Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1)
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Blood Song (Raven's Shadow #1)

4.58 of 5 stars 4.58  ·  rating details  ·  11,499 ratings  ·  977 reviews
An epic fantasy exploring themes of conflict, loyalty and religious faith. Vaelin Al Sorna, Brother of the Sixth Order, has been trained from childhood to fight and kill in service to the Faith. He has earned many names and almost as many scars, acquiring an ugly dog and a bad-tempered horse in the process. Ensnared in an unjust war by a king possessed of either madness or...more
Kindle Edition, 592 pages
Published January 22nd 2012 by Anthony Ryan (first published 2011)
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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Best Epic Fantasy
54th out of 2,126 books — 13,742 voters
Searching for Arthur by Donna HosieThe Orb of Truth by Brae WyckoffThe Fire of Merlin by Donna HosieThe Silver Sphere by Michael DadichThe Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
Best Indie Fantasy Books
6th out of 479 books — 1,021 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katherine Coble
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 o...more
Anthony Ryan is a new fantasy author destined to make his mark on the genre. His debut novel, Blood Song, certainly has it all: great coming of age tale, compelling character, and a fast-paced plot. If his first book is any indication of things to come, then all fantasy readers should rejoice as a new master storyteller has hit the scene.
If you like your fantasy Rothfuss or Sanderson-style this is a great book for you. It's a meaty epic fantasy with a really strong main character. I was sucked in and definitely want to read the next one!
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay, "first off" I know some don't care for long reviews and sort of skip through just interested in the "bottom line" so to speak. I have a few things to say, but for you who want things boiled down to the my opinion, that's "In My Opinion" this is an excellent, even an exceptional book. I have moved it directly on to my favorites shelf. The only negative I have here is that the next volume isn't due out till July 2014. God willing and I'm still alive, healthy and solvent I plan to...more
Once in a while a book comes out of nowhere and blows me away; last year it was the indie sf Dancing with Eternity, this year it's Blood Song, a traditional fantasy in many ways but with a narrative pull that is just unbelievable - last time I read a fantasy debut with this pull, it was in 2007 when Name of the Wind appeared and while there are notable differences in content, with this one much more traditional than Rothfuss' series, there are a few similarities there too - while getting a lot o...more

Full Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic [Plus Analysis by Liviu]

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Blood Song is another of those books that I discovered a few months earlier, thanks to Amazon’s cool algorithm for suggesting titles I might like based on my previous “Buying and Search” history. Previously I had stumbled upon Zero Sight by B Justin Shier the same way and the way that book turned out to be, I have learnt to keep an eye out for such Amazon recommendations.

Blood Song begins with a first pers...more

I love fantasy- I always have, though it's not often that I find myself reading epic, or high, fantasy because I tend to prefer the shorter scifi/fantasy stories. This book is written with the finest precision, enabling people like me to not even realize they’re reading a book they normally wouldn’t, and loving every second of it. There are very few epic fantasies in my library (at all actually) that I can claim have pulled me in like this, and the only one I can think of that affected me as gr...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay, "first off" I know some don't care for long reviews and sort of skip through just interested in the "bottom line" so to speak. I have a few things to say, but for you who want things boiled down to the my opinion, that's "In My Opinion" this is an excellent, even an exceptional book. I have moved it directly on to my favorites shelf. The only negative I have here is that the next volume isn't due out till July 2014. God willing and I'm still alive, healthy and solvent I plan to...more
Thomas Crown
Having been through more fantasy and science fiction series than any functioning adult should be comfortable admitting, I am leery of writing anything overly adulatory about the first novel of a series, especially when that novel is not merely good but quite possibly great.

This is because first-in-a-series novels are like first dates. On the one hand, you can end up meeting the woman of your dreams, whom you will marry and who will bear you a surprising number of children, with whom you will liv...more
Gather close and listen well to the tale of the Witch's Bastard. This is not a story for the faint at heart or the weak of bladder. This is the most terrible and frightful of tales and when I am done you may curse my name for ever having given it voice.

