Join American teens Megan and Lance as they cross the pond to battle wizards, supernatural soldiers and a secret society bent on world domination. Led by three bickering, old wizards, reviews say this “well-written and intricately plotted” modern day take on arthurian legend “will keep you up far past your bedtime.”
Five stars to Black Blade. It’s a cunningly wrought tale of teenage angst set against a believable backdrop of Arthurian legend.Publishers Daily Reviews
“Black Blade” is a YA fantasy adventure by Alexander Charalambides. It follows young hero Lance and his outgoing best friend Megan as they are thrown from the terrors of high school to a magical quest in Avalon.
Charalambides’ first book falls right in step in the tradition of Rick Riordan’s popular Percy Jackson, with its witty, down-to-earth dialogue, free indirect style, and loose fourth wall. The similarities drew me to the story immediately, and brought out the strongest part of the narrative: the characters.
Lance is the shining element of “Black Blade,” as I’m sure Charalambides intended. When his quest and enchanted weapon is thrust upon him, Lance charges fearlessly into battle, telling Megan, “Look…to be honest, I can’t say I figured this would happen, but it always felt like it should.”
Lance echoes the thought of any young person who has spent their days immersed in stories like his. He is meant for more. There’s adventure waiting for him; he knows it and he craves it. This should be enough to drive the narrative forward and keep Lance on his quest, but other elements are thrown in to further raise the stakes. Most of those decisions were unnecessary to me; they cluttered the lore of the the story and required too much exposition.
The voice does read more like a middle grade story than a YA one, until the introduction of three guide-like figures from Avalon, including one who compulsively curses her way through the book.
The introduction of these three raises other narrative issues, as well. The pace of “Black Blade” requires pithy explanations of events and an almost constant stream of dialogue, but with five regular characters, back and forth dialogue without speech tags quickly becomes confusing.
Charalambides begins POV shifts at this point too, without clarifying time or setting changes, or signifying the switches in any other way. The timeline becomes muddled here, but could easily be fixed with a format that indicated POV jumps. Clarifying these would further shore up the characters, and in turn drive the narrative forward. Everything is connected here, showing that “Black Blade” truly has potential, with clearer movement and cleaner copy.
I give “Black Blade” by Alexander Charalambides 4 / 5 stars. It’s an easy and entertaining read, full of colorful and well-developed characters.
“Black Blade” is now available for purchase on Amazon.Shelby Jo Reviews
Black Blade is a contemporary story about Lance, an American teenager who comes to the UK on a school visit. While touring a museum he and his friend Megan encounter a ghost and gain a magic sword plus three wizard mentors, Alberich the pyromancer, Rheinhardt whose entire family are at war and Agatha Kendrick, gun enthusiast and cat owner. Together they set off on a quest for the Holy Grail, something Lance seems to take n his stride. He has been chosen and of course he never stops to ask why or whether this whole quest thing is a good idea.
There are at least three stories in Black Blade, all carefully woven together. I really enjoyed the characters, (especially the occasionally vulgar Kendrick) there’s a genuine sense that they all have a past without slowing the story with too many details. and ’Old London’ where the quest takes place, is both vivid and original.
This is not your standard arthurian tale, but I enjoyed it and recommend it.Wivine - Amazon Reviewer
I really enjoyed the characters in this book as well as the author’s quirky sense of humor. When I first read the synopsis I was expecting something like Colour of Magic – Disc world #1 but Black Blade has a style entirely its own and though there is humor in it, the humor is dark.
Told from the point of view of three different characters, character ‘shifts’ are indicated in the text by a symbol rather than the characters name and all three have their own story to tell; Lance the hero, Marion the wizard and Megan the sensible sidekick. The three principal wizards, Kendrick, Reinhardt and Albrecht are all very different and it’s interesting after so many years of Harry Potter to see wizards at the other end of their lives. Magic, in the world of Black Blade, is an unforgiving master.
Having finished the book, one thing is certain; I want to read it over again. Agatha Kendrick could not be less like the wizards from Harry Potter’s world, but she may just be the wizard the world has been waiting for, it would be great to read about her in a sequel.Goodreads Reviewer