Book Review – Anthem For What’s To Come by Kimberly Coleman

They say war is a confusing time for everyone. Not only is the world exploding all around, but allegiances can constantly shift and it’s all too easy to point fingers at people on the same side.

Most books about war focus on the people fighting the war, but that’s really only a tiny percentage of the population that’s impacted by war’s far-reaching grasp. Regular people, the ones who just want to live out their lives and have little interest in the politics of war, wind up being the worst casualties. Look to any war-torn area of the world today – Syria pops to mind – and you’ll find the bulk of the damage is done not to the fighters of war, but to the people caught in the middle. Politicians start wars. The military winds up fighting them. Everyone else gets chewed up and spat out.

It’s rare to find a story about war that not only isn’t directly about the fighters of the war, but also has a hint of the paranormal woven through it. In April of 2016, I stumbled across Kimberly Coleman’s The Blind Girl’s Sword and found it a fascinating look at a place that could be anywhere on Earth, filled with people who mechanically went about the business of living even as things exploded around them. That was Volume 0 of the ongoing saga of war and witches. Anthem For What’s To Come is Volume 1. It’s an intimate look at a world stuck in perpetual war and what impact that has on people. In a way, it’s a treatise on how to make a monster. Take any normal person, put them in extraordinary circumstances, and watch what brews.

Coleman has a way with prose. The narrative is tight and concise. She doesn’t waste words, but still manages to build a richly-detailed world as seen through the eyes of a Blood Witch. Through those eyes, and the stories she tells to a dying girl, we get a sense of how devastation makes monsters.

Anthem For What’s To Come contains two stories: The Blind Girl’s Sword and Before the Sun Goes Down. Both take place in the same constantly-at-war world and look at the effects of that war through the eyes of normal people. Personally, I hope to see more about this war-torn world and its all-too-human monsters and witches.

“Anthem For What’s Come” combines the first two volumes in The Blind Girl’s War Series:
“Before The Sun Goes Down” tells the story of a young girl poisoned in a terrorist chemical lab…
“The Blind Girl’s Sword” focuses on that terrorist’s ill-fated relationship with a seamstress and how that led him onto his malefic path.


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Book Review – The Blind Girl’s Sword by Kimberly Coleman

Minus the fantasy… the tales could be from today’s headlines on the war in the Middle East…

Tazakul is a dystopic, polluted country where dreams are pursued out of habit since no one can even remember how the war began between their two main provinces. Draka and Dikallah citizens remain trapped in what now seems like a ‘forever war’ in which their lives are reduced to trying to survive car bombs, censorship, refugee camps, sex slavery, chemical weapons, vengeful Witches, and a race of cannibals who travels when it rains… Even though each day is filled with fear, every dawn begins with hope that this one will be the beginning of peace. Humans never learn…

Okay, the full title is The Blind Girl’s Sword: Volume Zero, the Blind Girl’s War. This is the prequel to Before the Sun Goes Down, which is Volume One in the Blind Girl’s War saga which contains the meat of the story. However, as Star Wars has taught us, every tale has a beginning and The Blind Girl’s Sword kicks off the saga in a way that the first three Star Wars movies only dreamed of. Rather than sucking like The Phantom Menace and its ilk, the Blind Girl’s Sword is engrossing and entertaining.

Imagine, if you will for a moment, a world of perpetual war. A place where governments lie to the populace and leaders have absolute control to do things like dig a girl’s eyes out of her head for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. No, not America, although the similarities are striking now that I think about it.

The world of The Blind Girl’s Sword is, for lack of a better word, a mess. It’s set in a kind of Middle East where two factions have been fighting for longer than anyone can remember and for reasons no one cares to recall. Coleman fills this world with characters who are basically just trying to survive by whatever means necessary. The sheer insanity of the world at large is undercut by the citizenry of a city that goes about its business mechanically: opening shops, selling banned books, stealing from the leadership, that sort of thing. It’s a richly detailed miasma with hints of the paranormal echoing around the fringes.

Now, as I said earlier, every story has a beginning. This is the lead-in to a much larger (and still in process) work. The Blind Girl’s Sword shows the precipitating events that lead to the events of the rest of the rest of the series. In essence, this shows how intended acts of kindness can lead to monsters and one, random and senseless act can have unintended consequences.

All in all, a masterfully detailed story with rich characters that leaves you wondering where the rest of the series is going to go.


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