The best fantasy debut for me since Patrick Rothfuss. A pleasant surprise that I have to thank Liviu and some other Goodreads reviewers for discovering for me in the self-published jungle. The comparison with Rothfuss is not accidental, I found...more
just read this and...




i think its going to be a long time before i muster the words that would
show just how much i enjoyed this. it was amazing!

so in meantime:

this is my love note to the author:
dude tnx for all those mental orgasms i got from your book:)
best one i read this year.
Dale Pearl
Take the movie "The Last Samurai" add in the song "Learning To Fly" by Pink Floyd, and take George Martin's first book in Game Thrones add them all together and you get the ultimate in Epic books "Blood Song". This book had my heart pounding and my mind racing. I couldn't put it down. I think I read it twice I went back over so many passages. The ending caught me unguarded and that is a hard thing to do with me. I have read so many books that the ends are quite predictable but Anthony Ryan pulls...more
Faye (The Social Potato)

Edit July 12, 2013: So. An ARC of Tower Lord (book 2) may be given to me (courtesy of the author) It is at this time I go WTF WTF WTF KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, and in exchange I shall do a video review of Blood Song, which is a fantastic deal. I reckon it would be full of fangirling nonsense and rambles of how awesome it was and it would be full of grins and smiles and laughing and giggling and rolling on the floor...more
Joshua Bryant
I have a fairly objective system for distinguishing the quality of a book relative to me: it is determined by the extent to which the book affects my thoughts. With a four-star book, I find myself thinking about the book frequently (while not reading) before and after I finish it. A five-star book, for instance The Idiot, the Name of the Wind, or The Silmarillion, will have me constantly thinking about it for days after finishing. A two-star book is more or less a book that I forget about the mo...more

Do you ever feel, after reading many great fantasy books in a row, that you are very lucky and at the same time really anxious you are somehow slowly exhausting the reserves? That there can not possibly be infinite amount of amazing books? Are you doing small calculations in your mind that according to books you read every year and the time left for you to read ok, I turned a little macabre here after some time you won’t find anything unique, and brilliant? No? Good for you! But I am a little w...more
Simply the best indie book I have read. In the beginning of the book we are introduced to a character who is held captive by people despising him - he conquered their lands unprovoked and killed a well-liked heir to the Emperor. Fate brought a historian to him who became interested in how this person became Empire's enemy number 1. The book is the story of a child who would eventually grow up to lead an army to bring a war to a neutral nation.

There are two reasons I did not give 5 stars to this...more
5 Stars

What an amazing read. This is an incredible piece if fiction that is written well, thought out, and well crafted. Anthony Ryan has created a near masterpiece to start out this epic story. This book will receive many comparisons with Patrick Rothfuss The Name of the Wind. Theft both are debuts from the author. Both are of the "Epic Fantasy" genre. They both center almost exclusively on a main protagonist that is clearly more than what we get to see. Heck, both of these books are very long...more
Vaelin is the son of the Battle Lord, given to the Sixth Order of the Faith where he learns how to fight and kill without remorse for the sake of their Faith. He goes through adventures and mysteries surrounding the kingdom and the hidden Seventh Order and the blood-song.

This book is remarkably similar to Sherwood Smith's Inda series - but I would actually say it compares less favorably. The greatest weakness of this book is the dialogue. Most of the story is told in an limited third person, ce...more
A very good read. A bit more than four stars, in fact.

Excellent characterization and storytelling. A fun, fast-paced narrative.

Ryan's structure in this book mirrors Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles--a "hero" facing his death tells his true story to a court scribe--except Ryan adds the twist (view spoiler). And lets the reader in on the scam.

Dozens of typos. Doesn't anyone proofread their books anymore?

