A Dulled Blade
Blade of the Destroyer is pure video game material, from beginning to end. As a huge fan of video games, you would think I'd enjoy that. You would be wrong.
The Hunter is an immortal assassin. He moves among the populace of Voramis with dozens of disguises and kills for contracts. He's also motivated to murder by a supernatural dagger in his possession that whispers in his head to kill. However, a couple of contracts put him in the path of forces even he can't handle alone and he suddenly finds himself as one of the hunted.
Within the first couple chapters, I could tell that I was not going to enjoy Blade of the Destroyer. It was really hard to place at first, but it didn't take me too long to figure it out. It's a really clumsily written novel. The dialog is written in a way that no person would ever speak out loud. The world it's in is an array of basic fantasy tropes. Everything about it is predictable.
A lot of my problems with the book is with The Hunter himself. Of course, this character that murders without recourse is a dark, brooding sort that lives with the homeless population. And he can't be killed because all of his wounds regenerate, except for a single particular weakness. He can't remember his history, so the reader doesn't need to know anything about him except that he's essentially invulnerable, kills a lot of people, and has some moral code in that there are some people he won't kill and ladies he won't bed.
Speaking of ladies, the number of women in this story who aren't nameless whores could be counted on one hand. One is a child, another is an old woman, none of them could be described as well-developed characters, and nearly all of them die violently and it's often in support of pushing The Hunter to action. I don't expect every novel I read to be particularly progressive, but Blade of the Destroyer is exceptionally unkind to women.
The best I could compare Blade of the Destroyer to is a video game. The Hunter murders his way through a predictable story to a violent conclusion, complete with huge lore dumps in the middle chapters to fill in the details of the world that should be woven throughout. This novel inherits one of the video game media's weaknesses in that it's a poorly written story. In video games, this is often easy to overlook because the game can have more going for it like engaging gameplay or beautifully rendered art. A poorly written novel isn't worth much at all, and Blade of the Destroyer is poorly written.
Baseline Assessment: 3/10
Penalties: -1 it's yet another story of male violence that fridges a woman to motivate its protagonist
Nerd Coefficient: 2/10 (really really bad)
POSTED BY: brian, sci-fi/fantasy/video game dork and contributor since 2014
Reference: Peloquin, Andy. Blade of the Destroyer [J. Ellington Ashton Press, 2015]