The best thing I could say about The Waterborne Blade was that it was pretty inoffensive. That said, the lead women faces several sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults so your mileage may vary on that. Because what better way to point out how bad the bad guy is than by including a flashback in which he presses himself onto the lead player in their childhood (or teens, somewhere in the past at any rate).
The fact is at the seventy percent mark I just couldn’t go on, the book was pointless and after a lackluster but readable start was starting to stretch my good will for things that don’t go anywhere.
Look, a book has to have something that defines it, right? Sometimes a great read has incredibly prose that masks a slower premise. Safe to say no one will be raving about the prose here though.
Sometimes the characters just jump of the page. But cardboard cutout is the better description this time around. A king who disappears from the page. A soon to be queen who has a gift but refuses to embrace it until *lightbulb* and then she does. And a wandering badass disgruntled guard who tries to be several fantasy tropes and ultimately succeeds in none. Plus the bad guy. Has to be a bad guy, right? But said bad guy should be interesting and this one is not. So no, The Waterborne Blade is not an amazing character study.
So that leaves plot. Nothing wrong with a plot driven novel. I can forgive a whole lot of, well, everything for some well written plotting that keeps me on the edge. Also not to be found here though. Sadly, that is three strikes and the full explanation of why I decided to be out.
This book leaves big events off the page and confuses movement for action. The actual fall of a kingdom early in the book takes place while the two main characters are on the run. A quick betrayal, a few rushed pages, and suddenly they are back in the kingdom in different circumstances. A rushed escape by one character and yet eventually the rubber band hits its end and SNAP, back he goes to the same damn kingdom one more time. Each character is always moving, or escaping, but never getting anywhere. This could have been pretty cool had it been an intentional theme; instead it just feels like an author desperate to keep characters doing something.
My final breaking point came from the way Weaver (lead male) treated Alwenna (lead female) and her gift. If magic is present in a world, and aspects of it can be seen on a regular basis (or in this case, real recently), then characters showing disbelief in said magic just doesn’t make sense.
Perhaps there was a big reveal in the end that brought it all around, always a risk when I DNF a read. But I was finding the whole thing pointless and just gave up.
Copy for review provided by publisher.