With strength, wit, rakish charm, and a talking sword named Hrym, Rodrick has all the makings of a classic hero—except for the conscience. Instead, he and Hrym live a high life as scoundrels, pulling cons and parting the weak from their gold. When a mysterious woman invites them along on a quest into the frozen north in pursuit of a legendary artifact, it seems like a prime opportunity to make some easy coin—especially if there’s a chance for a double-cross. Along with a hooded priest and a half-elven tracker, the team sets forth into a land of monsters, bandits, and ancient magic. As the miles wear on, however, Rodrick’s companions begin acting steadily stranger, leading both man and sword to wonder what exactly they’ve gotten themselves into...
From Hugo Award-winner Tim Pratt, author of City of the Fallen Sky, comes a bold new tale of ice, magic, and questionable morality set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Rodrick is a rakish, raffish rogue, a dab hand with a blade and a con, who is partners with just about the most powerful magic sword in the whole region. Note I didn’t say “owns”- said sword is part of the duo/partnership/friendship of Hrym (the sword) and Roderick (the human rogue).
I really liked this touch. The two really acted like long term partners, with constant bickering and jokes (and you’ll get a few chuckles here and there too). It’s also nice to see a powerful magic item- not many characters in D&D/Frp Fantasy fiction are known for their powerful magic items.
I also really enjoyed the very realistic character of Roderick, who reminds me more than a bit of Cugel the Clever. Not a “good guy” nor a “bad guy” just a realistic guy out for the main chance and some gold. Roderick is not a super-swordsman (altho he does wield a super-sword), nor is he supernaturally fast, smart, lucky or anything. He’s just a regular clever guy who lucked into a partnership with a powerful magic item.
But his quest partners are anything but ‘regular”: Rod & Hrym get hired by a VERY mysterious and odd duo of sorcerer and cleric, who are weird, strange, eldritch and a host of other adjectives- except “normal”. How their mysteries unveil is part of the fun of this book.
And, another part of the fun is the overall ‘tone”. Tim Pratt, being a Hugo award winning author, didn’t feel the need to make this book “dark & gritty” as so many recent other Fantasy novels are. Instead the light tone- which doesn’t mean there aren’t some pretty dark and scary moments. In fact the real identity of the sorcerer and the ultimate plan of her priestly boss could cause a few nitemares. Really creepy & scary. It’s a tribute to the writing skills of the author that he manages to carry off a over all light in tone book but is able to segue into some terrifying and dark encounters so very easily.
Very readable, with plenty of action, banter, magic, mysteries and a great twist ending.
First Pathfinder Tales Novel. First Tim Pratt novel.
This was my first foray into the fiction of the world of Golarion, and I chose to make the little journey with my wife. Keeping this review simple... What makes this great is that it has your typical fantasy tropes. Scheming rogue, evil villains, and a complicated yet intriguing plot.
Then you throw in Starsky & Hutch.... But in this case, Starsky is a plotting rogue with a shortage of traditional morals. And Hutch? Hutch is a talking, magical sword. Need I say more?
Suffice to say, I was able to get my wife to invest time into reading a book that is a part of franchise fiction, which as a seasoned literary nerd... She would never do. And she enjoyed the witty and well timed comedic banter of the books likely anti-heroes the entire time through. We'd be happy to give Tim Pratt and Pathfinder Tales another go.
More so, we'd love to read about the further adventures of Hrym and Rodrick.
Liar's Blade main strengths are dialogue and character. Roderick and Hrym's (how do you pronounce that, anyway?) banter makes for a fast, engaging "buddy-movie" fantasy story, where if you had told me it was written by Joss Whedon I wouldn't have called you a liar.
The thing that makes it truly stand out amongst fantasy novels, though, is a protagonist (and his wielder) who thinks like a gamer.
Sure, he's a loveable, rougish anti-hero, but he's also always looking for the next twist along with the reader, and you never feel like he's holding the idiot ball for the sake of the plot.
For everyone who's ever listened to a room full of players trying to out-guess the adventure, and wondered why the characters in most books, TV and movies don't, this book's for you.
Alright, finished this up and I enjoyed it quite a lot. I think I'm joining with the others in saying that the Pathfinder Tales line needs less anti-heroes and more real heroes... but at least this time it was one heck of an anti-hero.
Also: Have no doubt, the banter is the main attraction of this book, and it is wonderful.
You can also tell that Tim Pratt knew gamers were going to read this book. The main character isn't so dumb as to fall for the obvious tricks, and makes plans and plots like way too many players would. It was honestly refreshing to knot really know what to expect or to have my expectations turned against me... but in a good way not a 'Got-cha' way!
Also, best part of the book is Magnos the Ash Lord shows up. Trust me.