Published: October 27, 2015
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
After the War of the Gods, the demons were cast out and fell to the world. Mankind was nearly eradicated by the seemingly unstoppable beasts, until the gods sent the great hero, Ramrowan, to save them. He united the tribes, gave them magic, and drove the demons into the sea. Yet as centuries passed, Gods and demons became myth and legend, and the people no longer believed. The Age of Law began.
Ashok Vadal has been chosen by a powerful ancient weapon to be its bearer. He is a Protector, the elite militant order of roving law enforcers. No one is more merciless in rooting out those who secretly practice the old ways. Everything is black or white, good or evil, until he discovers his entire life is a fraud. Ashok isn’t who he thinks he is, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, the consequences lead to rebellion, war—and destruction.
Son of the Black Sword was pleasantly surprising. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I chose this as my next audiobook, but Tim Gerard Reynolds can make anything sound good, so why not, right? Larry Correia was an author I hadn’t previously read or heard of, but is (unbeknownst to me at the time) known for his Monster Hunter series.
Ashok Vadal is a Protector, and impartial executor of the law and of the highest caste, but he is also the bearer of the ancestor blade named Angru’vadal. As such, he has the skills and knowledge of the fifty generations of previous sword bearers and is nigh unstoppable. Fortunate for everyone that he’s utterly dedicated to the law, eh? Ashok is a pawn in a much larger and more corrupt game than he realizes is being played and some significant (understatement) secrets have been kept from him about his past. These secrets are what ultimately drive him from the arm of the Protector order and into his new situation. Ashok was an intense MC- his dedication to justice, plus his battle prowess, and his honorable bearing gave him automatic hero status, though I did find his all consuming desire to uphold the law to be aggravating, but I am rationally inclined towards MCs that are morally grey. They seem more realistic to me, though I suppose the unquestioning zealot is just as likely.
Perhaps you may have guessed from the name and the mention of the castes, but Son of the Black Sword is influenced by Indian traditions and culture. I’ve read a scant few SFF books based off Indian culture and the last ones I can remember were Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs and City of Blades, so this was a rare treat for me. I enjoyed the world building and I like the idea of monstrous sea demons and having the best and safest cities in the desert. This is contrary to the usual portrayal of deserts as wastelands and water or the sea as the cradle of life.
Son of the Black Sword left me wanting more, so I obviously went and sought out the release date for book #2. I can’t wait to see where this story leads in the end and if you haven’t checked it out yet, do so because it was pretty awesome!