Here’s my standard disclaimer for most of my book reviews: I got a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. On to the review.
Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin is a dark fantasy story set in a medieval style world. The Hunter wanders his city not realizing he is lost until events force him to take a good hard look at his life. What he finds and the choices he makes lead him on a blood soaked mission to make changes.
I absolutely loved the world-building Peloquin did with this novel. It is evident that he put quite a bit of energy and thought into many of the details in his world, right down to why he chose the names he did for many aspects in the novel. For example, Bucellarii is a unit in the Roman army, which is fitting for the role they play in Blade of the Destroyer. Yet, Peloquin does not overwhelm with detail despite this effort at world-building. The details are doled out like bread crumbs, just enough to keep interest both sated and piqued at the same time.
Another piece I loved about Blade of the Destroyer is that Peloquin did an excellent job with the pacing. To me, it is an easy trap to fall into when putting as much effort into the details as Peloquin did, but he does a nice job of keeping the pacing to the story on point. Events roll along quickly, but not out of control.
Finally, I also enjoyed the multiple layers to the story. What seemed like a straight forward story became a complex and dynamic story. Peloquin leaves tantalizing hints about what’s to come without giving much of his hand away. Plus, this is the first book in the series, which means not all of the hints are resolved by the end of the book. Even so, Peloquin did a good job of wrapping up the story arc in this novel while leaving the larger arc open for the next book.
One thing that bothered me was that, at times, Peloquin belabored a point a bit too much. For example, The Hunter needed to play the part of an aristocrat, which he has done before. However, The Hunter hates the aristocracy, so playing that part is distasteful to him. During these scenes in the book, this point is hammered home a little more than necessary to me. Peloquin seems to pull back some from this as the book progresses, which was nice to see.
The other thing I didn’t like as much, and is probably more of a snobby nitpick than a true flaw in the book, is the end. The bad guy, and no I’m not going to ruin the surprise, ends up giving this monologue about The Hunter and how bad The Hunter screwed up, etc. Now, to be fair, it is not a straight monologue. Peloquin did break it up some. To me, though, it still felt like the bad guy monologue trope that is wearing thin. It would have been nice to see that worked in a little more than it was.
Overall, I immensely enjoyed this book. It gets bloody and goes in some rather unpleasant directions. It certainly fits the dark fantasy/horror end of speculative fiction. I think the good things outweigh any nitpicks hands down. For anyone who enjoys this particular genre, pick up this book and read it. You won’t regret it. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.