Nightblade by Garrett Robinson was a reasonable fantasy novel. The protagonist is the teenaged Loren who suffers abuse at the hands of her father and dreams of escape. When she comes across the wizard Xian she promises to help him if he agrees to take her with him. She runs away from home with only a few supplies and a dagger that had belonged to her parents. Unfortunately, Xian is running from the authorities and, when he abandons her, she is those same authorities want to capture her for information. Every time she tries to get away from one group of people, it seems to land her in with another dangerous group.
There were a few things that annoyed me about this book and the main one was that Loren was naively trusting. The first couple of times, this could be forgiven but she never seems to learn. She continues to trust people she’s just met or to accept as truth the words of people who’ve betrayed her before. It was frustrating that she doesn’t ever seem to grow as a character.
There were a few little details that jumped out at me as I read and compromised the realism of the settings. At one point, Loren is learning to ride and is told not to sit so straight – she’s told to slouch lower. A five second google search will tell you that the advice given riders is the exact opposite. She also runs around for a long time with her bow strung. Again, a few seconds on google will tell you that wooden bows shouldn’t be kept strung. These sort of details are really minor but each one makes the story seem a little less real. It’s easier to accept wizards and magic if the rest of the world feels solid.
The story raises a number of questions as the book continues – largely around the dagger Loren carries, but also around why Xian is hiding, and the identities of several other characters. These answers are never given. I can understand leaving some mysteries for a sequel, but the book reached its ending without giving a satisfying conclusion or any answers to the most pressing questions. At least some semblance of an explanation should have been offered at the end.
It’s decent enough as a fantasy adventure, but nothing that leapt out as amazingly original. 3 stars.