Review Blog

Feb 12 2019

The ember blade by Chris Wooding

cover image

Gollancz, 2018. 824 pages. Paperback. ISBN 9781473214859.
(Age: 15+) Recommended for advanced young adult readers. Two young boys living in an occupied Kingdom, are fighting to recover a stolen treasure of their people. The ember blade follows Aren and Cade, two young boys who are swept from their home village and sent to work as slaves in the prison mine. In a moment, their entire world is brought crashing down around them. Still, it isn't until they escape into the world beyond the prison walls that their epic adventure truly begins.
The strongest theme of this story is that of the brotherly bond between the two friends, shown through their lively banter and the actions that they take to protect one another. There is a strong sense of disbelief portrayed by Aren. Aren has always seen himself as the hero of the story and struggles to come to terms with how he can be wronged, even when he believes that he has done everything right. Cade has always been resentful of the Krodan people, but it is Aren who is affected most.
Wooding's writing is suspenseful and detailed, constructing beautiful mountainous landscapes, filled with medieval terrors and the cruel and unjust rulers of the occupying Krodan people. The story is filled with edge-of-your-seat action, and excellent, humorous dialogue between the characters. The magic in the story was the use of druidic arts, founded on faith in the Aspects (the Gods of the Ossian people) and an understanding of nature. It was an interesting twist on magic, and one that I found to be well constructed. The ember blade reads like an Arthurian classic, which as huge fan of Arthurian legend, I certainly enjoyed. A brilliant start to the trilogy.
Jake Morgan, Unley Libraries

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