Sweetblade by Carol A. Park

Series: #0.5 Heretic Gods Rating: 4.5/5
Date of Publishing: December 28th 2018 Genre: fantasy
Publisher: Self-published Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Number of pages: 300 Author’s website: https://carolapark.com/

Quote of the Book

She moved behind him, as if to leave, and then she spun and dug the point of her blade against his lower back, pushing on his kidney.  ”If I were attempting to assassinate,” she said, “and had no other option, I would do it like this.”

He whirled around to face her, and for a moment she was certain he was going to backhand her.
He didn’t. Instead he met her eyes.
She smiled sweetly. “We all have our weaknesses, don’t we?”
His jaw jumped once. And then finally, finally…
“Well done,” he said. “You may go.”

Blurb

Every decision she had thought was right had led her astray.
Perhaps it was time to make the wrong decision.

Lives are shaped by decisions, and Ivana’s decisions have destroyed her life.

She finds herself on the streets of Carradon, broken, destitute, and utterly alone. But perhaps not entirely without hope. A man named Elidor comes to her rescue and welcomes her into his home. But Elidor holds secrets of his own.

Lives may turn upon a single moment, and Ivana’s decision to accept the hospitality of this stranger will transform her in ways she never imagined…or feared.

Personal notes

Request through TBRInder.

 

Song of the Book

I ran across this song pretty much on accident and couldn’t believe how well it fit Ivanna’s character.

Warrior by Demi Lovato

I need to take back the light inside you stole
You’re a criminal
And you steal like you’re a pro
All the pain and the truth I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I was broken and bruised
Now I’m a warrior

Review

Ivanna can’t seem to escape the mistakes of the past. The guilt, present circumstances, and especially her memories won’t let her. Living on the streets now, a turn of luck has her apprenticing with Elidor, as an assassin in training. Ivanna hopes she can bury her past shame and guilt further down in her soul, and become as cold and unfeeling as her mentor.

This is a standalone and technically prequel to Banebringer where we get the backstory on Ivanna, how she chose to become an assassin and yes, even where the nickname comes from.

Part one of this story is told in a dual timeline – the past where we see Ivanna’s teen years and where it all went wrong, and the current, with the fallout of that and her involvement with her new mentor Elidor.

This was very readable – even though I know where she ends up, and even some of her past from Banebringer, this was well-paced and kept my interest up to see how everything came together.

This is a fast read but not a light read, as some of the content involves things like depression, self-harm and of course murder. The MC is in a dark spot and stays there for most of the book, and though she may not be in a dark place the whole book, as she is an assassin – she definitely isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done when the time comes.

This is such a hard line for a main character too, especially an assassin, balancing hints of softness and humanity, making them a person we can relate to but also believe they are able to kill without hesitation. I thought this line was walked exceptionally well. The visit to the grave was a nice touch to show us that she is still capable of emotions but in contrast, the moment where she met a certain someone (who can’t be named due to spoilers) proves she is capable of the hard choices.

Part two which hits around the last quarter of the book, jumps ahead a few years and we get to see how Ivanna has maybe not forgotten, but has definitely moved on from her past and become quite capable of her job. This part also turns into a bit of a mystery/crime story.

I liked the crime investigating mystery plot, there was a little of the CSI type theme in Banebringer as well, and I’m kind of a sucker for that kind of thing but it also gave this a feeling of two separate stories.

The cast is small and limited to who can be the culprit, we know with one sentence who it most likely is, and Ivanna suspects just as quickly.

The foreshadowing is there through the book and I like that the author didn’t waste time pretending it was someone else or throwing around red herrings. Time was spent on proof, but not wasted on misleading us, or pulling a suspect out of a hat to give us a last-minute twist. But the assuredness of the identity, also removed some of the tension from the end so it is a double-edged sword that way.

There was a distinct lack of the magic that I loved so much in Banebinger and this is a hard complaint because I understand why it is missing. The parameters this story fits in, to stay in the time line of information flow for the next, severely hampered it from having any of the magic or information on the conclave or even the Banebringers (though we do get one showing). I did understand but I also really missed it because it was one of the things that made Banebringer stand out for me.

The good – tighter, cleaner writing, there was a lot packed in to Banebringer and this one definitely cleans up and cuts the fat.

Very compelling read, even knowing some of the story and who the culprit most likely was; I kept turning the pages.

The somewhat bad – missed the magic, this felt like two stories in one, and unrelated but… Cries for forgetting this was going to be prequel, and having to wait to find out about Vaughn and Ivanna.

If you enjoyed Ivanna in Banebringer and want to know more about her past, Sweetblade is going to be right up your alley. If you liked the world and magic and are looking for more of that then you’ll need to wait for Banebringer’s sequel. If none of that matters then this is just a good solid read and has me even more excited for the sequel to Banebringer.

This review was written by Jen (BunnyReads)

3 thoughts on “Sweetblade by Carol A. Park

Add yours

    1. Haha, thanks! Actually it’s Jen’s review (she writes reviews for my blog) but I’ll let her know she made one person super interested! I hope you’ll like it as well when you get to read it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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