Blade Song by J. C. Daniels
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban fantasy
E-book: 257 pages
Publisher: Shiloh Walker, Inc.
Release date: August 1, 2012
Series: Colbana Files #1
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed by: Jenn
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 (a.k.a. J. C. Daniels) is one of those authors who’s been on my radar for a while but I’ve never actually tried, but with BLADE SONG, I could resist no longer! I'm a sucker for strong heroines, daunting tasks, and clever dialogue and BLADE SONG has all this and more.
Kitasa Colbana is one of my favourite new characters of the year. She's got all the hallmarks of a great urban fantasy heroine -- martial skills, a dark past, a strong sense of honour, a quick mind -- and she lives in a very interesting world. In Kit's world, humans know about the creatures that go bump in the night and some people even flock to Orlando, Kit's town, to see what the local shapeshifer population can do. There's even an Assembly of Non-Humans who ostensibly run the non-human populations. As part of a dying race, Kit's not really on the humans' radar but the other supernaturals know her, though they may not know what she is: half-human and half-aneira (or half-Amazon). The aneira have some really neat abilities: they can go invisible, they can sense what other supernaturals are, they can call their weapons to them, and weapons speak to them. In short, their skills give them the ability to be the best assassins, thieves, and hunters. These aren't the abilities we normally see in urban fantasy and I love that J. C. Daniels brings us a heroine with a slightly different flavour. Especially since, being a half breed, Kit was despised by her aneira family, though she's been making her own way in the world since she ran away from her family, and doing quite well up until this point.
Enter this case and Damon, the cat who brings it to her. He starts off as a major d-bag (there really is no other word for it) but he really grew on me -- and Kit -- over the course of BLADE SONG. Damon oozes alpha male for most of the story and it makes him a good if exceptionally frustrating partner for Kit. He and Kit remind me a lot of Kate and Curran from Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. Their relationship has that same tug-of-war feeling and the leads in both series exhibit similar traits. This doesn't mean that BLADE SONG is a remake of MAGIC BITES or anything like that. It's supposed to be a compliment: both worlds are filled with strong characters, creative world building, and plots that will keep you hooked. It just so happens that both of the female protagonists are hell-on-wheels with swords and both men are cats who come off as jerks but end up being quite irresistible. =)
I really enjoyed the main plot line of BLADE SONG. It starts off with a sort of simple mission: to find a missing shifter kid. And then it spirals into a larger mystery, involving a bunch of missing non-human kids. I loved the way the plot unfolded. I was hooked just as soon as Kit was and I was so wrapped up in the story I didn't even want to guess who the bad guy was. I wanted to discover it along with Kit. It's a well written mystery and I read BLADE SONG in a single evening because I needed to know who was behind the missing kids and what was going to happen to him/her when Kit and Damon figured it out.
BLADE SONG has everything I love in an urban fantasy – plucky heroine with major skills, broody love interest, high stakes, fast-paced action and great dialogue. The intensity keeps up throughout the entire novel and I’m absolutely dying to see where Kit goes next after the events of the final pages. I'd recommend this book wholeheartedly to fans of the Kate Daniels series, not just because they're both about fierce ladies with swords but because they're both strongly written stories with a lot of heart.