Quality Rating: 3/5, Sensitivity Rating 3/5
Crier’s Knife is the story of a man named Dirk Crier, who goes on a quest to find his cousin Teller. Teller has gotten himself into a dangerous situation in a far away place, a situation involving dark forces. As Dirk searches for Teller, he meets various people and encounters various dangers. It’s a simple story, one that does little to challenge the reader.
Everyone in Dirk’s family has a special Talent. In Dirk’s case, he’s extremely good with blades. In practice, this makes Dirk a pretty typical super skilled fighter type. What struck me about his portrayal however, is that he mostly avoids the toxic masculinity that so frequently plagues such characters. He knows he has the potential to be extremely dangerous, so he holds back and avoids being aggressive when he can. In fact, when dealing with some really dangerous people that the locals are terrified of, he makes sure he isn’t the one to attack first and that’s the only reason they were able to injure him. Even though he excels at finishing fights, he makes sure he isn’t the one to start them. While I found some flaws in his philosophy, it did make him somewhat interesting.
My main issue with the book is that not enough interesting things happen except at the beginning and towards the climax. Most fights aren’t particularly challenging for Dirk and don’t have enough tension. There is a heavy focus on travelling and parts of the journey are rather lacking in serious conflict, though this is a problem I find a lot in fantasy so it’s far from unique to this story.
Overall, Crier’s Knife wasn’t particularly good or particularly bad. It was decent in some places and merely okay in others. Its best feature in my opinion was that it sparked some curiosity. I now want to know more about the Crier family and see more of its members’ various Talents, so I’d be open to reading a sequel if there is one.