• Redemption's Blade

  • After the War, Book 1
  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (188 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ten years ago, the renegade demigod known as the Kinslayer returned. His armies of monsters issued from the pits of the earth, spearheaded by his brutal Yorughan soldiers. He won every battle, leaving burnt earth and corruption behind. Thrones toppled and cities fell as he drove all before him. 

And then he died. 

A handful of lucky heroes and some traitors amongst his own, and the great Kinslayer was no more. Celestaine was one such hero and now she has tasked herself to correct the worst excesses of the Kinslayer and bring light back to her torn-up world. With two Yorughan companions she faces fanatics, war criminals, and the monsters and minions the Kinslayer left behind as the fragile alliances of the war break down into feuding, greed, and mistrust. 

The Kinslayer may be gone, but he cast a long shadow she may never truly escape.

©2018 Rebellion (P)2018 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

“Great pace, compelling characters, some serious ethical arguments to make, and amazing action scenes. And it’s startlingly fun.” (Tor.com)

What listeners say about Redemption's Blade

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The story of what happens after the epilogue.

Tchaikovsky’s superb skill and creativity kind of annoys me. The other two books of his that I have finished have been intensely original and compelling, and this trend continues in Redemption’s Blade.

This book ends up being what I expected the first Mistborn, The Final Empire, to be. While I love that book, I was always a little let down that it wasn’t really about the ‘what happens after.’ Thankfully this book now exists.

In its most basic form, Redemption’s Blade is a road trip across a classical fantasy world after the stereotypical dark lord has been defeated. It follows one of the slayers of the great evil along with a handful of companions, two of which that used to be the enemy’s soldiers. The focus is on the after-war sociology, politics, economy, psychology, and religion. You know, the things that should be boring, but in this setting are fascinating. There is action throughout so you shouldn’t feel like you’re reading a history book or anything stale like that. And let’s not forget character growth and the internal conflicts of survivors.

As always, of special note is that this book is self-contained. I believe it is going to be part of a series, but don’t let that scare you off, there is a clear beginning, middle, and end. I was satisfied with how it ended, but I can guarantee I’ll pick up any other books that are released in this series given how much I enjoy the world and style.

I recommend this book to any fans of fantasy, especially the ones that always wonder what happens after the last page of a fantasy epic.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent story, engrossing and some fun

If you read lots of fantasy/ adventure this book may stand out- it has elements you can find in other books but is ultimately different. The author tells a good story but it was the gradual revealing of the characters, their impressions and lessons that kept my interest. Tchaikovsky brought them to life for me and I wanted to know what happened to them.
And Nicola Barber brought even more depth to the story. Her performance is what makes me love audible books- engaging and memorable.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant

A heroic story told backwards and beautifully. The voice at first seems all wrong but by the end nothing else would have been right.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

terrible (nonexistent) volume leveling

The narrator varies volume...A LOT. This usually adds to the delivery in an audiobook in that it expands the narrator's range of inflection (imho), BUT NOT when someone forgets to run the gd finished audio through a gd volume leveler. In this audio book the narrator ping-pongs from barely-audible whisper (seriously) to "loud". It is aggravating af. The narrator is awesome; I love her style. But the post processing is a giant steaming pile of fail.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good story

Volume up and down made it hard to listen to. Constantly having to adjust controls. Good story though.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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“The war is over… Isn’t it?”

Imagine starting The Lord of the Rings after the war has ended, and Eowyn (shieldmaiden of Rohan) has taken up with two huge orcs (one of whom is her lover!), so they have to tell everyone they meet that 1) Sauron is dead, 2) the war is over, and 3) the orcs are with her. That’s a little like Redemption’s Blade: After the War (2018) by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

In Tchaikovsky’s novel, the Grand Alliance of free peoples was fighting a losing war against the semi-divine Kinslayer and his monstrous armies, when a small band of heroes sneaked into his fortress and, with some timely help from a couple turncoat torturers, killed the immortal being. After the enemy of the world is dead, what happens to his leaderless armies, minions, and monsters? What happens to the human Grand Alliance after the enemy who united it is gone? What happens to the damaged and displaced war refugees?

As the novel begins, Celestaine, the hero who killed the Kinslayer (with plenty of help, she wants to stress), is on a quest to try to right wrongs in the aftermath of the war. And her family/friends/comrades are two members of the Kinslayer’s most terrible minion race the Yorughan: Nedlam, an 8’+ tall female bruiser-fighter, and Heno, a 7’ heart-taker blood-magus, most feared and hated of all the Yorughan. Celestaine wants to find a way to restore flight to the Aethani people, whose wings the Kinslayer cut off. But how can she negotiate with former enemies or former allies bent on vengeance?

The quest centers on the rumored Crown of the Kinslayer, which combines various powerful magical jewels in a potent artifact of making and unmaking. Like Tolkien’s ring, it may not have a salubrious effect on the person who carries it or uses it even for good purposes. A merciless mysterious figure seems to have taken it and is leading Celestaine and co. into increasingly dangerous places and situations. Is he setting a trap for them or testing them?

