Son of the Black Sword – Larry Correia – Book Review

sons-of-the-dark-sword-send-to-larry-c.-2Son of the Black Sword is Book 1 of the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior trilo…oh wait no people actually like this so let’s make it a five…wait are they still buying it? What, after book 3 didn’t wrap everything up? Multi-part series instead.

I complain, but it’s in good humor. This series showcases Correia’s strongest writing, because it plays to his strengths: exciting combat scenes; honorable men; fight scenes; violent men; battle scenes; emotionless but charismatic men; chase scenes; beautiful women, and you may have gotten the gist at this point: he writes fight scenes really, really well. There’s a one-vs-many fight at the end of this book that is just a work of art. What’s more, this book avoids his weaknesses: self-insert characters, silly humor, and bashing of political opponents in juvenilely amusing ways.

It’s a damn good book. Fight scenes with a purpose are exciting, charismatic protagonists with inner depths and meaningful journeys are memorable and enjoyable, and beautiful women who have personalities, motivations, and effect on the plot, are good characters regardless of what they’re wearing. Son of the Black Sword has all of those. (Note: with the exception of a ditzy librarian who tries using a romance novel as a how-to spy manual, all female characters are dressed quite appropriately for their circumstances.)

As mentioned, SoTBS was originally #1 of 3 books, before Trilogy Creep Syndrome set in. I hope the story doesn’t get stretched out too far, because I want to find out how it ends, damn it! There is the distinct impression that the story Correia is telling is going to be epic enough to withstand the expansion, but…I really like this story. What is the story?

So.

20-year veteran, Senior Protector Ashok Vadal is one of if not the most dangerous men on Lok. Not only is he a scion of the powerful and respected Vadal House, a Protector gifted with superhuman abilities, not only trained to the peak of physical ability and combat skill, not only above the law and tasked with enforcing it as the most famous member of an order of right hard bastards–Ashok is also the wielder of the mighty ancestor blade Angruvadal. Ancestor blades, made of the mysterious black steel, can cut through steel and demon hide, cleave all four legs off a galloping horse, and, moreover contain the memories and instincts of every warrior who has borne them previously and can guide the muscles and mind of its present wielder to victory….or can savagely punish the unworthy who dare set hand on it.

Ashok was judged worthy as a small child and has lived his life in the Protector Order ever since. How could a man who never lies, who never feels fear, who is wholly devoted to the Law, be unworthy? And why could his mentor, the man whom he trusted and loved as more than his own father, tell him that his life is a shameful falsehood, a disgraceful lie.

Ashok is given a choice: become Lord Protector, head of the Order and continue to live a life of fame, valor, and value…or open a letter that will reveal his past to him and reveal the truth.

Ashok chooses honesty. (Ashok, it transpires,ย didn’t have a choice).

The disgraceful secret the Protectors have kept for twenty years? Ashok isn’t a man. Ashok isn’t even a human being. Far from being son of the First Caste, the rulers, movers, and shakers…he is actually a casteless. Legally, less than the tools used to till the fields; practically, of less value than the animals used to pull the plow. Although Angruvadal chose him, the utter shame of the choice meant that House Vadal had his mind magically wiped to remove all memory of his casteless origins, deep compulsions implanted in him–rendering him literally fearless and utterly devoted to the law–and he was sent to the Protectors as a mere child in hopes that he would soon die. Oh, and his mother was murdered as part of the cover-up.

Ashok, after delivering a fairly gory reckoning to the people who have committed this injustice and this sin, checks himself into the nearest prison to await trial and sentencing. (Remember what we said about devoted to the Law? Ashok walks the walk…notย only because he’s been brainwashed for his entire life.)

Unfortunately, what Ashok gets instead of justice is Omand, the Chief Inquisitor. Omand is seriously bad news. For one, he’s planning a genocide against the casteless…as a stepping stone to whatever his evil plan actually is. Step 1 involves creating a reason for his genocide to continue. Step 2 is ordering Ashok to join with the casteless rebellion and make it into enough of a threat to justify continent-wide genocide.

The implication is that Omand is going to get a horrible surprise about just how clever he isn’t a book or two down the road.

Ashok obediently escapes from prison to find and join the rebellion. He finds–or is found–by Keta, Keeper of Names, and his hostile bodyguard Thera. They have been sent to judge his worthiness before he can be allowed into their ranks, or to meet the mysterious Prophet whom the rebels have rallied about–the Prophet who speaks with the voice of a Forgotten god and testifies that blood, seas and messes of it, are incoming…

But that’s not really a prophecy so much as an accurate observation, really.

And anyhow, yeah. I’m out of time and I need to put some content up that isn’t cat pictures.

Rated: It’s really good. Get it and read it and then tell all your friends.

6 thoughts on “Son of the Black Sword – Larry Correia – Book Review

  1. I’m pretty sure Correia’s updated info is that it is going to be a 5 book series? I’m waiting until it’s finished before diving in. I read this when it came out and then found out it wasn’t going to be a trilogy….

    Like

    1. Ah, so the Forgotten Warrior saga is definitely 5 books, then? I may have confused this one with Jim Butcher’s Cinder Spires, which has also expanded from a trilogy to a six book series but he hints *might* go all the way to 9 books if they sell well enough.

      I commend your patience and self-control at waiting for the series to finish! I devoured books 2 and 3 and *then* found out that it was going to be a series…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From the last couple of posts over at MonsterHunterNation I “think” he’s nailed it down to 5 books.

        I thought Cinder Spires was on indefinite hiatus? I loved the first book and would love to read more. Has Butcher talked about it?

        I’ve weaned myself off of reading incomplete series since my time with the Wheel of Time. After reading multiple books multiple times so I could just remember who was who, I decided my mental efforts were better at waiting. There’s enough books to tide me over, just have to remember that a series is going that I like ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hm. Well, I can live with five books ๐Ÿ™‚

        Noooo, Cinder Spires is in progress, as far as I know! Jim is supposed to be working on Book 2, The Olympian Affair, right about now.

        Re: ongoing series–that’s a doozy, because I personally really enjoy having something to look forward to–especially when life is being a little bit chaotic. Say, like there’s a global pandemic going on. But the waiting is *so* hard sometimes! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve been ignoring most of his updates for the Forgotten Warrior series, as it’s not finished ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Glad to hear Cinder Spires is still, at least in theory, alive. I really enjoyed the first book and was pretty disappointed when it didn’t continue on schedule.

        My tbr on my kindle is 100’ish books, my calibre tbr is 100-150, so I have plenty to keep me occupied while I wait. Plus, I like being stubborn and not getting things right away. Curmudgeonly ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s