I've been thinking it for quite a while and I've probably mentioned it, but Urban Fantasy is definitely my favorite subgenre. This book just reminded me of that fact!
Sarah is a blacksmith who works shoeing horses during the day, moonlights as props master for a local film company, makes swords for fun, and is part of a Society for Creative Anachronisms(SCA) group on the side.
She's purchased a black sword at auction and after it is shattered during a movie scene, she decides to reforge it. She has an audience consisting of her girlfriend and a man who claims he is a dwarf. Things grow steadily stranger after the dwarf asks her to slay the dragon using the sword. Apparently, the dragon is an investment banker!
This is my newest favorite book. I couldn't put it down. I really loved the characters. I totally understood Sarah's dual feelings about her sexuality, her upbringing versus the truth of who she is. Her relationship with her girlfriend seemed very realistic to me. I do have a friend who would complain that all lesbian relationships are portrayed in a very angsty, abusive light. I felt like Sarah and Katie's relationship was surely angst-ridden, but I wouldn't say that Sarah's behavior was abusive. It was more confused.
In addition, I've thought that the fantasy genre could always use more lesbians. I'd say the same about gay men, but they just aren't macho enough for sword fights. Fencing, yes. Sword fights, not so much. It would be totally awesome if the next book had some gay guys in it. I won't have long to wait-the next installation is coming out soon, and I am very excited!
Sarah reminded me of Buffy in some ways. She was reluctant to stand up and take her place in the overall story. Once she did, she kicked ass and took names. She also pushed herself to her limits. Sarah is the kind of person that I would like hanging out with, and that's really at the heart of what I liked about this novel. I don't want to read books about people I don't like. It's distasteful.
At the same time, Buffy was someone who couldn't have a "normal" relationship. I don't feel that way about Sarah. I think that while there was a lot of indecision and figuring things out in this book, she won't have the same problem in the next book.
In addition to liking the heroine, I have to say that I felt like there was a twist in this story that I didn't expect. There were some questions raised that weren't answered, and I am looking forward to having at least some of then resolved. I liked the elements of pop culture that were included, too. It was really cool how the author took a skill that is somewhat archaic and turned it into something that made our character that much more vital. I am a knitter and while I enjoy the craft of it, it's not something that is altogether useful in the grand scheme of things. Blacksmithery is important in small circles, but not in the grander scheme of things. I guess it's an appreciation for the finer, more obscure arts that appeals to me.
If you like urban fantasy, you'll like this book! If you've ever been to a Ren Faire or are a member of SCA, you'll like this book! If you're a fan of Viking mythology, you'll like this book! If you're looking for something new to read, go find a copy of this book. You won't be sorry!