Books : reviews

J. A. Pitts.
Black Blade Blues.
Tor. 2010

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 9 May 2011

Sarah Beauhall is a blacksmith, ekeing out a living shoeing horses by day, supplementing her income as a B-movie prop handler by night. When a ham-fisted actor breaks one of her swords, she decides to reforge it. What she doesn't know is that it is the legendary Norse sword Gram, or Fafnir's Bane: an unsuccessful attempt to reforge it will curse her forever; a successful reforging might be even worse, for it will turn her into a hero bent on slaying dragons. Like she doesn't already have enough problems making a living, and working out where she stands in her relationship with her girlfriend. Fortunately, she is also a member of the local SCA chapter, who she can call on for help.

This is an interesting modern-day take on the Norse legends, with dragons, Odin, Valkyries, and berserker swords. It's pacey but not fluffy (despite use of an important pink sweatsuit at one point): people suffer, people get hurt, good guys die. A good page turner. Be warned: although there is closure to one strand of the tale, there is clearly much more work for Sarah to do in future volumes.

J. A. Pitts.
Honeyed Words.
Tor. 2011

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 3 September 2012

Sarah Beauhall, blacksmith by day, fighter of dragons by night, is back. Still recovering from the traumatic incidents at the end of the previous book, Sarah has temporarily hung up her sword, and is desperately hoping it is all over. However, when a famous singer is kidnapped by dwarves in front of her eyes, and some street punk kids with strangely pointed ears pop into her life, things certainly haven't quietened down.

This is a bit choppier than the previous book, clearly leading to more events. There is a climax at the end, but the overall story isn't quite as cohesive as previously. However, it's clear that Sarah will be engaged in a lot more heroic events to come.

J. A. Pitts.
Forged in Fire.
Tor. 2012

Sarah Jane Beauhall thinks she’s getting her life in order. The blacksmith turned dragon slayer has it all figured out— little things like dealing with the political intrigue of the dragons who secretly run our world and learning to wield the magic that she has been given by none other than Odin, who has been fighting the dragons for millennia. And then there is the matter of coming to terms with who she is… and how to build a life with her partner, Katie.

All these things are forced into the background, however, when a magic-wielding serial killer starts prowling the Pacific Northwest. And all of his victims have ties to Sarah.

Sarah will have to unravel the web she finds closing around her as a powerful necromancer and a crazed blood cult known as the Dragon Liberation Front work to tear apart everything she holds dear.