. When he is abducted and sold to the Guildlands on the way to a ceremony, his destiny becomes linked to that of a female assassin who will do anything to save his soul. Her mission has always been to hunt and kill men who unlawfully learn to read and write in a world ruled by women. The future looks grim with an immortal tyrant preparing to return to the Circle Kingdoms. Who will stop him?
Susan Hartland braids multiple points of view and different, conflicting worlds into a richly detailed and elaborate story, with tension and stakes growing through each page. The characters are realistic, and they evolve in worlds that have their own rules and unique ways of functioning. The author uses suspense to build interest in readers, and it is most evident in the way the relationship between Decallion and Sinnabar is written. The prose leaps gorgeously off the pages, characterized by strong and vivid descriptions and well-crafted dialogues. Blade Lord has everything I look for in fantasy — jaw-dropping action, a magical world to explore, extraordinary characters, and a conflicted hero. Susan Hartland earns the right to have her name among those of masters of epic fantasy, thanks to her great storytelling skills and gift for imaginative narrative.