99 by Rabid ReadsSooooo if you haven t already noticed, I ve been on something of a fantasy kick of late It s been years since I ve gotten back to my roots, so now I m playing catch up Anthony Ryan has been on my TBR for even longer than I d realized I have a problem It s called one clicking You may have a similar problem snickers Apparently I one clicked Blood Song before it got snapped up by Ace, b c, yes, this is one of those remarkable independently published books that gathered so much public interest by virtue of its own merit that it got purchased by one of the Big Five high fives Ryan Anyway, the point is that despite a handful of grammatical errors in my own unedited version of the book, it was fantastic The story begins as a historian of an empire is taking custody of an enemy nation s war champion A war champion who had been imprisoned for years A war champion who was being paroled to fight to the death for the release of a woman from the enemy nation A woman who the war champion had widowed himself by killing the heir of the emperor a man who was the historian s best friend Awkward But as much as Historian despises this man, this Hope Killer, he cannot help but be intrigued by him He watches as the governor of the very city War Champion seized during the war comes the dock, bringing War Champion his sword that had been given into Governor s care He watches as Governor tries to encourage War Champion about his upcoming doomed to fail duel maybe he ll win, maybe this is the first step in his journey home Who is this War Champion that he should win the respect and friendship of a man whose city he took by force Vaelin Al Sorna, that s who.
And Historian, being a chronicler of history, finds that he cannot resist the urge to record a firsthand account of the war and the events leading up to the invasion from one who would know the enemy s King Janus of the Unified Realm mind, when War Champion offers to tell his story during their voyage to the PIRATE NATION where the duel is to take place.
From there we go backward We learn of Vaelin s childhood, how his father left him at the gates of the Sixth Order, the only Order of warriors, and thus the only trained fighters who are not subject to the King s commandsYou fight, Vaelin told the Aspect, the violence and the blood making his heart hammer in his chest Yes The Aspect halted and looked down at him We fight We kill We storm castle walls braving arrows and fire We stand against the charge of horse and lance We cut our way through the hedge of pike and spear to claim the standard of our enemy The Sixth Order fights, but what does it fight for For the realmFor the realm, and for the Faith The Sixth Order is a highly trained, highly efficient, and highly deadly group of paladins warrior priests.
We learn of the bonds of brotherhood forged during their rigorous, often deadly training Of the eleven boys who share quarters, only five live to become Brothers, Vaelin their acknowledged leader.
We learn of the Dark, a nebulous force that manifests itself in unnatural abilities and talents, and we learn of the king of a nation hellbent on legislating morality with an iron fist.
Blood Song is a tale filled with suffering and injustice, but it s also a tale of friendship and loyalty and perseverance, and woven throughout are hints of a Darkness gathering, while flaws in the Realm s belief system are slowly but steadily revealed In short, it s compelling Sometimes bleak, sometimes hopeful, always determined, Blood Song grabbed me by the horns and didn t let go until this chapter of the story was complete, and even then it was only for as long as it took me to one click the next book Highly recommended.
My other reviews for this series Tower Lord Raven s Shadow, 2 by Anthony Ryan I won t lie, some small but undeniable part of me came to this book hoping to find fault It would take a better man than me to watch Anthony Ryan s barnstorming success without a twinge of envy.
Sadly I have to report that this is a very good book and deserves the five stars I ve given it.
Ryan writes well, he brings his world and characters to life with good description It s as a story teller he shines though, and a good story is always the keystone of a bestseller Schools in fantasy books are like crack cocaine to readers The Wizard of Earthsea, Magician, Harry Potter, The Magicians, Name of the Wind I think , it goes on, and if not a school per se then an extended training period apprenticed to some master The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Way of Shadows etc Blood Song has a battle school as its central focus and we watch our protagonist progress from small boy to large young man through arduous training and a series of very dangerous tests, acquiring a group of firm friends with various talents as he goes.
This is all set in a skillfully executed flashback which our protagonist narrates to a historian on his way to a duel The tale he tells moves past the school to national and then international conspiracy, politicking, and war Finally it brings us full circle to the historian and the duel.
It s all good stuff Don t come looking for great literature or deep themes, do come looking for a great story and a good time I don t want to damn the book with faint praise it deserves 5 and this is very high praise from me it has heart, reminding me in many ways of David Gemmell s work.
The story is very morish, I read this rather fat book in just a couple of weeks, which for me is incredibly fast Let Vaelin s tale sink its teeth into you and you ll be cheering his victories, growling at his set backs, and having all the feels in between in appropriate measure.
I begrudgingly affirm that Ryan deserves his success and commend Blood Song to your attention.
EDIT we have the second book My wife stole it and says it s as good as the first Join my 3 emails a year newsletter prizes.
When I first finished Patrick Rothfuss Name Of The Wind two years ago I was a bit sad I knew that even though the book was wonderful and had a sequel on the horizon , that great books which capture me as that one did don t come along very often Before Rothfuss was Harry Potter, and that was a good number of years before Rothfuss It was five years before Potter that Pillars Of The Earth fell into my hands So I ve been working on an average of one Utterly Captivating read every five years or so Watching the last page of Name Of The Wind blink offscreen, I knew it was going to be another five years before I found one of those Utterly Captivating Reads.
Now, that s not to say there haven t been other great books Other five star books George RR Martin has written a few So has Lois McMaster Bujold Five star books, through and through books that I ve read than once out of a desire to travel into them again.
