Review: Wraithblade by S.M. Boyce


Rating: 10/10

Synopsis

Tonight, a merciless king dies alone in the forest.

Tonight, a usurper rises from the ranks of trusted noblemen.

Tonight, deadly enchantments are unleashed upon an unsuspecting world.

At the center of it all is the most ruthless and powerful magic this land has ever seen. A specter of death. An undead warlord who now sits in the eye of an approaching storm, pulling on the strings of chaos.

The Wraith King.

But even an undead king’s power has limits, and he fuses with a mortal to survive. Though this blesses his new host with godlike abilities, all magic comes at a cost.

As the weeks blur by, a question arises: will the mortal remain in control? Or will the ghost overtake the man who now holds the reins to his power?

Are you ready to wield the Wraithblade?

Gather your allies and pray to your gods if you have them, because it’s time to find out.

Review

Wraithblade, a sprawling epic, amazed me from beginning to end and left me wanting more of the story that involves an unlikely team of characters; Connor, Murdoch, Sophia and the rest of the supporting characters. It ramped up slowly where S.M. Boyce takes a generous amount of time introducing us to its world filled with kingdoms, beautiful fauna, political power struggles and its own magic system, and then goes into high gear with a palette full of action and a smorgasbord of twists and turns!  

Boyce kept a focused writing style by employing character names as chapter titles that bind the character to the perspective of the storytelling, and to be honest… I loved it. Her prose was never distracting nor overblown and maintained my focus as a reader on what was truly important, the storytelling. 

My favorite element of the novel was how deep and real the characters felt, and how each relationship, heroes and villains included, was explored and provided us with motivations, goals, quirks and who these people were. It felt like we were sitting at the table with Ethan and his family members and could feel the love in between them and how a stranger Connor was in this dynamic. I especially enjoyed the character arc of the Wraith King, who grows to respect his master/host, the Wraithblade. Bravo! 

The worry with magic systems and godlike characters like the Wraith King and the Lightseers is that the stakes aren’t high enough since it is fairly easy for such powerful characters to get out of a situation. But in Wraithblade, Boyce provided a fair amount of limitations or leveled the ante, so our characters (and the reader) felt like they were challenged throughout. I genuinely loved experiencing peril left and right outside of the main plot, spiced up by interesting creatures like the Blightwolves, who I’d never want to meet in person. 

Several mentioned how wonderful the action is in the novel, and I couldn’t agree more. The conflict between mighty characters is well defined, keeps us on the edge of our seat while maintaining a good balance of emotions to action. 

In the end, Wraithblade definitely impressed me and was an excellent magical adventure and a fascinating entry into a fresh new series I’m utterly excited to continue the journey with its vivid characters. Highly recommended!

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