Stuart Kenyon on January 28, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Having read a fair amount of fantasy books over the last few months, I can confidently say that BLACKGUARD ranks highly amongst its peers. My only regret is that I didn't read the preceding episodes in the THE BLUE DRAGON'S GEAS series. Of course, I can remedy this and will do so at the first opportunity, because this is storytelling of a high standard. Reading other reviews, I see that others have pointed to grammatical concerns, but these do not detract from the overall experience.
To me, world-building is always crucial in any speculative fiction. Author Ms Matthynssens has constructed an complex, beguiling universe, one which I plan to explore more closely. Our protagonist, Alador, finds himself in a heartless world where the strong prosper and the weak are destroyed. If he is to survive and prosper, he must learn new skills, and quickly. I'm a sucker for underdogs, so I loved Alador's personal story. Also, I'm a big fan of political intrigue, and this novel is replete with Machiavellian schemes and dastardly enemies. The plot is intricate, the characterisation astute; there are no real weaknesses. Pacing is perfect, and although this book is close to 500 pages, it read quickly; the pages turned themselves.
If you're into imaginative fantasy with fantastical creatures, dragons and intrigue, THE BLACKGUARD is the book for you. Judging by the plethora of positive reviews garnered by the other episodes in the series, Ms Matthynssens has created a world of Tolkien-esque proportions, with thousands of pages of fantasy excellence on offer. Based on this novel, I recommend you give THE BLUE DRAGON GEAS series a try.