Black Blade Blues
TOR (384pp, $7.99, April 2011 Mass Market)
Reviewed by Beth Dawkins
Sarah, the protagonist of J.A. Pitts’ Black Blade Blues, is a twenty something blacksmith and props manager for a movie set. She works two jobs to pay her bills and student loans. On the movie set the lead man breaks her one-of-a-kind sword, and she decides to fix it. A man who claims to be a dwarf decides to help, and so the blade is reforged. The dwarf also insists that she must use it to kill a dragon, who is also an investment banker. After the blade it put back together, things start to fall apart for Sarah. Firstly, when things get serious with her girlfriend Katie, and then with her working relationships, everything dips out of control until Sarah is forced to acknowledge — and deal with — the paranormal aspects that are going on around her.
Sarah is a multi-layered character. She has anger problems, and is dealing with her sexuality. She doesn’t want to be openly gay with her girlfriend Katie, but she wants to be in a relationship with her. She doesn’t acknowledge the paranormal things that happen around her until she is forced to, and by that time her process of dealing with them is violent. After the sword is reforged, earthquakes start, and a homeless man who could be Odin starts babbling to Sarah. Instead of paying attention, her mind is more on Katie. After she has an argument with Katie, she sees a dragon for the first time and is so wrapped up in what might be going on around her (the paranormal), she doesn’t make time to talk things out. There are some scenes towards the end where friends make a few jokes, and though danger is immediate, and the reader is told that Sarah only wants to kill, she still laughs. I wanted her either friendly or brooding; instead she is a middle ground character that was hard to identify with.