THE BARDS BLADE by Brian D. Anderson.
Tor Books. p/b. £13.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
Mariyah is the bookkeeper for her family’s wine business, thankfully for her father. He may be among the finest winemakers in Vylari but well-organised, he is not. Mariyah is good hearted and good natured, is loved and is in love with her sweetheart, Lem, the musician, and when the love of your life offers to give up his music, fame and traveling life for you, what else can you say?
Harvest festival in Olian Springs brings more than either Mariyah or Lem bargained for. For only the second time in history, a stranger has crossed the protective barrier into Vylari. It is said that once you have broken that magical wall you can never again go home. Which was why no one ever did.
For Lem, the situation becomes even more troubling when he learns that his own mother once crossed that barrier, and even more incredibly did so unharmed. With the arrival of the stranger comes a past he was unaware of and a future that will be forever changed.
The Bard’s Blade spends time with both of its young heroes following that harvest festival when everything changes beyond any control. Lem and Mariyah both are affable, determined when the need arises and well cast in the reluctant first steps of their newfound lives. The background of Vylari, its counterpart Lamoria and the magic linking them are revealed adequately slowly, creating mystery and questions aplenty.
It is Lamoria’s inhabitants and entanglements that hold the most strength in this first book in The Sorcerer’s Song series as Lem and Mariyah get caught up in dark schemes and unimaginable deeds. The worldbuilding could have painted a stronger visual picture of their surroundings but the ending and the promise of what is to come do not disappoint in this traditionally portrayed fantasy.