Sword of Sorrow, Blade of Joy : Tales of the Swordsmen Vol. 1 Author JF Lee

Book Review!

5 out of 5 stars!

"Fifteen years on the cold trail of his master's murderer, and he was now babysitting. How had it come to this?" - Li Ming

Who doesn't love a grumpy legend? Li Ming's trying to stay focused on his duty of tracking down the murderer. When he's rudely interrupted by Shu Yan, who's needing his help. Begrudgingly agreeing to help her they set out together. Though her having a deep purse isn't a bad thing for Li Ming's pocket.

Little do the duo know that bandits and conmen will be the least of their worries. Their journey is long but will the two be able to stand one another long enough to see the end? Both having different motives. Nobody said babysitting a fourteen-year-old girl would be easy. Will Li Ming find the person he is after? And will Shu Yan ever get to see the legendary swordsman in action with his sword?

This is a wuxia genre book!

"Wuxia is a genre of Chinese fiction that features itinerant warriors of extreme (almost supernatural) martial arts skill in ancient China." - From Author's Page

I really loved this story and instantly got "The Witcher" vibes. We love the trope with a grumpy, older legend who has to deal with a younger person. Not realizing that they are forming a parental bond with the youth. Li Ming just wants to eat his dumplings in peace and Shu Yan isn't letting him.

I loved the quick pacing of the book and the little short stories within. There's of course the main arc of the story but then there are mini arcs. Because this is a book where you get to travel all around with the characters! Encountering several places and many people!

The action in this book is something I really enjoyed. There's violence but the author doesn't go into great depth or bloody details. I loved being able to see the swordsman show off his teachings, when it was necessary. Li Ming states that the sword is the last resort.

The characters were well rounded and I hope to see them in volume two and three. Including a certain magistrate that is found of a new title. . . I want to see more of Jin Lang in the next books and I am crossing my fingers the author will bring him back. I don't want to spoil anything but I was very excited when I saw his character and Li Ming toward the end of an arc.

"The only demons in this world are the ones we become. . ." - Jin Lang

There was action, quick pacing, drama, a sprinkle of romance, and the swordsmanship! Along with so much more and I am excited to continue the series so I can read volume three. Rumor has it the third book's the best in the series. . . I am eager to get to it because volume on was excellent.

I also grew up with Kung Fu films and spaghetti westerns so this book was honestly down my alley! Made me miss those days of being young and carefree watching the movies with my dad. I really loved this genre and the whole grumpy legend keeping a low profile. Seeing the world negatively until a young person drops into their life and shows them there's more. The grump enjoying every minute of it, even if they don't realize it or want to acknowledge it.

These volumes are going in chronological order so expect that cliffhanger! I am ready to dive into volume two because I need to know what happens. Also need to see if Jin Lang's going to appear again. There's some language in the book but it's in Chinese. The author does provide a list of the characters and a brief description of each at the front of the book. In the back of the book there's a glossary for some of the words used throughout the book.

I loved this story so much and the banter was incredible. I live for the witty banter that just flows! Shu Yan's a terrific girl with a sharp tongue and mind. She doesn't hold back and Li Ming finds it amusing, even if he won't admit it out loud.

Enjoy the epic adventure with a grumpy swordsman and give the author some stars!



Author's page link for in depth description of Wuxia Genre:





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