Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A Cloak of Blades by Isaac Sher: a book review ★★★★★

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Disclaimers: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Five stars! This great story delivered something I've never seen before.


Diverse, inclusive, and compelling.

Fusing the far-flung feel of a space western with fantasy races, A Cloak of Blades is an all-out symphony of science fantasy.

Exciting, funny, action-packed and heartfelt in turns, the story galavants through star systems and back-alley shootouts, and the graphic sex scenes feed into the plot without being gratuitous.

If you love the Dune saga and wish The Hobbit had more swashbuckling, this book is for you.

A delightful adventure!

- D.N.Frost, author of Tales of the Known World ★★★★★

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A Cloak of Blades by Isaac Sher is the first book in an ongoing series of Tales from Arcane Space, with at least one sequel planned and likely more.

This book was independently published in June of 2021, and I first connected with Isaac Sher on Twitter when we arranged to review each other's novels.

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A Cloak of Blades fuses the far-flung feel of a space western like Firefly with the classic races of epic fantasy. In a distant future where a scientific understanding of Arcane energy has replaced the magical superstitions of antiquity, elves and goblins live alongside humans and orcs, as well as Arcane Intelligences (A.I.), draconians, and other diverse races such as the mantis-like tientang and the furry sasqet.

Sher further combines futuristic combat with sigils for battle magic, enhancing swords and lasers alike with Arcane properties, and evoking ancient traditions of martial arts in an all-out symphony of science fantasy fusion.

This expansive universe is vibrant, alive with progressive cultures and rich with tragic history. Most colonies still bear the marks of a centuries-dead Hegemony bent on genocide, and gnomes have become sadistic reavers butchering their way through the galaxy. A pantheon of gods and their priesthoods add a very real magic to this tech-savvy world, making for diverse characters with a stunning array of powers and skills.

Action-packed and heartfelt in turns, A Cloak of Blades follows a crew of goodhearted mercenaries as they hunt down a hidden mystery and try to dodge trouble along the way. The graphic sex scenes feed into the plot, building tension and character dynamics without being gratiutous, and the characters' casual attitudes towards concepts like sexuality, interracial relations, and polygamy establish a groundwork for inclusion that would make the most progressive Trekkie proud.

Exciting, funny, and compelling, this delightful adventure galavants through star systems and ancient sects, back-alley shootouts and starship fire-fights, all while delivering a diverse cast from advanced cultures where unity does not undermine individuality. If you love the Dune saga and wish The Hobbit had more swashbuckling, this book is for you!

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