Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Musings: The Sword-Edged Blonde

The Sword-Edged Blonde is the first novel in a fantasy-detective series by Alex Bledsoe centering on Eddie LaCrosse,  a former mercenary who now makes a living by finding missing princesses and solving other complex mysteries while trying to hide from his past.  This time, his best friend in the world, King Philip, asks for Eddie's help.  The king's wife, Rhiannon, has been accused of murdering their only son.  Only King Philip doesn't think she did it and wants Eddie to prove her innocence.  Eddie accepts the case, knowing that doing so will require him to confront all the demons from his past.

I haven't read other books in the "fantasy-mystery" sphere, but if this is an indication of what the genre mash-up can do, I am excited to try more.  Eddie LaCrosse reminded me of a young Marcus Didius Falco from Lindsey Davis's mystery series set in Ancient Rome.  He describes his cutting-edge sword, uses modern slang, has a dark past and still listens to his conscience.  It was entertaining to spend the space of a book with him, and I wouldn't mind getting to know him better.

I liked the way Eddie's story unfolds through the book, too- the many different perspectives that exist to describe the key moment in his past.  However, considering that Eddie spent thirteen years dealing with the aftermath of that one moment, I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out. All of a sudden, it seemed like he was lighter and happier and willing to try the whole happiness thing again.

For the most part, this book felt much more like a historical mystery than a fantasy mystery.  I think this is mainly because most of the time, it doesn't seem like Eddie LaCrosse believes in magic.  So he seems much more like a skeptical detective trying to find the logical way out of everything, rather than someone who lives in a world in which magic exists.  I hope as the series continues, the fantastical elements get fleshed out more and we learn more about the state of the world Eddie inhabits.

I enjoyed this book a lot, though I had some quibbles with it.  Pretty light quibbles, I admit.  I don't really like names like Eddie, Phil and Mike in a medieval fantasy setting- they don't fit in well to me.  I also have spent more time than I'd like to admit mulling over the title of this book.  I do not understand what The Sword-Edged Blonde means.  Bledsoe explains it in a blog post here, and I understand why he changed the title, but I still don't get it.  I don't think it makes much sense.  But I enjoyed my time with Eddie and I look forward to learning more about him through his future adventures!

Note:  I received this book for free to review.


  1. I am glad you liked this! I admit that based on reading the title alone, I didn't think that you would, and also wondered what this was doing on your blog! I haven't read any books in this genre, but I am intrigued by this one after having read your description and thoughts. It seems like it's got a lot of heft, and the fact that the main character is so likable really entices me. Thanks for the great review Aarti. This one is also going on my list!

  2. This sounds interesting. I am going to have to check into it. It's a bit different for me, too.

  3. I had gotten the Sword-Edge Blonde after reading so many rave reviews of it, and I have to say that I felt rather let down by it. It just didn't "wow"me the way it had expected to. By now it's been a while so I don't remember exactly what bothered me by I do remember having an issue with the way magic is used, particularly in the end, where it's conveniently whipped out to offer a solution to the mystery, while until then it had been pretty much left out. And the modern names also bothered me because they kept distracting me from the story.

  4. Fantasy mystery...eh, dunno if that is for me

  5. I liked it. I read it when it came out and I confess, it was the title that caught my eye. Sword edged blonde sounded much more deadly than blondes are normally portrayed.

  6. I had gotten the Sword-Edge Blonde after reading so many rave reviews of it, and I have to say that I felt rather let down by it. It just didn't "wow"me the way it had expected to


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