Monday, July 23, 2012

J. A. Pitts: Black Blade Blues

In his debut novel, J. A. Pitts reintroduces the reader the world of dragons and these are still the fire breathing type from the Norse mythical stories.

Sarah Beauhall is a black smith by trade and by passion. She loves the feel of the hammer in her hand as she mold and shapes metal into new objects. While working as a props manager on a movie, one of her beloved swords that she is broken and she feels the need to re-forge it if she wants to keep her job. However, re-forging the sword is about to change Sarah's life, as it causes a chain of events that will change the world as a Dragon that has long slept has felt the power of the sword and knows that is could disrupt the dragons happy existence. It now becomes a race for the sword as well as a race for Sarah to figure out what is happening in her life, and whether she able to be everything that she needs to be to survive and protect those around her.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it has been awhile since I have a read an urban fantasy book that featured dragons, and really who does not like Dragons? This book was a little bit of a slow starter as Pitts takes the time to set up the story, Sarah's background and struggle of trying to be okay with who she is. Once Pitts has set the stage, the book begins to move fairly fast that you do not want to put the book down as it turns into a fairly dark gritty urban fantasy a with medieval flare. It was interesting giving the dragons the ability to be shape shifters and take the form of humans, and as much as many of them have adapted to the modern times, the dragons are still the same at heart. Wanting to possess everything, wanting to have a fast amount of riches, and when you piss them off be prepared to be eaten or burned (and this happens even if they like you). It was also interesting how each Dragon had different territory and I thought that it was interesting that how Pitt used real news events that were attached to the dragons. For example the Dragon whose territory includes Vancouver, BC, was commented to have lost another pig farmer, who he used to cover up his kills. I think that this was a clever way to have the dragons included in modern times.

I really enjoyed that Pitts allowed many of his characters to get hurt both physically and mentally, he was not scared to have some of the characters that you begin to love get in the way of the evil in his novel. I think that Sarah was a very believable character. You could feel her struggle with trying to accept herself after coming from a very religious background that condemns homosexuality and that she herself was part of the individuals who spoke out against it even though that was who she was you can see how there would be a struggle for her when she meets the girl of her dreams, Katie. I like the progression of Katie and Sarah's relationship and the hardships that they have to endure, mainly because of Sarah's internal feeling of shame. I think the way she acts in several of the situations is very real or someone who is having this internal struggle. Yes, there are some sex scenes between Katie and Sarah but they are short, not drawn out or too descriptive. Additionally, I liked how Pitts portrayed Sarah as a "hero", or not wanting to be one and being scared of this fate that seems to have come her way. The way that Pitts had Sarah's first interaction with a dragon was awesome, and very true to how I think the majority of people would act (including myself, I mean it's a freaking Dragon, how would you react).

I like the "powers" or abilities that the sword gives Sarah, but there is a struggle for her to develop and get used to what the sword wants her to do. The sword speaks to her, but at times she does not want to do what the sword does. However, based upon a few events within the novel, you can tell that Sarah does not even have a grasp of what her abilities is or will be. You know that Pitts will be exploring these in the future novels.

My one complaint was the dream event at the end was kind of different/weird and I was not too sure where Pitts is planning on taking the events of that dream. I do not know how else to put it, just weird and a little bit confusing, therefore, I hope that Pitts is able to explain it further in the second book, as there are some very big foreshadowing going on in this moment and I did not know how to take the events that it is showing could come. I will say that some of the foreshadowing showed events that I did not picture this novel taking

This was a great urban fantasy debut, that was more than just Dragons in modern times, and I think it is sure to appeal to those who like their urban fantasy with a darker more gritty edge. Pitts and his Sarah Beauhall series is one to watch out for.


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