Review: “Edged Blade,” J.C. Daniels

Pros: Engaging storyline; interesting characters
Cons: Mild issues
Rating: 4 out of 5

Edged Blade (Colbana Files Series Book 4), by J.C. Daniels (Shiloh Walker), features paranormal investigator Kit Colbana. She’s only half-human, and she’s sorta/kinda dating the werecat Alpha. Her best friend Justin, a warrior witch, needs her help to rescue some non-humans (NHs) who’ve been kidnapped for foul purposes. But there’s a pretty big conspiracy going down, and there’s no telling who’ll get hurt by the fallout.

First, the small issues. The beginning seems to ramble a bit. I felt like there was a bit much jealousy going around. And there’s an odd formatting error–I don’t know if it’s exclusive to the Kindle format, which is what I was reading. Essentially, there are a bunch of places where the narrative skips forward in time a bit, but there’s no blank line or marker to denote the skip. Because of that, it’s easy to get temporarily unmoored as you try to figure out where in the narrative you are. Also, I won’t give away the ending, but I will say it kind of left off in the middle of something; I usually prefer for books to stand alone a little more. It left off on a really nice reveal, though, so that at least was satisfying.

Kit has been seriously traumatized by past events. Having read a number of reviews of books with traumatized characters, I know there are some readers who have a “get over it” kind of mentality when reading about such characters. If you need your heroes to get over their fears and traumas so you can enjoy your story, don’t read this series. Personally I think it’s skillfully handled, and it’s nice to see a heroine who genuinely has to struggle with her past yet remains in many ways strong. As both a trigger warning and a recommendation, I’ll note that there’s an intense depiction of someone who has been raped trying to handle sex again, and I think it’s handled extremely well. But again, not everyone will be comfortable reading that material.

As usual Daniels creates interesting characters with plenty of depth to them. The storyline is tense and interesting–NHs are being kidnapped, tortured, and experimented on, and it’s up to Kit and Justin and their allies to find out how, why, and by whom. I love the worldbuilding; the various types of supernatural creatures are intriguing. Kit’s existence itself is an interesting setup: she’s half-human, which in many ways makes her physically inferior to the older vampires and the higher-level shapeshifters, but through determination, a skill at making friends, and her own unique skills and talents, she holds her own. I look forward to reading about more of her adventures.

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