It’s been a couple years since Son of the Black Sword, by Larry Correia, came out. For those familiar with his Monster Hunter and Grimnoir Chronicles series, this is a complete departure from those. It is epic fantasy in every sense of the phrase, and it may be Correia’s best work to date.
Ashok is a Protector, tasked with enforcing and upholding the law. He also fights against incursions by the demons from the oceans surrounding the continent of Lok. After discovering a truth that changes his world, Ashok must leave the world he loves fight against those he used to protect. Through all of that, he must find a way to hold fast to his values even though almost everything he thought he knew turned out to be false.
I don’t want to give away too much because I found it a joy to discover this world as the story unfolded. Correia really hit his stride with Son of the Black Sword. The detailed and expansive story, with hints at far more than appears in this volume, guides the reader steadily through the experience. The world and its history are woven all through the story, revealing just enough to move things along.
Ashok does horrible things in the name of justice through his unswerving pursuit of obedience to the letter of the law. Yet Correia slowly reveals much more than robotic obedience to this character. Ashok has a keen mind, and he uses more and more of it as events unfold on his journey. He is one of my favorite protagonists in any book I’ve read. He is almost an anti-hero, and he certainly doesn’t want the role.
Tim Gerard Reynolds narrates wonderfully. His easy voice brought the characters to life, making each feel like a unique personality. I could imagine Reynolds as a live commentator reporting the Son of the Black Sword story as he watched it unfold. I really hope they keep him for the rest of the series. He made the experience unique.
Correia kept up a good pace throughout the story. Events flowed well from one to the next, and I never found any part of the story that felt unnecessary. I never felt confused, and everything made sense by the end of the book. While the ending had obvious hooks for the next volume, the story felt complete.
I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, House of Assassins, which should likely come out in late 2018 or early 2019. If you like solid epic fantasy along the lines of Brandon Sanderson or Brian Lee Durfee, this is the book for you. It manages to be deep and introspective while also having plenty of exciting adventure and action. I highly recommend Son of the Black Sword.
Release Date: October 27, 2015 (USA)
Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Print ISBNs: 1476780862 (9781476780863)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief, social)
Language: 1 (occasional, mostly minor)
Violence: 4 (brutal violence, graphic battle descriptions, much death)