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Cadaver Swords

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A vast story charged with electricity, action and necromancy, with morally realistic, lovable characters.

Cadaver Swords by Emmett and Clarice Swan is a vast story charged with electricity, action and necromancy. Taking place along a series of interspersed islands makes for a clever way to paint the danger as not only more imminent, but also keeps the characters within striking distance. The starting of Cadaver Swords is wise, with a meeting of the Mediums of the three great mountains to see the successor christened into power of the Gray Mountain. This setup places the reader at the penultimate moment where things are clearly going to go quite wrong, and indeed they do. Only, after the opening two chapters the book takes a time jump that isn’t immediately obvious. This doesn’t come across as blatantly confusing, but could lead to some brief wonderment as to why the two year passing of time has not simply been noted within the book.


Yes, the novel is epic, but in truth, the way it reads is as if all the events are taking place in the matter of weeks. We are soon introduced to a whole new set of characters, a gravedigger named Chimber, his sidekick Jern, both living in the small town of Math, who go on their own little adventure before the true trials begin. Soon after we are introduced to Marshal Brechlin, a woman in charge of the armed forces for the Queen’s capital. Their paths intersect when the Medium of the Gray Mountain finally returns to the fold and reveals his power play, or is it the daughter Ilsher we should be more concerned about? This leads down an intriguing path, creating interesting villains.


Yet, Cadaver Swords lacks the depth of fear and danger that one might find in the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, or the world building glory found in The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. The pace is lightening fast, leaving little room for flowery words or grandiloquent atmosphere. The immensity of the story doesn’t falter because of this lack of loquaciousness, but could use with a dash of spicy words to really envelope the reader into the events happening to our protagonists. As it stands, Cadaver Swords is an epic fantasy novel that excels in pace and action with lovable characters written with believable morals. 

Reviewed by

A sometimes kind, sometimes evil hedgewitch on a crusade to create as many fantastical worlds and read as many stupendous adventures as I can. Currently living with two loyal hounds, some impartial cats and my very own vampire husband.

Broken Covenant

About the author

Emmett Swan combines a life-long love of science fiction with the insights gathered from studying and teaching philosophy, science, and journalism. He hopes his words not only entertain, but occasionally are thought provoking. view profile

Published on August 21, 2019

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Fantasy

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