House of Blades (The Traveler's Gate Trilogy, #1)House of Blades by Will Wight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know what I love about this book, heck the whole series? It is the Anti-Gary Stu. So often in the fantasy series, we encounter the dreaded Gary. Now that isn’t to say you can’t make a good book, or character even, out of Gary Stu, but if done wrong (or right maybe come to think about it) good ole Gary is just sickening. When at the age of 14 some kid is drop dead good-looking with morals out the waazoo and speaks like an elder of the tribe, I vomit in my mouth a little.

Recap: At the beginning of the story, we see the similar fantasy genre plot. Village gets attacked. Beings with powers are responsible. There is a war betwixt the beings of power. There is a prophecy in which one boy will end the war and save the world. Whew! Glad we got that over with.

Now for the good stuff. This book is not about our hero the prophetic boy of unreasoning power and the ultimate Gary Stu. That boy’s name is Alin and, quite frankly, is the vomitous mass the encompasses a sickening Gary Stu. He is good-looking, all-powerful, highly intelligent, and quite the moral character. All together, he is entirely too big for his britches. And he was meant to be! We aren’t supposed to vote for popular kid meets Messiah! Instead we fall for Simon. Simon does everything wrong. He has no power. He couldn’t save his parents from the attack that crippled his mom and killed his dad. He hides when he is initially scared. You know…the kid has common sense. He gets jealous and mean-spirited and ignores all instruction for his own goal.

And this Anti-Gary Stu is where we find the real story. He witnesses an attack on his parents when he is younger, and instead of fighting (he is a kid for cripes sake) he hides and witnesses a stranger kill those responsible. Years later an attack on his village reveals the boy who is going to save the world; and that boy is not him. So enraged at the injustice and wanting to avenge his family and make up for hiding, he seeks the stranger to teach him how to fight. Instead he finds someone else who doesn’t even fight himself, but never the less takes him under his wing. This turn of events takes Simon on a crazy ride where swords can travel a man between worlds and your home is no refuge at all. He sees the sinister side of the people who supposedly are all of Alin saving the world and is a key player in the war between all the different powers and realms.

I loved the story. It was a welcome relief to see a hero that stumbles along like the rest of us. He gets lost, confused, and has to earn everything he gets.

They folded clothes, dusted shelves, polished swords; except for the periodic murder attempts, they were perfect hosts.

I would have given it more stars, but the prose was the real weakness here. While not difficult to read the story, it just didn’t flow quite right for me. Internal thoughts seemed choppy and dialogue seemed a bit forced at times. All together it had a fantastic plot but I’d need a bit more silk in the prose before I could give it a four or five-star rating.