By: Evan Winter
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for almost two hundred years. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war.
Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance.
Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
This book truly had it all. A well-created world with well-crafted characters that had me laughing and crying and wailing and cheering. The perfect anti-hero we can’t help but love. A blend of tragedy and fortune, camaraderie, and villainy. As Blood Song made me love stories of sword brothers, Winter gives us another group to laugh and cry with. All with a pinch of magic that elevates military strategy to another level.
Rooting for the underdog is our favorite thing, and this book is chock full of that. The most savage thing I’ve ever read a character decide happens in this book, and from that moment on I could not put it down. While there were plenty of times I was wishing I could step in and intercede some rash decision, it never reached a point that turned the story. What a fine line that is. Can any of us truly describe it? I imagine it’s different for all of us. Why else would someone rate this book 1 star while I give it 5? 🙂 Whatever that line, Mr. Winter tread it perfectly and I can’t wait to re-read this book.
Buried beneath a suberbly crafted story is a great commentary on social structure and how those structures are an injustice to every citizen involved. How we too easily believe the lies of a majority, and most especially, believe the violent strength that maintains such structure. While the fight against systemic injustice is hard, while the decision to do evil for the sake of some greater good is easy, neither should be how we decide. History should be known, so we all understand where we come from and that no matter our gifts, we all have equal value in the whole.
Happy Reading 🙂