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Feature book: Blackbird Broken

13 January 2021

Blackbird Broken by Keri Arthur

Subgenre: urban fantasy
Release date: 26 Oct 2020
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 319 pages
RRP: $6.99 (ebook); $29.69 (print)

I prefer to give a good review and leave the reader to search out the book rather than give massive spoilers and I hope I’ve done that here. (Start with Blackbird Rising and follow it straight up with Blackbird Broken. The last book isn’t too far away and I have no doubt Keri Arthur will give us a thrilling third book.)

Gwen, Mo and the crew are at it again—lots of magic and mayhem. This story is sadder and darker than the first book but a lot happens and I had to read it twice for this review.

The second book in the Witch King’s Crown series (Blackbird Rising is the first) carries on the story strongly but more tightly this round—very family-oriented directionally. The Sword has been drawn from the Stone and no-one is sure if the drawer is on the side of good or evil!

Who is the Witch King? Who is on what side? Is it the ‘real’ Sword in the Stone or a fake? Where’s the real one of a particular artefact? What’s the real message carved in the Stone and the throne? So many little threads that all need to be pulled together.

But wait … there’s more.

The team must now refocus and search out artefacts to help them corral the power of the Witch King until they work out what’s going on and who’s in charge. There are more demons and dark elves with big powers to fight the good gals and guys. New critters are crawling out of Darkside and new gates are opening all over the place.

There is still a simmering tension (sexual and otherwise) between Gwen and Luc (Lancelot) so we get to laugh at their antics and manoeuvring. I have always loved the Guinevere and Lancelot story. This time around there is no Arthur (well, not so far anyway).

Grandma Mo is very cool as she calmly wields really powerful magic (we discovered in the last book she was one of only three remaining mages and had been alive for a very long time). Why not take the fight right to the front door of Darkside and put some truth and guard and follow spells on those near and dear to you? All in a day’s work.

Gwen’s awesome blades—Vita and Nex—get quite a workout very early in the story. She’s getting used to wielding their power and they react with her in a way that is totally unexpected. Then there’s a new power too … it’s really heating up.

Biting my nails … I read on only to be gutted by how close to home the betrayal seems. I am saddened and still reeling a little and the third book promises dark and unhappy times. I can’t wait.

Mo’s cryptic comments are opening up into some true education and family history for Gwen but is it too little too late? How does Gwen cope with all the changes suddenly coming at her? What are the right actions to take? Why won’t Luc give in to the super-hot attraction between them?

A real baddie from book one turns up and … it seems he’s pretty darned friendly with a family member who is knee deep in ‘wrong side river’. There is a new set of twins for us to get to know. Gwen’s two best friends and Mo’s love interest all play their part in getting towards the truth.

The story ends on a cliff-hanger and a reveal that you know is coming but can’t quite believe the twist in the old story. I very much enjoy the Arthurian legend and it is at the heart of this series but differently—and that’s a joy given how many times the tale has been told.

reviewed by Sharon

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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