My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Review: The Silverblood Promise

The Silverblood Promise The Silverblood Promise by James Logan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first in a series and overall I enjoyed it enough that I just might continue … in a fun, summer leisure sort of way. In fact, this book would be right at home on the rack at the airport convenience store as something to pick up to pass the time and not anything too deep or inspired. In fact, it comes across as a largely mechanical story or a paint-by-the-numbers collections of various tropes that is easy to follow and mostly predictable. That alone is not so bad except for the rather inelegant manner in which they were all stitched together with what might be seen by some as convenient plot armor and poorly disguised deus ex machina ending that doesn’t really with stand even limited scrutiny. However, if read more as pulp fiction, it was more or less satisfying entertainment.

The MC/PPoV is a disgraced young nobleman from a reputable family fallen on hard times who is estranged from his neglectful father. The setup involves Lukan hearing about his father’s murder and him making “The Silverblood Promise” to solve the mystery of who and why by following up on a three (3) word clue written in blood just before he died. I still have no idea what the significant of such a promise is, other than having a fancy name for a solemn vow (with no enforcement outside of personal honor), but it was apparently enough to drag him out of his cups and send him to the city of Saphrona to follow up on the few clues that he has. There he meets up with an 11 year old street urchin/pickpocket who serves his city guide and highlights his very sarcastic nature … and of course, can’t stay on the sidelines while her benefactor is in danger (arguably making Lukan a problematic father figure). 

The supporting characters are fairly shallow caricatures amid a back drop various criminal enterprises as Lukan gets pulled into the local political scene to save the only connection he has to his father … and this in turn drives the best part of the story … the world-building … which was interesting but not particularly complex or unique. First up we get a divided city that is home to former enemies now at peace simply out of exhaustion from the constant wars. The three (3) aristocratic estates come from the powerful merchant houses, the inquisition and the church of the Lady of Shadows (where the Shadows are basically the seven death sins which the Lady holds at bay). Of course there is the expected corruption within each that conspires for even greater power with questionable alliances and motivations. There is the expected criminal underworld run by a mafia style organization (trope) known as the Kindred. And there is a limited amount of sorcery that is either based upon the artifacts left by a vanished race/civilization called the Phaeron or by paired spell casters known as gleamers (perhaps the most interesting aspect of the magic system).

The plot careens through a series of set pieces (tropes) such as a bread and circus style execution, another underground pit challenge, a pseudo prison caper, a secret graveyard meeting, a mad king’s court, and … of course … a heist. In fact, everything moves fairly quickly through each stage in with a vaguely forced introduction that is what gives the story its derivative feel … nothing on this wild ride develops naturally or reasonably … and in fact I found parts to be patently ridiculous … such as the apparent need to get blind drunk on the eave of an important operation that would obviously require top form by each of the participants … with being severely hungover not making any difference what so ever other than showing off the frat boy personality of the MC. Not really a good selling point for me.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheSilverbloodPromise #TheLastLegacy #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.