The Century Blade by Rob J Hayes: Review

I have had the first two books in the Mortal Techniques series, Never Die and Pawn’s Gambit on my physical TBR for months. The books in the Mortal Techniques series have always intrigued me as I’m personally fascinated by Asia and these books feel right at home in that continent even though they are set in a fictional world. The blurbs all sound fantastic and imaginative. Rob has kindly sent me his third book, Spirits of Vengeance.

Some information about this book:

  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release date: August 29th 2021
  • Page count: 29
  • Series: Standalone (The Mortal Techniques)

Book Cover

When Rob put out on Twitter earlier that this book was available and another standalone (meaning I could read it before reading anything else) and that it was almost a precursor to Spirits of Vengeance, which I’m reading before its release at the end of September…well who am I to turn down an offer like that?

This story isn’t very big and I wouldn’t class this as a novella or a mini-novella but with that being said, good things come in their own sizes and in this case it’s 29 pages of fantastic fiction.

The story starts with Yamasachi, a man who somehow offends the Dragon King. The Dragon King finds himself so annoyed with Yamasachi that he calls the other dragons to wipe out humans everywhere. Yamasachi manages to escape and leads us to our antagonist, Su An.

Yamasachi begs and pleads with Su An to kill the dragons and save humanity with a payment in gold or his life as a servant but Su An declines and says he will only accept on one condition: that he be forgotten.

Yamasachi agrees to forget this great warrior and Su An goes on to fight some of these dragons, enlisting the help of other strong warriors across the land and a goat, you mustn’t forget the goat!

I won’t spoil this fun story by telling you what happens but this is like a pump before the hang time in a skate bowl. It sets up Spirits of Vengeance perfectly for me and I’m lucky that my first entry into the Mortal Techniques world is this small package of joy, allowing me to really now get my teeth into SoV. Rob does a great job of building a world, creating territories, lore and magic in such a small space.

Rating 5/5 – It’s rare that I give a book 5 stars because I need a book to really capture my imagination and attention through a story so fun and exciting that I can’t put it down. I am actually amazed at how much Rob has squeezed into this and the one thing that really stood out for me was his prose. The whole book reads as if Master Oogway or Master Shifu from Kung-Fu Panda is telling a story and it’s fucking brilliant. I hope the rest of the Mortal Techniques books are the same.

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