I am giving Orphan Blade by M Nicholas Almand four stars but don’t be fooled, there is room for a lot of improvement in this book. The artwork is not consistent and may have been better served as a Manga styled novel and the characters themselves could have better served with a stronger back story. But as a beginning to a series this one is very strong right out of the gate.
Sorcerers and Holy men believing they had the power to reach the heavens instead open a portal into another dimension from which flooded monstrosities that would be called the Kaiju.
The Kaiju set upon destroying all the cities until one day a dead Kaiju is found and from its remains weapons are forged to battle the remaining monsters until finally all were destroyed.
Time passes and a young orphan student named Hadashi is learning the art of fighting. But Hadashi is a poor student and given to long lapses of daydreaming. It is in one of these moments that he becomes a thief and in a tragic attack loses three fingers from his right hand. Here he is turned out and must become a thief to survive.
Hadashi is commissioned to secure a particular fish and in doing so comes upon the forgotten weapon made from the remains of the Kaiju; the Orphan Blade. He also comes to the attention of Lord Chigiri and his band of assassins knows as the Five Fingers of death.
Hadashi must find a way to control the Orphan Blade and save himself and his friends from Lord Chigiri and the Five Fingers of Death. But yet there is a bigger danger, for the Orphan Blade and all weapons made from the remains of the Kaiju call to one another. They call to be reborn.
The story, would it continue and be detailed out is a very good one and the growth of Hadashi from foolish boy into young warrior is done very well as well as the relationships between himself and his young friends. Unfortunately with the passing of M Nicholas Almand this may never be realized in its true form.
On its own though, the Orphan Blade is a very good read.