Readers' Favorite

August 20, 2022

Fall of the King Saber by JF Lee ~ a Review

by MK French

Li Ming and Shu Yan continue to fight against Shazha Kui, but his power is growing. Li Ming must defeat him before the entire kingdom falls.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of fantasy novel Fall of the King Saber by JF Lee
August 2022; Indie; 979-8831304510
ebook, print (626 pages); fantasy

Fall of the King Saber
 is the third in the series, which relies heavily on wuxia tradition. Li Ming is a famed swordsman working as a mercenary; the first book is where he met Shu Yan and the adventures they had looking for her family. In the second, Li Ming called in former comrades to help when Shu Yan was kidnapped by bounty hunters. Here, his old enemy Shazha Kui, who had killed his master, is once again his main foe. Li Ming is the last swordsman from Blue Mountain, carrying a cursed sword he's generally reluctant to use and is one of the last able to decode the sect's manuals. Shu Yan would rather accompany him on his travels than stay working for the pleasure houses or in random villages that gangs seek to take over. We get to see them navigate through a world of martial arts, revenge, and sworn oaths.

It's definitely better to have read the prior books first, though we do get a "previously on..." introduction before diving into this particular story. Li Ming and Shazha Kui are set to duel in six months, and Shu Yan formally accepted training in the Blue Mountain style. That doesn't stop the Black Tigers from doing their thing, or other gangs from warring over territory and supremacy. Six months is a long time, after all, so we have adventures along the way. We see the Black Tigers at work, Shu Yan and Li Meng trying to get rid of the bounty on her head, and then other bitter rivalries that they're caught up in. Li Meng is a known swordfighter and mercenary, but even he has his limits.

As our heroes move through the kingdom, there is talk of bandits, bounties, and sworn brotherhood. Fans of wuxia are very familiar with these terms and the kind of fights involving weapons and qi. There are plenty of battles, further history for all of our characters if you read earlier books and are curious, as well as a ticking clock to the final battle. The fights are also tempered with humor, from Shu Yan constantly saying that Li Meng is a terrible teacher to a cabbage seller crying out that they're ruined. (Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender will adore that running gag.) Each part of the novel feels like a wuxia TV episode, which is lots of fun to read. 

This novel didn't end the way I thought it would. At first, I was disappointed, because I thought that was the end of everything and it would have been disappointing. But no, other characters back up the Blue Mountain fighters. The final battle is a complete melee, and it soon becomes obvious that more volumes in the swordsman's story will be coming. I'm glad about that because it means more episodes to read about. 

Buy Fall of the King Saber at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us. Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Post a Comment