But there are just some books that make five stars look like the sky on a cloudy night and beg for a constellation Those are the Utterly Great Reads, the ones whose stories feel real than the stories you know other people think are real.
I wasn t expecting another Utterly Great read for three years I wasn t due for one, you see.
I certainly wasn t expecting it to be independently published, released in near secret and available on Kindle for less than the price of my usual Vente Breve Chai Latte at Starbucks Seriously This thing was three dollars I swear to you I want to send twenty bucks and a bottle of Macallan to the guy who wrote it It s that good This is a book that should be in leather bound hardback, smythe sewn, gold tooling, deckle edged paper It s a book that costs less than a large bag of cheetos, for crying out loud A coming of age masterwork you don t want to miss it is with temerity that I declare Blood Song as one of the best debut novels I ve ever read.
Why do I love this book The simple answer would be because this is a book that has everything I love in epic fantasy and that it hit all the right notes for me I could practically end my review with that answer but that wouldn t do justice to how great this book is Now, it s time for me to take on the role of the Chronicler and inform you why it s essential for you to read Vaelin Al Sorna s coming of age story.
The Sword of the Realm, the Young Hawk, Darkblade, the Shadow of the Raven, and Hope Killer it s not an exaggeration to say that Vaelin has obtained many names throughout his life Told in the same storytelling style as The Name of the Wind, the plot of the book mostly revolves around how Vaelin received all these titles To do that, he s going to tell the coming of age story of his life to the Imperial Chronicler, a story which began when his father left him alone at the iron gate of the Sixth Order in order for him to learn and grow into a warriorThe Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the RealmIt s simply incredible how Anthony Ryan weaved this slow paced coming of age story into an addictive page turner, at least that s how it was for me I was engrossed in this book from cover to cover right from the moment I read the prologue, it became immensely hard for me to focus on anything else but reading this book because of the strong gravitational pull the narrative held on me Blood Song contained every wonderful element and resonating theme necessary for a fantastic epic fantasy debut intriguing mystery, engaging plot line, brotherhood, politics, religions, faith, home, abandonment, dark magic, and war, all of which were written exceptionally wellWar is always an adventure to those who ve never seen itBlood Song is thoroughly a character driven coming of age story, and if you ve been following my reviews until now, it shouldn t come as a surprise that it s my favorite kind of storytelling narration always has been, always will be I was filled with emotions seeing how Vaelin developed throughout his journey It was very compelling to read about how he grew up and faced all the challenges in his battle school for the purpose of becoming a full fledged warrior of the Sixth Order However, my favorite part of the book is definitely the brotherhood and comradeship he found on his journey to adulthoodComradeship, he realized Also a warrior s lot You share your life with those who would die for youI absolutely love reading all about a character s growth how they learn from their mistakes, how they come to terms with the situation forced upon them, how they find and build their own brotherhood it s emotionally rewarding The characterizations were top notch and that made the well placed cinematic action scenes in each chapter pulse pounding because the characters were easy to empathize with.
Although the world explored in this book isn t that huge compared to many other fantasy debuts out there, don t let this fool you into thinking that the world building is inferior The Unified Realm is rich with a history of bloodshed and war All the mystery, legends, and magic were all introduced gradually and seamlessly without being info dumpy, strengthening my point that this is an utterly compelling book to read.
Ryan s wonderful prose is evocative, immersive, vivid, and easy to follow without being too simple, making it so easy for the writing to fully absorb me into the book It s truly a spectacular work for a debut and also, this book was originally self published were it still, this would easily be the best indie book of all time for me It won t be easy for any author or Anthony Ryan himself to top this masterwork debut for me, but I m hopeful and looking forward to the day that Ryan reattains or surpasses the greatness he achieved with his composition of Blood Song If I have to be nitpicky, there are some sentences that definitely required commas for the prose to flow even better But this didn t bother me at all, I seriously think Ryan did an amazing job with this bookA life without experience provides no contemplationIf you have heard about this trilogy, you ve probably heard about the mixed reception the sequels received, especially the last book Regardless, that shouldn t change your motivation to read this book Not only does Blood Song work perfectly as a standalone, you ll be missing out on one of the finest books in the coming of age fantasy genre should you choose not to read itThe Name of the Windby Patrick Rothfuss,The Lies of Locke Lamoraby Scott Lynch,The Blade Itselfby Joe Abercrombie,Maliceby John Gwynne,Kings of the Wyldby Nicholas Eames, and now Blood Song by Anthony Ryan I m truly blessed to have read all of these superlative debuts that made it into myfavorite debuts of all timelist.
Honestly speaking, the year 2017 has been a harsh year for me outside of my reading Ironically, I found hope in a warrior called Hope Killer The Sword of the Realm became real to me as it cleaved through my despair The Young Hawk taught me to soar above my problems, and as the Raven s Shadow swept across my heart, I realized that every second I spent in my escapism was worthwhile Picture Blood Song by NAVARNow, it s time for me to put down my pen or keyboard in this case and end my review here Thank you, Anthony Ryan, for one of the best literary journeys I ve ever had the chance to experience It was truly an honor to have listened to the breathtaking tune you composed, the Blood Song I completely recommend this book with all my heart to every fantasy reader it s without a doubt a greatness that every coming of age fantasy fan must read.
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