Review Details

Review type: Book

Title: The Fireborne Blade

Author: Charlotte Bond

Publisher: TorDotCom

Release date: 28th May 2024

The Fireborne Blade

Reviewed by: Sarah Deeming

Other details: Kindle, £8.99

The Fireborne Blade by Charlotte Bond

Sarah Deeming

Once the King’s favourite, Maddileh is now a knight disgraced, searching for an opportunity to repair her tattered reputation. With her new squire, Petros, she is searching for the legendary dragon, the White Lady, the keeper of the Fireborne Blade, a mythological sword tempered in dragon fire. But dragons are tricky creatures. No two are the same with magic to manipulate, surrounded by the ghosts of their previous victims who are as dangerous as the dragons, and when they are killed, dragons often take their murderer with them. With the odds stacked against her and training a new squire as well, Maddileh may already be doomed to failure.

The Fireborne Blade is the first novella in an authentic sword and sorcery series. There are knights and squires, magicians and kings, dragons and ghosts, male dominance and strong-willed women determined to buck the trend. The story follows Maddileh exclusively as she has found the White Lady’s lair and navigates the dark lair. Everything moves along at a decent pace, with flashbacks to Maddihel’s

The story is told through three distinct sections, Maddileh’s past, her present, and excerpts from a magician’s scientific studies on dragons, their magic and what happens after they die. I loved these excerpts. They are full of subtle humour, with bravery only going so far and warnings of what dragons are capable of. For me, these sections, short as they are, do the world-building heavy lifting, giving us a world of scientist-like magicians, a structured hierarchy with the king at the top, and folklore. I wanted more of these sections, so I’m hopeful they will continue in the rest of the series.

The Fireborne Blade is a strong feminist story about forging a successful path in your chosen career, even if it is one dominated by men. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, with the major twist at the end being one that took me by surprise. I was expecting one thing without giving any spoilers, but I got something else and was pleasantly surprised.

Bond has had horror stories published previously, and I found it was in those moments of horror and tension that this book really shone, particularly the ghosts of the dragons’ victims who still haunt their lairs. They are trapped forever in their last moments, and if they attach themselves to a living body, they will kill the living, too. Bond captures the ghosts’ essence with poignancy, sympathy, and ruthlessness. I read a lot of horror, so I can be a little desensitised to things, but there was something about Bond’s clean sentences describing utter terror that made me shiver.

All in all, there is a lot of clever writing, brilliant descriptions and strong characters in The Fireborne Blade. Humorous, tragic, powerful, and emotive, I devoured the book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t wait for book 2 and not just because there is a picture of a cat dragon on the front. Very highly recommended.

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