Soulbrand: Weapons and Wielders, Book 3 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The Tournament of the Sacred Sword sounded like exactly the type of thing Keras would enjoy: a series of challenges for thousands of contestants seeking a chance to fight for the Sacred Sword of Earth.
He knew there would be challenges. It wouldn’t be a high-stakes tournament without a few high-profile assassinations and mysterious murders, after all. But Keras wasn’t ready to run into someone from his homeland, and he certainly wasn’t prepared for the revelations that came from their confrontation.
Still reeling from the strange revelations of their meeting, Keras plunges back into the fight, preparing for the battle royale - a massive free-for-all contest outside of the scope of the standard tournament rounds. When the consequences of that match tear at the bonds between his allies, he’ll have to face new challenges alone.
Satoshi Muramasa, the strange swordsman from the distant kingdom of Artinia. Crown Princess Edria Song, the Wielder of Diamantine. Ishyeal Dawnsglow, the Wielder of Soulbrand.
When their blades clash, the heart of the world will tremble.
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|Listening Length||26 hours and 13 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||November 23, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,324 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#21 in Paranormal Fantasy
#56 in Action & Adventure Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#110 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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Andrew Rowe is such a talented author; what the heck happened here?
This story could have been solved in half a chapter if all the people involved had sat around a table with pen a paper and talked, like regular humans of above 11. Instead, they collectively decide separately to stupidly try to drown themself in a fake “**Popular guys have emo vibe crisis: I'm deep and there is no drama like my drama.**”
Point to Keras for spending all three books trying to get someone to talk. Until, of course, he became wanna be fake emo too.
Half the book could have been called “Do not talk to me! I’m dark and tormented” (add black eyeliner and violin music for effects ).
And the other half should be called “Bad Keras! How to get dominated and blinded by the traumas of your possessive and emotional manipulative sword.”
So are we to accept that this guy managed to survive to his late twenties with his “all solving superpower” sane and in good health, and now he falls in love with a sharp phallic object, and now she is like, “you are right; I can't save everybody if the cost is you mad me oh my beautiful sexy-sword.” This is like that other book where the guy was havening s_x with his donkey, but way worse, this is a freaking knife.
The other issue with the book is the story. It was going very solid and consistent until this book. Then bang! Time to set more plot lines for a sequel series and not solve the plot lines already open ever.
This guy is one of the most talented writers I follow; I'm sad this ended like this.
There's JRPG elements, but fun magic systems, poking fun of tropes, etc...but for additional oomph, there's a lot of very sensible, accepting, and quite frankly wise character interactions that are absent from so many books... and most importantly, I can't stress this enough - none of it feels even slightly forced, nor intrusive.
Andrew Rowe mastered this genre with his work and Soulbrand is one of his best pieces of writing so far. If you’re reading this review in hopes of finding a good series, check his website and see how he draws out the reading series (I’ve listened in many different orders, I find starting with Sufficiently Advanced Magic to be the best although when I originally started it was with the Broken Mirrors trilogy and it was still wonderful).
If you’re looking for a review of Soulbrand and a fan of the series, you already know it is going to answer a ton of questions and leave you at the end wanting answers to even more! There is no true cliff hanger, it is an “Andrew ending” that will definitely allow us to begin the next series with a great starting point.
The characters have significant growth per usual, the fluidity in sexuality and gender is a high point to the author for his inclusivity in this book as he did it many times throughout the novel very discreetly. It was written with open-minded characters and I wish more children had access to books that were so entertaining and yet so “not in your face” about their openness as this series. I know it isn’t a focal point (the fight scenes, weapon cataloging, and characters were amazing in this series — as well as answered back story questions) but the way Rowe writes about characters preferences and descriptions is so wholeheartedly amazing. You rock, man. And to the rest of you, go read this book. Go read the series. Join us on discord. And then get on Reddit and tell us all your theories and questions!
Top reviews from other countries
I did have one big issues with this third book though. Dawn, never liked her as a character. As a weapon she is great just don’t liked her personality. This was fine as I accept I won’t identify and think, hey I could hang out with this person regarding everyone. That’s ok. However in this volume she became sooooo whiney I nearly stopped reading because Keras did too!!! Between 40-50% it just went on and on and on AND ON and I thought, just bloody sell her and be done! I am a huge fan of Rowe but this section nearly pushed me over the edge. Sorry, it did. Was not fun to read and I found myself skim reading thinking when will it end. I really hope never to see endless whining again like this in your books. It took the Sara Cadence syndrome to a whole other level.
Assured from that I want to finish with that I did like the book and if you can slog through that part you will too!
Amazing story, lovely characters, super exciting fights, there just that sadness because you know how it ends.
10/10, would recommend.
Rowe tries to add some more depth to the charters but he is not yet good at getting the whole sorrow, sadness, strife and betrayal bit across. This is mostly because of the pacing, as typical for Rowe, everything happens fast, one thing immediately followed by another, it did not feel as though the characters were really as affected by some of the things that happened as they should be or at least the style of writing and the vocabulary used did not reflect it, in my opinion.
It really lacks the depth of emotion found in WoT or Storm light, sure its very light hearted and Rowe likes to flit between things really fast, therefore nothing that the characters feel radically chamges the story. Mostly its a storyline played out by some cool charcters rather than charaters living in a real world where emotions and inner covictions determine their choices.
Aside from the character work, the plot seems very formulaic, with predicable arcs of tension and the over-used trope of : Keras fights in not very meaningful fight and is really worn down ...oh look an even stronger enemy has appeared, looks like the last 10% of keras +plot armor will be enough for a win...
This is especially sad in terms of a potentially more complex played out villan (Akadi) who was set up as a lot more powerful than the final fight made him seem. I genuinely believe that there should have been a sacrifice, a personal cost to beating him for Keras. This coulve taken the lines of him falling to his darkness or needing to sacrifice a loved one in the process.
Generally i was a little thrown off by the weird power-scaling the power levels of charachters relative to each other was never very clear, which although not nessescarily a bad thing, really muddies the pay-off i feel from fights. It often feels a little plot driven, again charachters meeting the plot criteria rather than being at their sleves and then interacting based on what is happening around them and what the other characters are doing.
All in all its a very fun entertaining book that will get you turning the pages, but lacks the depth and pacing required to bring it onto a level with other books confronting the personal darkness theme (Evan Winters, Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan and the like)