The characters are interesting and convincing: Celestaine can’t be sure if she's trying to be a hero from guilt over having failed to save people during the war or from the need to stay relevant; her Yorughan lover Heno is a former magician torturer who freed Celestaine from the rack and helped her kill the Kinslayer and became her lover but is still eaten by anger and guilt; their Yorughan friend and companion Nedlam is a free spirit so puissant but so disobedient that her generals kept moving her from one army to another until she finally ended up in the Kinslayer’s fortress as an interrogator and now just wants to enjoy living; Amkulyah is a young Prince of the Aethani whose wings were amputated so young that he never actually flew but can use his excellent eyesight to be a formidable archer; Ralas is a bard who was repeatedly tortured, killed, and resurrected by the Kinslayer such that it's impossible for him to die or to heal; the Undefeated is a semi-divine Guardian who fled in fear from the Kinslayer and his armies during the war and who now wants to get a good reputation; and Doctors Catt and Fisher are clever, comical, and ethically ambiguous partners whose business is collecting, repairing, and trading magical artifacts and religious relics.

Tchaikovsky explores the psychology of heroes and villains and figures falling in between, economically creates a convincing and interesting world with Gods, Guardians, humans, and non-humans and their fraught history, and stretches the boundaries of what very different kinds of beings can accept in each other. He runs a science fiction angle through his epic fantasy, in the great variety of races and species of mortals, including some fishlike river people, some spiderlike forest people, and some unhappy and ever hungry denizens of other worlds whom the kinslayer transported to earth, not to mention the little four-armed Grenishmen and giant Yorughan, peoples who never had Guardians to guide and advise them.

Tchaikovsky obviously knows and likes Tolkienesque epic fantasy so that he can revivify genre tropes like motley fellowships, quests, and wizards. His depiction of Celestaine’s “infinitely sharp” sword is prime, as it too dangerously easily cuts through steel, stone, wood, and bone and even wears out dragon scale scabbards. He writes plenty of exciting genre action scenes, from small-scale skirmishes to a big boss fight.

His characters’ personalities and interactions are pointed, entertaining, and moving. He writes nice lines of dialogue:
“Little bastards will always follow a bigger one.”
“I like you. You can shoot someone in the eye in the middle of a fight in the dark.”
“I don't want to put you where you’d do things you're ashamed of.”
“The best lesson of life… only give power to those who don't want it.”

He does just enough description to make scenes vivid without overwriting. The following description is as fancy as he gets:
“Night came on swiftly in the Forinthi valleys, the sun clipping the edge of the hills and then vanishing, like a drowning man, leaving only the stars. The last streaks of gold were just dying as she walked up the slope to him, a dark shape on a dark hillside, enlivened only by the silvery flash of his hair and beard.”

The thrust of the book is towards tolerance, communication, and mercy against self-righteous justice and discrimination and hate. Perhaps the Kinslayer's most devastating action before he was killed was to separate the gods from mortals so that they have stopped communicating. But at one point in the novel, the gods may give a long-distance message like, “Now that it's only you, you must treat each other with kindness.” (Of course, that may be a con perpetrated by a roguish collector.) The appealing characters, like Celestaine, let go of grudges and prejudices and try to do something good in the world, while the least appealing ones, like the Liberator running a slave mine and some Templars performing public burnings, are out to pacify the world to suit their own intolerant visions.

Nicola Barber enhances the story while giving different voices for the male/female and human/nonhuman and young/old characters without straining. I love her voice for the giant Yorughan warrior Nedlam, sounding like a good-natured, simple, and wise girl.

Readers who like Tchaikovsky’s science fiction, like The Children of Time, or who like fresh, concise, standalone epic fantasy novels should like Redemption’s Blade.

1 person found this helpful

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a near-perfect balance.

Rarely have I ever seen such a brilliant example of World building, pacing, story arc, and character development so compellingly done. And so well-balanced.

1 person found this helpful

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Fun and interesting fantasy romp.

This is a fun little story about what happens after the Great Enemy is defeated in all those other epic fantasy books we love.

It's fun and a little meta. Its full of interesting concepts and excellent world building. The characters can be tropey and cliche, but that's clearly intentional, well executed and the characters are likeable and/or likeably hateable.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved this book just treat it like a standalone

I absolutely loved this book. It’s a well done exploration of what happens after the stereotypical fantasy evil overlord is defeated. I was surprised to see it was intended as a series but since I liked the first one so much I eagerly awaited the second book only to find out they are all planned to be done by other authors and haven’t been living up to the standard of this book.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Someones DND campaign with too much backstory

This is not the same author who did children of time. This is his alter ego dnd campaign. it seems to start like a critique of tropes and explore the after the fight scenario which was an interesting idea of reconciliation, or politics, or something unique. power grabbing? but 9 houra in the characters never really develope beyond the trope. and the plot ignores all the possibilities amd decides its just going to devolve into a McGuffin search with the player joing on for whatever thin reason. and its boring the action is stale, the plot seems to be picked up in the end of the story. but most of the writing is an info dump on what happened before when the irrationally evil evil super bad guy was being super evil to eveyone. and the characters sing a song so they have feelings too! i get a slow burn book. but 9 hours in and im giving up.