There’s this thing that my body does in tense situations. I’ve noticed this about myself when I interact with the real world. A tremor in my left knee. A mild vibration, perhaps warming my legs for the flight in “fight or flight.” It is most troublesome when I’m watching a movie or show. The Walking Dead does it to me almost every episode. The wedding of Joffrey and Margaery kept my knee in action.
I bring this up because Traitor’s Blade, the first book of Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series, had the same effect. Despite the fact that I could pause the tension whenever I pleased, and that the tension was created by the imagery in my brain, my wife hated the nights I would read Traitor’s Blade in bed after she fell asleep, what with my bouncing knee and all. The imagery was that good. I could see each swash and stab of Falcio’s dual blades. This is probably a by-product of de Castell’s experience as a fight choreographer, which is just part of his diverse background. The tension brought on by a threesome of fighters left me emotionally wrought.
The text seemed daunting at more than 700 pages, but the story swept me in. It was 2:00 am before I physically made myself quit reading, and I couldn’t wait to pick up the book the next morning. I finished it within the week.
The thing I honestly hate about most Fantasy books is the forced complexity of the created world. (I’m looking at you R.R., both George and J.) While Traitor’s Blade had a few characters and places to keep track of, it’s no Russian novel. The important backstory is scattered throughout the chapters in asides that peak curiosity, and while the book fits squarely into the Fantasy genre, it is equally SciFi and Adventure.
Did I like the book? My only disappointment is that I have to wait for the next three novels to finish the story.
In fact, after finishing Traitor’s Blade, I did some research to see how long I’d have to wait for the next title. I noticed that Traitor’s Blade was already released in the UK and Canada in March, so there’s a lot of buzz about it. Many fanboys are probably eager to get their hands on a copy, so it will be worth keeping an eye out for these readers. They’d appreciate a pre-sell call.
As for me, I plan on calling in sick when the next book is released.
Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books | ISBN 9781623658090 | July 15, 2014)