Monday, September 14, 2015

Blood Song, a Book Review

Review by C. Moffat.
  • ISBN-10: 0425268284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425268285
I purchased a copy of "Blood Song" over a month ago at an Indigo. At the time I knew nothing about the fantasy author, Anthony Ryan, what I did know is that it was part of a three book trilogy called "Raven's Shadow" and the 2nd book "Tower Lord" had a recurve bow on the cover. That was basically it. I bought the first book of the trilogy just because of the cover of the 2nd book.
So reading the book I didn't really have high expectations. I knew zero about the author, and I had basically bought the book on a whim.

What I got however was a five star book that within the first several chapters made me wish someone would make a film based on the book. Half way through the book however I determined that "Blood Song" was too complex a book to be made into a film. Let me elaborate and hopefully I won't give away too many spoilers. 

"Blood Song" is about a young warrior monk named Vaelin Al Sorna who as a boy is left at the door of the Sixth Order - an elite order of warrior monks. The first several chapters feel a bit like reading Harry Potter books as the boy grows and is trained as a warrior, learning skills like swordsmanship,  archery, hand to hand fighting, wilderness survival/tracking/hunting, stealth, etc. By the time he is done his training Vaelin is basically part ranger, part warrior-monk. However this only provides you with a better understanding of Vaelin's childhood and training - and introduces you to several key plot points that come back later in the book.

The world of the "Raven's Shadow" trilogy is low magic, but what little magic does exist is called "the Dark" and is innate abilities that only a few possess. Combined with this is "the Faith", which is the dominant religion of the United Realm. The Faith is the belief not in a god, but in the Departed (dead souls) that speak to mankind from the Beyond. The Faith operates six orders dedicated to different topics, the sixth of which is the elite warrior-monks mentioned above.

Within the United Realm all is not well however, as they were united against their will and many parts of the realm are restless, which in turn causes skirmishes and wars. Outside of the realm is also the Alpiran Empire to the south, a wealthy region of city-states separated by vast deserts - and another source of potential war thanks to scheming and greedy leaders.

I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone reading this, so instead I am trying to give more background on the setting rather than spoil anything for would be readers. What I will say is that I was very happy with the storytelling and the ending. I can't wait to read the next two books.


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