5bat! Review: Black Blade Blues (Sarah Jane Beauhall #1) by J.A. Pitts

March 20, 2015 Review 0

5bat! Review: Black Blade Blues (Sarah Jane Beauhall #1) by J.A. PittsBlack Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts
Narrator: Erin Bennett
Series: Sarah Jane Beauhall #1
Published by Tor on April 22, 2010
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 400
Length: 13 hours and 56 minutes
Source: Personal Copy
Sexual Content: Kissing and references to sex
Reviewed by: James
5 Stars

Sarah Beauhall has more on her plate than most twenty-somethings: day job as a blacksmith, night job as a props manager for low-budget movies, and her free time is spent fighting in a medieval re-enactment group.

The lead actor breaks Sarah’s favorite one-of-a-kind sword, and to avoid reshooting scenes, Sarah agrees to repair the blade. One of the extras, who claims to be a dwarf, offers to help. And that’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as the "dwarf" claims? Are dragons really living among us as shapeshifters?

And as if things weren’t surreal enough, Sarah’s girlfriend Katie breaks out the dreaded phrase… “I love you.” As her life begins to fall apart, first her relationship with Katie, then her job at the movie studio, and finally her blacksmithing career, Sarah hits rock bottom. It is at this moment, when she has lost everything she has prized, that one of the dragons makes their move.

And suddenly what was unthinkable becomes all too real…and Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine who is needed to save her world.

What more could you want in a main character? A skilled female blacksmith, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms, and she wears Doc Martens. Along with a great main character there is a great story in BLACK BLADE BLUES filled with Norse mythology, dragons, and ancient swords reforged.

I love the characters in BLACK BLADE BLUES. I already mentioned a lot of the awesome things about Sarah, but what I love the most about her is how flawed she is. It’s always fun to see a character start out kicking butt and taking names, but it’s even better to see a character struggle and develop before she starts taking out the bad guys. All that being said, Sarah has a lot of issues to work through and a lot of this book is spent in developing her character. The action doesn’t really pick up until the last quarter of the book.

Once the action does get going it’s almost non-stop. J.A. Pitts writes amazing, detailed battle scenes. I also found them to be refreshingly realistic. Most of the characters in BLACK BLADE BLUES are only just finding out about monsters, so even though they’re part of the SCA they aren’t battle hardened fighters. This means that quite a few people die in the final battle scene. It’s always painful to see characters die, but at the same time I’ve gotten tired of the super human monster hunters that rarely make fatal mistakes.

So this was my first time listening to this book, but I’ve read the series before. One of the things I look for in a five bat book is a story that only gets better with each reread. BLACK BLADE BLUES definitely fits that criteria. Even though I knew just how it was going to turn out, I still cringed at Sarah’s poor decisions, enjoyed the happy moments, while dreading the awful moments ahead. Black Blade Blues is an amazing start to one of my favorite series.

Notes on Audiobook: J.A. Pitts tells BLACK BLADE BLUES through the first person perspective of Sarah, but there are a handful of chapters that are told from the third person perspective of some of Sarah’s friends. I didn’t have a problem following the transitions in the print version, but it did throw me off a couple of times during the audiobook. I don’t think that’s the fault of the narrator just part of J.A. Pitts writing style. Erin Bennet did a great job of bringing the characters to life through her wide vocal range and narrated BLACK BLADE BLUES amazingly.


Series Titles:
  1. Black Blade Blues
  2. Honeyed Words
  3. Forged in Fire
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