In my opinion, it was mad fun—diabolically fantastic. Whenever I review an indie fantasy/dark fantasy film, I always like to compare it, quality wise, to Earth Sea, a small-budget favorite of mine, because I love the Earth Sea story and the filmmakers did quite well with what they had. My favorite thing about Tara Cardinal's film is that the music never stops, the action rarely stops, and the story never gets boring. If that isn't enough, Tara Cardinal seems like she's pretty skilled with the sword, and the film has, possibly, my favorite ending quote of all time.
That's not the end of it, though. Tara Cardinal is everywhere. Her debut novel, Sword Sisters: A Red Reaper Novel, is a fantastic read, packed with action. The book is set before the film and fills in all the details you might have felt like you were missing. My biggest question was, "What was Aella doing before she set herself on a warpath with the demons who were supposed to be dead?" The book answers that question, and it does it with an impossibly better story than the film offers.
Sword Sisters smacks our heroine between a rock and a hard place, fighting for room to breathe from her klan elders and her foretold responsibility as the last reaper—The Red Reaper—but longing for the freedom to choose. Retaliating against all the pressure and running from her responsibility, the young woman treks into the wilderness in hopes of finding a caring soul who once helped her out, perhaps someone she can trust and someone she might even love.
Instead of the man from her dreams, Aella runs into a young woman with a knack for insulting others and, soon enough you find, a knack for getting into trouble. Set in such an old time, these qualities in young independent women are not something of which local men are fond. However, Aella, being a strong feminist warrior, takes to the young woman, and they kindle a friendship bound in battle. They meet not a moment too soon, because Amelia, the young woman, is to be the village's next virgin sacrifice to the god who supposedly lives in a cavern nearby.
Upon further inspection, they find that someone or something is definitely living in the cave and definitely is not an average human; whether it is a god or not remains to be seen. This read is epic! The book is loaded with beasts and packed with action, and the heroine's inner dialogue is pretty funny and seemingly realistic as far as thoughts go. I give it an instant 5/5 stars.
Generally, at this point, I like to explain my grading and offer my two cents, if it's even worth that to anyone. As a matter of opinion, Tara Cardinal and her cowriter, Alex Bledsoe, should change nothing. I'm told it's difficult to improve upon perfection, and it's few and far between that I find books I wouldn't change for the world. So you must know I'm ecstatic to report that I think Sword Sisters is perfect, and I wouldn't change it for the world. The entire Red Reaper series will be gold, I'm sure, and I can't wait to read the next. Until then, it's on to the comic series. Let me know what you think downstairs!
Indy ComicCreators/Authors/Filmmakers get reviewed HERE.
PLUS—you'll be sent a special link where you can JOIN the Q&A and ask your own questions of actress/writer/director/sword guru TARA CARDINAL, legendary comic book artist GEORGE PEREZ, actress/singer/best selling author SHAYNE LEIGHTON, martial artist/exec producer SEAN WYN, and composer/disc jockey JOSHUA PARISH GOMEZ (son of Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas).
PLUS—you can tweet with the cast, crew, and Renaissance Festival audience! #RedReaper #Girlpower or tweet @theredreaper. Send your comments, questions, and opinions!