Customer Reviews for

Sasha (Trial of Blood and Steel Series#1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended for anyone looking for an intelligent fantasy

    SASHA is an intelligent fantasy novel, one that requires focus to read. It is about an extremely well put-together world that is described in detail, and to truly enjoy reading it you have to work to understand the details presented by the author. I personally loved it; the characters are well developed and the story is fascinating. I also enjoyed that, unlike most fantasy books, there is not an overpowering romance to smother the strong female character. While there are elements of it, romance takes a backseat to the storyline and political intrigue.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Strong Characters, Difficult Plot

    Sasha is a bit of an oddity, it is hard to place it in a specific genre. It is almost a young adult coming of age story, but not quite. it has the feel, setting and sound of a fantasy story, but there are no elements of magic and no fantastic creatures in sight.

    Sasha is the apprentice of great swordsman Kessligh, daughter of the King and a woman of her own making. She simply does not care what others thing, she follows her own heart and mind and thinks little of the consequences her actions bring. I thought Sasha was an exceptional character. She isn't perfect; she certainly has her faults, but that only makes her more intriguing. She does a great deal of growing up over the course of the story, mostly because she is forced to.

    I loved all of the characters, mainly Sasha and Jayrd; a young heir to the lordship of Tyree. I was a particular fan of their relationship; theirs was a great friendship to watch unfold. At the start of the book they are both weary of one another, but as time progresses, they begin to understand, respect and enjoy one another.

    I always struggle with high fantasy novels, trying to keep the names of different things straight. Now, like I said I always struggle a bit with these novels, but I thought my brain might explode while reading Sasha. There are an absolute plethora of characters and many of the names look and sound a lot of like. For example there is Terjellyn, Teriyan, Tarynt, Captain Tyrun, Lord Tymeth Pelyn, Tarryn, Lord Rashyd, Lord Rydysh, Lord Krayliss and Kessligh. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. Do you see why I got a bit confused? To help with this, there is a series of maps and a complete list of characters with their nationality and brief description - a sort of cheat-sheet chart in the beginning of the book. I found myself flipping back to this a lot during the first half of the book, while I was still putting things together in my head. It got to be a bit distracting, but at least it helped me piece together exactly what was happening. I am not going to lie to you, I began to just keep reading through it, in hopes that I got the general idea. There are still parts, mainly dealing with the politics that I know went over my head. The characters and their relationships, on the other hand, are easy to follow and I wanted to understand them. But when the book went on a rampage about the intricate details of each territories' political standings and ambitions, I began to fog over. I understand that the author wanted to develop a complete world, but I think he went a bit overboard with the heavy things. For me, it definitely took away from the book - I enjoyed the characters enough to trudge through all the political mumbo-jumbo, but that might not be the case with every reader. This was a long book, I have no idea what the word count is, but there are 421 large pages (this is a huge paperback book) with tiny writing.

    Although I had a few issues with the book I did enjoy it. Honestly, the characters were fascinating, entertaining and well-developed. The overall storyline was also remarkably well done. A great deal happens throughout the first book, but a lot of plot line is also setup for the sequel. Most of the characters go through a game changing event - so I am eager to see how they all deal with their new circumstances and outlooks on the world.

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  • Posted October 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fans who appreciate a deep thought provoking fantasy thriller will enjoy Joel Shepherd

    In the Kingdom of Lanayin, the monarch supports the newer Verenthane religion over the established Goeren-yai. This has increased the schism and caused widespread intolerance. Some people are especially caught between the old and new like Svaalverd style master bladeswoman Princess Sasha, who has blood from both sides.

    To Sasha who fights from the heart, everyone seems to argue religion especially her mentor-teacher Kessligh Cronenverdt, her royal siblings and her neighbor Jared. However, it was the death of the king's heir, her brother Krystof that has her seeking vengeance as closure is impossible. War is imminent as each religious faction wants to dominate; to her shock, principled idealist Sasha leads an army against her pragmatic father who struggles with the cause that will destroy his country especially when he knows neighboring nations foster the civil war that divides families.

    Although the story line starts slows as the support cast define the realm through banter, humor and wit; fans will enjoy this entertaining coming of age saga. SASHA is a terrific lead character struggling with the hostilities while also being a cock-sure combatant. Ironically this sword and sorcery fable has few blood scenes and non-existent fantasy segues as the only possible (so far) paranormal element is the non-human Serrin who joins in the religious philosophical debates. Fans who appreciate a deep thought provoking thriller will enjoy Joel Shepherd strong look at social, cultural and religious divides that threaten to tear apart a nation that sounds so colorfully familiar.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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