We bought a new blender recently. The manual for it was more interesting than this book. I mean: it has recipes! For 'Cuban Milk' among other things. That's just banana-milk with lemon if you're wondering. And no I have no idea what's Cuban about that either.
Can you tell that I really don't want to talk about this book? I'm just not sure what I can say about it. It's not bad in an entertaining way and (at least) also not in and offensive way, just in a very, very, very, very boring way.
The characters are all so flat that even at the end I still had trouble telling them apart. They are all amazing fighters and that's pretty much it. Marciac sticks out because he has an on-off-girlfriend (whom he treats like crap) and another character has dragon-blood in him which gets mentioned a lot. In fact I'm think he's referred to as 'Mix-blood' almost as often as by his real name which I found...unfortunate. Yes it is just a fantastical creature but I still felt uncomfortable with the obsession about his heritage.
Apart from that...have I mentioned how boring that book was? Cause it was. Most of the time our main characters fight. Usually alone against an overwhelming number of enemies. Of course they win. Always. The one time one of them doesn't it's because his opponent didn't fight fair and brought a gun to a swordfight.
When they're not fighting they are...planning fights, Marciac has sex or one of the characters angsts about their tragic past. But mostly they are fighting. Or fighting. Or fighting. Or...oh right I mentioned that already.
Now I don't mind fights, e.g. James Barclay's Raven-chronicles are also pretty packed with them. But there are two major differences:
a) the Raven sometimes loses. People die or get seriously injured. As mentioned this doesn't happen in The Cardinal's Blades. So why should I worry about them?
b) I actually care about the Raven. I don't want them to die. As mentioned above this doesn't happen in The Cardinal's Blades. So even if there was an actual sense of danger in the books my only reaction would be: great! one less character that bores me to death!
And the worst thing is: the author almost solely relies on the fact that his readers care about these characters and worry about them dying. Almost every chapter ends with some sort of cliffhanger that means danger for them. It often felt like reading fanfiction where the writer needs to make sure that the readers come back the next time. (Except that most fanfiction readers would have quit after that many three or four page-chapters in which nothing happens except fighting.)
The same is true for the ending. We are treated to some more dramatic reveals about the characters and their backstories. I assume that is meant to hook us for the second part but I cared as little about these revelations as about any of the previous ones.