Blades of the Old Empire - By Anna Kashina *Review* #COYER

Majat Code Series - Book 1 | Add to Goodreads
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Kara is a mercenary – a Diamond warrior, the best of the best, and a member of the notorious Majat Guild. When her tenure as protector to Prince Kythar comes to an end, custom dictates he accompany her back to her Guild to negotiate her continued protection.
But when they arrive they discover that the Prince’s sworn enemy, the Kaddim, have already paid the Guild to engage her services – to capture and hand over Kythar, himself.
A warrior brought up to respect both duty and honour, what happens when her sworn duty proves dishonourable?

For a book that advertises itself on the kick ass female Kara it was surprising to find the book revolve around the power and struggles of men. While the struggle of Kara is prominent we don't really get into her head, ever. All we know about Kara is that she is the object of Prince whatever his name and she is one of the highest ranking warriors in her faction. I wanted to wave my "I love this character" banner but I couldn't because the entire focus on Kara revolved around Prince whingey bags. She is SUCH a promising and complicated character and yet she is confined to LOVE INTEREST. WHY!? I understand the importance of the love story but it could have been part of a larger dynamic of Kara breaking through her emotional conditioning and beginning the journey to self discovery but no. I was so annoyed by this because I picked the book because of Kara and the possibility of her fricken' awesome character only to be disappointed with the lack of development.

There are a few female characters in a heavily male cast and the only other important female aside from Kara is Ellah. Ellah began as an annoying side character who just happened to be along for the trip but slowly developed into someone worth reading about. I became invested in her narrative arc which wasn't the easiest journey considering she is only a commoner and probably wasn't the best person to take on a quest. Despite this Ellah has an intense sense of loyalty, justice and perseverance. She never lets her inexperience be the reason others fail and continues to surprise those around her with brave actions. I absolutely adored Ellah by the end and was FURIOUS when she had to choose between love and her magic career. 


Ellah was so earnest and courageous but completely shy when it came to love. She loved that idiot Diamond so much and continued to see the good in him - followed him EVERYWHERE - despite him obviously just playing with her. I hated him for that because why would you string along a young girl with no experience for YOUR OWN AMUSEMENT!? Asshole. She was nothing but kind and defended him to others but he was being a douchebag jerk. Ellah deserved a strong, powerful and amazing man to think she was everything he wanted in a woman but instead she gets a manipulative jerk who makes her feel unworthy of such love. How dare he?! AND! How dare that woman tell Ellah that she is not deserving of a man like that NUMBSKULL! I hated that not only was Ellah rejected in a moment of huge courageousness but she gets beaten down by other characters saying why would Ellah entertain such a romance, can't she see he's better than her? No ELLAH is better than HIM. End of story. She gave her everything in this story to end up with the shitty happy ever after. No thank you.

Side note - I thought it was ridiculous that douchebag diamond is in love with someone else. Worst twist ever!


Overall, it wasn't a bad fantasy novel but it's not a kick ass female fantasy. The storyline was interesting and despite disliking almost all of the males for getting more page time than the ladies I liked it. The bad guys were more irritating than ominous which made for a strange good vs. evil dynamic. The romance is drawn out and not well developed beyond puppy love so if you were wanting intricate romance it's not here. In saying that it is strong on the fantasy plot so might be good for Young Adult Fiction. 

Copy received from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

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