The Living Sword Book Review

The Living Sword Review
The Living Sword Review

The Living Sword is a curious book.

On the one hand, it has a well-realised world with a good supporting cast. Plus it’s intriguing enough to pique one’s interest in future entries in the series.

On the other hand, the quality of writing is inconsistent.

The Living Sword in brief

The Living Sword introduces Eurik, the series’s protagonist, living on the island of the San (a non-human race) following an incident that saw him separated from his parents.
On the island of San, he trains in the art of combat called The Way; a form of martial arts that can be split down into several branches of elemental disciplines.

Eurik is a specialist in Rise of the Mountain, meaning he can manipulate the earth around him. Others can harness the power of flame, wind, and presumably other elements too.

Drawn away from the island, Eurik begins his quest to seek out his parents, or at least ascertain what happened to them.

What follows are a string of hijinks involving a couple of assassins, an undead king, and an adventure accompanied by a quippy talking sword called Misthell.

The Good

The Living Sword is mostly an enjoyable tale, with a solid supporting cast of characters.

Patheos is a mysterious presence, full of charisma, but sadly underutilised.

Leraine, or Broken Fang as she’s more commonly known, is a kickass female assassin who accompanies Eurik for much of his quest.

And Misthell – the titular living sword – is the book’s comic relief, providing much-needed moments of levity to offset Eurik’s comparative seriousness. The humour is hit and miss, but it’s amusing enough.

The supporting cast make up for Eurik who, whilst not unlikeable, is quite bland.

Yes, the story can be a bit tropey (chosen one / absent parents / Eurik doing lots of things ‘grimly’), but The Living Sword is the book equivalent of a popcorn ‘flick. It’s fun, a little wacky at times, and well worth the price of admission.

A memorable segment includes Eurik bartering with an innkeeper; reminiscent of a D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) player negotiating with their Game Master! It’s great fun.

The Not-So-Good

On the other hand, The Living Sword needs much better editing – the writing is clumsy throughout.

For example, it’s a fantasy world but it also contains contemporary references including ‘tall apartment buildings’ in one of the major cities. If this was a novel like Stephen King’s Dark Tower series where the contemporary and the fantastical clash, this would make sense. But it isn’t, so it was somewhat jarring.The Living Sword Review Anime

In another scene, a character ‘charges his attack’, as if it’s a videogame. In video games, charge meters are designed to create an artificial challenge for the player.

In anime, characters charge their attacks to pad out episodes, or to create dramatic visual displays of power. It really doesn’t make much sense in prose.

I’m also not sure that the lore on the San was as clear as it could have been. Who are they? Why are there no San women? And therefore, how do they procreate? Questions are raised but not always answered.

In fantasy fiction, immersion is so important, and little things like this can fracture a reader’s belief in the fictional world.

And that’s a shame, because there is some semi-decent world-building here.

Final Verdict

The Living Sword is a fun enough read. At just over 100 pages, it’s brief but functions as a simple point of entry into author Janes’s fantasy world.

The magic system is exciting, as are the supporting cast, and I’d definitely consider reading more in the series.

Yes it’s flawed, and those more sensitive to clunky writing may wish to avoid, but it’s an earnest effort for a debut fiction novella.

It’s comfort reading. And I’m okay with that.

The Living Sword is available to purchase on
in both eBook and paperback.

Full disclaimer: A review copy was kindly provided by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.

7 of the Best Gifts for Book Lovers

Seven of the Best Gifts for Book Lovers

*This article contains no affiliate links – Tales from Absurdia is not monetised. All bookish gifts are my own recommendations!*

One of the great things about books’, George W. Bush once said, ‘is that sometimes there are some fantastic pictures’.

But what America’s astute [sic] ex-President failed to mention was the merch.


I’m talking about bookish gifts. The second best thing to the book itself (sorry movies). Am I right, book lovers?!

From gothic pin badges to chocolate books, I’ve collated seven of the best gifts for book lovers so you don’t have to.

I challenge you to read this without making a purchase!

(Spoilers: I failed whilst writing this blog)

Gothic Literature Enamel Pins

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Gothic aesthetics are the best.

Gothic architecture is striking, beautiful, haunting.

Gothic music is epic.Best Gifts for Book Lovers Gothic Pins

And Gothic literature, of course, includes some of the most evocative writing of all time.

In celebration of all things gothic, check out this neat little pin set from The Literary Emporium. Not only are they excellent quotes, but they’re awesome designs!

This set of six pins is inspired by Dracula, The Raven, Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Jane Eyre.

I believe they’re also available individually but let’s be honest, you’re going to buy them all anyway.

Quirky Bookshelf Prints

I only came across Fox Lane Books recently – they’re a wonderful independent bookshop that can source any book that’s currently in print in the UK.

Not bad.

They also have some of the best bookish gifts on the internet, including these awesome bookshelf prints.

Best Gifts for Book Lovers Bookshelf Prints

These works of art are based on quirky editions of books, collated into themed sets such as… adventure novels, banned books, black writers, fantasy novels, and many more.

100 Books Bucket List Poster

A bucket list poster with a twist… It’s a giant TBR scratch card!

Struggling with what to read next?

Put this up on your wall for some inspiration. Plus, you get to reveal some lovely bookish art beneath, once you’ve finished reading!

It’s a really simple idea, but something I’ve never come across before.

A perfect gift for a book lover and typical of the sort of awesome homemade products you’ll find on Not on the High Street!

Miniature Chocolate Books

Do you like books? Presumably, yes.Best Gifts for Book Lovers Miniature Chocolate

Do you like chocolate? I sincerely hope so.

How about chocolate miniature books?

I’ll say no more.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

“I am thy father”

Or at least, that’s what Darth Vader would have said if Kenneth Branagh had directed The Empire Strikes Back!

In William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, written by Ian Doescher, the immortal words of Darth Vader are resurrected and given a Shakespearean makeover.

It’s a witty series, so if you’re a book lover AND a Star Wars fan, picking at least one of these up is a no brainer.

Let’s be honest, it’s worth it based on this passage between Anakin and Obi-Wan alone… #highground

Anyhow, Waterstones stocks the full range here. You’ll have to ask them whether they accept Republic Credits.

Miniature Book Necklace

How about some book jewellery?

These miniature book necklaces come in two sizes and the cover of your choosing. That’s right – you can choose any cover, whether it’s an English Lit classic, your favourite indie book, or even one of Mary Berry’s cook books!Best Gifts for Book Lovers Book Necklace FromNewLeaf

What would I choose? I’d probably choose the original covers of either The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye. That being said, there’s a book on my TBR called Captain Jesus (publ. 2021) and the cover is easily one of my favourites of contemporary novels!

The customisation alone makes this easily one of the best gifts for book lovers.

Handmade The Lord of the Rings Bookmarks

Best Gifts for Book Lovers Lord of the Rings Bookmarks

Confession time.

I just bought all of these. Every. Single. One.

They are – without a doubt – the coolest bookmarks I’ve ever seen in my life.

If, like me, you’re a The Lord of the Rings fan/nutter/devotee, whether it’s of the books or the excellent films, you’re going to want to check these out.

I love the art style. The slightly faded, watercolour effect gives them an ethereal quality. Very Tolkien-esque. They’re unique and the ‘elvish hair’ is a nice touch.

Alternatively, if you just love The Hobbit (or, you know, Aiden Turner as Kíli – no judging here!), you can buy those too. It would be cool to see a whole set of Thorin’s Company at some point.

Enjoy this list of the 7 best gifts for book lovers? Got any of your own to share? Post them in the comments!