Shade Nox is wielder of blood magic – a Bloodwizard, known as the Black Witch by most. Her intent is to create a Veil over her community to protect them from all sorts of danger, especially the Unseen. But no one has raised such a Veil in over a hundred years. Also, Veils are controlled by the Brotherhood – a coterie that doesn’t like others creating Veils – especially witches.
To create blood magic, witches (and wizards) must draw blood using a blade made from a special gem or mineral material. Shade wears obsidian daggers on her hips and she’s highly skilled with them, able to draw blood and wield magic with the best of the Bloodwizards.
Shade doesn’t lack for confidence, as evident by her plans to raise a Veil unlike any ever raised in living memory, and she’s created more than a few enemies in her time, and she’ll need to watch her back while she’s forging ahead. Fortunately she’s got a friend, Raiden, who is dedicated to Shade – but their affections for one another could also be a detriment to her work.
This book started off with a really powerful first few chapters that really set up Shade nicely I liked her confidence and the sense of always moving forward. The magic – culled from the blood of enemies and taken with a handmade blade of rare gems (or unusual rock, in the case of obsidian) was a nice touch.
But ultimately the book doesn’t live up to the solid opening. The character of Shade doesn’t grow through the course of the book. She remains a bit a of a two-dimensional character – with just a touch of romance mixed in the story.
The story itself is also a bit two-dimensional. It’s rather singular focused with just minor disruptions acting as sub-plots.
The self-confidence of Shade we see early on, becomes cockiness or even arrogance as the book goes on and of course every male in the book is highly attracted to her – which in many ways makes her fighting skills with the obsidian blades very easy because she manages to charm them first. This has worked for a few characters throughout literary history, but typically there’s more to the characters to really make this appear natural. That isn’t the case here.
Ultimately, this doesn’t stand out.
Looking for a good book? Obsidian, by Sarah J. Daley, is a fantasy with a lot of promise (of character and story) in the early pages but doesn’t deliver a satisfying follow-through.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
author: Sarah J. Daley
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 343 pages