The Living Blade series by Timandra Whitecastle

A Spoiler Free look at a Fantastic Dark Fantasy Series

I recently had the pleasure of reading this series back to back straight through and enjoyed every minute. This is a hidden gem and deserves much greater attention. I’ll present a bit on each below. Grimdark readers will enjoy this and I for one will be recommending it often.

Touch of Iron (The Living Blade – Book One)58440102_568295853659951_5039879508920893440_n

In this high fantasy, you’ll find a unique set of main characters thrown together by fate. Noraya and her twin brother Owen have a special bond, but twins are considered bad omens, cursed by the God of death, and many are left to die soon after birth. When they flee their home to save their own lives and Nora’s impending marriage, they stumble into Bashan and his guide, Master Telen Diaz. Bashan is a banished prince who seeks The Living Blade to retake his throne. The Blade is a very dangerous and powerful weapon, although it will usually drive its wielder insane. Forged by gods long dead, it lives within whomever wields it, and to become the wielder, it requires a willing sacrifice, someone willing to give their life for it’s creation. It’s capable of massive destruction, leveling armies and cities alike.
Owen quickly decides he must become a pilgrim like Diaz and join the quest. As they travel to the Shrine of the Wind, various characters become more and more vivid and some complex relationships result.
They journey on to the shrine of Shinar and the self appointed Queen seeress Suranna, a  high priestess of the Fire god Shinar,  who wishes the Blade in her control so she can tip the balance of power and resurrect her dead fire god. They seek her knowledge of the location of the Blade, but it will cost them dearly. Here, her hold over Diaz manifests itself completely. She is beautiful and cruel. She sees the blooming connection between Nora and Diaz, and uses it to attempt to destroy Nora.

This book contains graphic language and a good amount of sex, whether or not it is consensual. Some readers may not be able to enjoy reading about some of the graphic encounters. I wasn’t bothered by this at all. This a driving force in the plot and isn’t gratuitous window dressing. It changes the characters irrevocably.

There’s a crashing cliffhanger here and you’ll want to grab volume two immediately. Although the quest trope has been done to death, Timandra Whitecastle makes this fresh, new, and unique. A terrific voice for a strong female character who must suffer much to become the destiny she knows nothing about.
Blurb for Touch of Iron:
Is the Living Blade real or just a legend?
With it… Prince Bashan could win back his kingdom.
Master Telen Diaz can free himself of the burden from his past.
Owen Smith sees a once-in-a-lifetime chance to gain untold knowledge.
… but for Noraya Smith, the Living Blade will bring nothing but suffering and sorrow.
“Realistic, character-driven fantasy that manages to both sever limbs and warm the heart.” – Kirkus Reviews

On the Wheel (The Living Blade Book Two)58375826_435736247174280_601525227960139776_n

 

The quest continues, but now Nora firmly believes the Blade must be destroyed and Bashan must be thwarted in his attempt. A huge twist for her character creates tremendous tension.
The world building comes to the fore when other races of creatures become targets for destruction. Wights, Mermaids, and all of mankind.
Now comes the power of The Living Blade and our protagonists may not survive its devastation.
Another cliffhanger, but thankfully book three is right here waiting.

Mother of Slag (The Living Blade Book 3)

57504227_2294629430758115_6838522258122604544_n

The cover on this book is fantastic and caught my attention and admiration instantly. The author herself presented the cover reveal on The Fantasy Hive and in her own words says,
“THIS IS ART! ARTIST TOMMY ARNOLD PAINTED THIS COVER LADY AND SERIOUSLY, YOU COULD HANG THIS PIECE IN A GALLERY/ART MUSEUM SOMEWHERE! TITLES DESIGNER JAMES T EGAN OF BOOKFLY DESIGN FRAMED IT IN GOLD TOO AND I CAN’T EVEN” 

Very aptly put, yes?

In this final book, released recently on March 15, 2019, we witness the fallout from the Blade’s devastation upon our characters and the land itself. Lives are lost and Nora is changed again. The story progresses through her journey and we get a look at what is Queen Suranna’s back story in the chapters included named Seer. Within the section titled The Lover, we find Telen Diaz and witness his transformation as he puzzles out the secret of why their entire world is broken. It all comes back to The Living Blade and its power to destroy. A power which could set their world free of the disconnection of how the balance was meant to be, long ago.
Each volume was excellently done and the author gives us a satisfying ending. The series is a darkly violent tale that weaves a tale of story of transformation while the great characterizations keep the reader riveted and involved the entire way. Highly recommended dark fantasy.

  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1797891162
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: March 15, 2019
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07P7XSKF9
58378218_867435826941350_8304226955083907072_nAbout Timandra Whitecastle
Timandra Whitecastle lives in North Germany. She is a native speaker of both English and German.
Reading is an obsession that borders on compulsion most days.
Her short story “This War of Ours” has been nominated by the BSFA (Best Short Fiction 2018). You can find her other short fiction in various anthologies as well as in Grimdark Magazine.
Tim has never bothered to get a life because she feels like she’s been trying to lead three different ones already – and, yes, she totally stole that line from Terry Pratchett. Also, she’s partial to Mojitos and Baileys … er, just in case you meet her in a bar and want to buy her a drink, say. (She knows people don’t actually read author’s biographies, but feels mentioning this might be worth a shot … or two.)
Visit Timandra’s Amazon page where you can grab these beauties for yourself!
More by the author:
Short Fiction: The Lone Wolf Anthology, Undaunted Publishing Lost Lore. A Fantasy Anthology The Art of War. An Anthology for Charity Grimdark Magazine #16

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