Born to the Blade 1.4: The Gauntlet by Michael Underwood: Kris’ opportunity finally knocks in the most satisfying episode yet.

The GauntletThe Gauntlet

by Michael R. Underwood
Series: Born to the Blade, #1.4

Kindle Edition, 53 pg.
Serial Box, 2018
Read: May 10, 2018
Since Episode One, we’ve been waiting for this: Kris Denn of Rumika facing the gauntlet. A series of 6 duels against the members of the Warders Circle of Twaa-Fei to gain a seat at the table for Rumika. Failure here means a decade (or so) before the next potential warder from Rumika has an opportunity. That’s pretty much the whole episode in a nutshell — can Kris make it?

Ultimately, I don’t think anyone will be shocked at the outcome — it’s about the journey, how the outcome is reached. Underwood nails it. A couple of weeks ago, I linked to a piece he wrote about how fight scenes can reveal character (he also tweeted about it this week), and this episode is him displaying that theory in practice. It really works — not only do we get a better idea about who Kris is, but we get a better understanding of the other Warders. Sure, we may not actually learn anything about Lavinia and Ojo — we just get more evidence of what we already know — but there are other duels.

This is longer than the previous two episodes — and it helped. The extra length gave things a chance to happen. I assume that’s not something we’ll see next week, but I can hope, right?

I’ve liked the previous episodes enough to justify the purchase of the season and to keep going, but I just flat-out liked this one. Good fight scenes, good character moments and the plot moves ahead. Where this goes next, I’m not sure, but having concluded this initial arc, I’m ready to see it. These authors took their time establishing this world, and carefully built up to this point and what lies beyond. I’m looking forward to see what else comes on this foundation.

—–

4 Stars

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