Review: Blade Song by J.C. Daniels
Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.
So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.
Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.
If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…
Shiloh Walker, writing under the pen name J.C. Daniels, introduced us to Kit Colbana almost two years ago in a short story “A Stroke of Dumb Luck”. Now in BLADE SONG, Walker takes us further into the world of the supernatural as Kit takes on the case of a missing were teen.
Kit is a half-sup member of the aneira – a warrior race of people imbued with natural speed and agility that are trained from the age of 6 to be assassins. Kit is widely despised for her half-human parentage especially by her grandmother -the aneira leader and Kit’s guardian. After suffering years of savage abuse. Kitt runs away at the age of 15.
Now 6 years later, Kit is working as a gun for hire. Stalked in her dreams by Jude, the vampire who aided her in “A Stroke of Dumb Luck”, Kit is increasingly wary of his hold on her.
In many ways, BLADE SONG is struggling to distinguish itself in the crowded world of urban fantasy novels. But most specifically – BLADE SONG needs to distinguish itself from the Ilona Andrews Magic Series and their heroine Kate Daniels. In many ways, Kit is a younger, more naive Kate Daniels. Kate and Kit are both raised by guardians and sent at a young age to attend specialized training schools. Excelling at sword skills, they both rebel from authority escaping from their perspective schools and ultimately establish themselves as private investigators. Romantically, they both fall for the unusually grey colored feline alphas of the local pack.
And while Daniels creates an interesting world and back story, she loses direction when she teams Kit with Damon. Damon is the local cat pack’s enforcer. Both physically intimidating and incredibly handsome, Damon is written as an overbearing and manipulative man. He is content to work for the packs psychotic alpha as long as it keeps his family safe. Towards the end of the story Kit will challenge Damon on this conformity in the face of cruelty provoking a drastic change in Damon’s character. I would have preferred a more gradual transformation or even none at all on his part and instead a transformation on Kit’s part.
This novel would have been more enjoyable for me without the Kit/Damon relationship. I found it difficult to warm up to Damon or to fully embrace Kit because I was too turned off by their relationship. His function is to primarly lumber menacingly around Kit while consistently using dialog that demeans her. She reciprocates by alternating between insulting him or lusting for him.
At two points in the story he physically confronts her and one of the episodes leaves her very hurt. I kept shaking my head wondering why Daniels chose to promote this kind of interaction – this abuse? Physically – Kit is considerably weaker and smaller than Damon which leads me to feel that any sort of fisticuffs between the two would be unevenly matched. But further – when a male resorts to a physical show of strength against a female in an effort to make a point – all the while calling her “stupid”and a “fool”, I tend to get turned off. It’s just not appealing to me.
To read this spoiler hover your mouse over the following paragraph.
“He reached for me. I lifted a hand to block but damn he was fast. A split second later, I was face down against the trunk of my car, the metal smashing against my cheek while one big arm crushed against my neck. His other hand jacked my wrist up high between my shoulder blades. My bones screamed and thanks to the pressure he had on my neck, the oxygen in my lungs dwindled down to nothing and panic tried to crowd in on me. Pain and dread gripped me ….. No. Not yet— I lay there, limp, fighting back the rush of fear. If I panicked, it would be worse. It would use up my oxygen and make it that much harder to fight when I had to. And, if I did fight, it would be worse— ……I battled back the terror, focused on the pain and called up anger. Anger grounded me. Focused me.
No fear, damn it. I could still breathe…barely…and he wasn’t trying to kill me. He just wanted me afraid while he yelled at me……My blood is noble. My heart is strong. My aim is true. I am aneira…my heart is strong— No fear, damn it. I could be drowning in it, and he damn well could smell it on me, but I sure as hell wouldn’t show it. As he leaned in closer, his mouth against my ear, I clenched my jaw.
“Listen, you little fool….He all but spat each word and I knew if he wanted, he could snap my neck in an instant. It was getting hard to breathe, too hard, and I could all but feel the warming in my palm as the magic that connected me to my blade started to waken. Then it was done. Damon loosened his hold and let me go. “Do you think you can get that into your fool head?” Shoving upright, I glared at him over my shoulder. “Go fuck yourself,” I rasped out and it was like I had to choke the words out through a fucking straw. My face throbbed; my wrist and arm weren’t feeling too much better, but my throat felt like it had been pulverized.
Burning hot with rage and humiliation, and yet somehow cold with fear…..One thing was certain.
He was enough of an ass that my long-dormant libido had settled back into complacency.
Hell, he might be on the same level of dangerous as Jude, but he was a few steps higher on the asshole meter.”
As the story unfolds, Daniels tries to make Damon more likeable but the damage is done. The dialogue between both characters is childish and immature. But for those fans who love the Jerricho Barrons type of lead male character, Damon will be right in line.
There are smexy parts in this novel but frankly they felt lukewarm.
On a final note, the version I received was an Advanced Readers Copy that included many typographical and formatting errors. Daniels says that these have been corrected in the final sale version. But – if they haven’t – it will be difficult to read the novel easily.
Overall – Daniels came up with a good idea and then botched the execution by miring her lead characters in the land of the emotionally underdeveloped. Further, her story holds uncanny similarities to the Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series overshadowing the interesting aneira storyline. The brightest spots were the moments when the witches were involved in the story.