Finished it and did what I often do with really good...more
Brandon Zarzyczny
I think that I first found this book from some reddit /r/fantasy book recommendations, and when I checked the Amazon page and saw the horrible cover, I almost didn't check it out. However, since the book had so many good reviews and it was only 3 dollars I bought it, but didn't read it for a couple months. Now however, I'm kind of sad that I didn't read it earlier and that I only paid 3 dollars for this beast of a book. After the introduction, the book immediately grabbed me and there were multi...more
This book is outstanding. Ryan knows how to spin a story that doesn't let you go and he has wisely chosen to tell this story through the perspective of a wonderful protagonist. I don't often feel this attached to a character. Vaelin al Sorna is competent, thoughtful, intelligent, and not so easy to anticipate. Ryan only lets us so far into his head, revealing enough to invite compassion while holding more than enough back so that some of al Sorna's decisions surprise and intoxicate. I experience...more
Simply put, if you like fantasy, you will love this. Highly recommended. I finished a few hours ago and I'm still thinking of new things I liked about it. Very well written, and I was not expecting that ending. Anxiously awaiting book two.
Blood Song is a title that has been sitting in my Kindle library for quite a while now but for some reason I just hadn’t read it yet. With Orbit have re-released Blood Song this year I decided to finally give in and read it. Vaelin Al Sorna is our primary narrator for the tale in Blood Song. Given at young age by his father to a Monastic order of warrior monks (one of Six Orders) Vaelin rises through their ranks, acquiring a handful of companions: human, canine, and equine. Vaelin eventually com...more
This one is really hard for me to rate. It almost seems a sin to rate is less than 5 stars after reviewing other books that I haven given 4 to. Please make no mistake as this a GREAT story... a 5 star story. The only reason that I cannot give it that final nudge is due to several instances of confusion throughout the book. There are certain parts where I feel I had to read several times before giving up only to understand what I was reading several pages later.

This book also appears to be laid...more
Shehreyar Khan

When I get the time, I'm going to write a thorough and very long review for this book. All I'll say for now is that it was possibly one of the best stories I have ever read. Absolutely magnificent.

Anyone who has doubts should just pick it up and read the first two chapters. I guarantee you won't put it down until you're done. It's just that good.


Edit: this is a pre-review. There are no spoilers here.

I can’t believe I’ve put off reading th...more
The Brothers of the Sixth Order are the swords of the realm. They kick ass and smite unbelievers. Vaelin Al Sorna was left at the doorstep of the Order when he was just a boy of ten, as his father rode off into the mist. Vaelin will spend the next many years training in the arts of war, making both friends and enemies. Vaelin’s father held the title of Battle Lord, the highest possible honor to be acquired, so Vaelin’s got a lot to live up to.

Anthony Ryan initially self-published Blood Song at t...more
Book Bandit
A coming of age story for adults who like there fantasy hero with a tempered edged. We know Kvothe (Name of the Wind) and Harry Potter, take away the magic school, replace it with a military order and you have Ryan's Blood Song. For everyone who has this on their "to read" list, grab a copy and read it, more likely than not, you will enjoy this great book.
Melinda Le Baron
This book was the most amazing human interest story. It could have been set almost anywhere that government and faith were put together, like Spain, or the Caliphate, or even Rome, but Ryan chose to create his own world to showcase his all too human story and minimize the fantastic bits. It could have been purely historical fiction, instead it's epic fantasy. Altogether what it is, is groundbreaking!

THE PLOT: Now this is the part that is going to sound like every other fantasy, but stop right t...more
Paul Nelson
Some of the best fantasy series start with the protagonist at a young age, the advantage of this is you see the character develop mentally, physically and you get the sense of growing with the character.
Examples that immediately spring to mind are the Prince of Thorns, A Dance of Cloaks, The Way of Shadows, The Painted Man and The Left Hand of God.
The Blood Song is a high calibre debut, a self published novel that was available fairly cheaply on Kindle and potentially a big future for the author...more
Joe Moley
I’ve read two really good new fantasy books this year. The first was Prince of Thorns and the second I’m happy to say is Blood Song.

“Blood Song” was self-published independently and was listed in the Amazon kindle section at a nice discount. Usually, I stay away from these as most are quite literally, trash. However, what intrigued me about this one was that there was over 150, 4 and 5 star review/ratings. 150 is a lot more than the usual 5 reviews a self-published author can drum up via friend...more
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Anthony Ryan writes fantasy and science fiction. He works full time as a researcher, has a degree in history, and lives in London.

For news and general wittering about stuff he likes, check out Anthony's blog at:
More about Anthony Ryan...
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“War is always an adventure to those who've never seen it.” 20 likes
“Speaking it aloud would reveal the absurdity of it, and he preferred the dream.” 8 likes
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