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Blood Song (Raven's Shadow #1)

4.51 of 5 stars 4.51  ·  rating details  ·  34,119 ratings  ·  2,206 reviews
From “a new master storyteller” comes the beginning of an epic fantasy saga of blood, honor, and destiny…

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will b
Kindle Edition, 591 pages
Published January 22nd 2012 by Anthony Ryan (first published 2011)
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Dan Really? You act as the censor board and select what books your teens are allowed to read? That's just swell. Don't just, you know, encourage them to…moreReally? You act as the censor board and select what books your teens are allowed to read? That's just swell. Don't just, you know, encourage them to read without restriction and trust them not to repeat bad language they come across...(less)
Riki The Name of the Wind is your best bet. Not exactly a fighting school, but you'll understand the similarities when you read it. There's also The…moreThe Name of the Wind is your best bet. Not exactly a fighting school, but you'll understand the similarities when you read it. There's also The Ranger's Apprentice, though that's really more for kids.(less)
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set 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
37th out of 2,465 books — 17,463 voters
Blood Song by Anthony  RyanThe Emperor's Edge by Lindsay BurokerThe Orb of Truth by Brae WyckoffThe Silver Sphere by Michael DadichBlood and Betrayal by Lindsay Buroker
Best Indie Fantasy Books
1st out of 650 books — 1,199 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 or ...more
Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
The supremely epic tale of the biggest Gary Stu in the entire world, filled with grammatical and punctuation errors.

Fantasy and high fantasy is notorious for Gary Stus, we know that. Prime example: Harry Potter. Another example, the main character in one of my favorite HF of all time, Jorg Ancrath, by the awesome Marc Lawrence. As these examples have shown, Gary Stus are not awful. They can be amazing, the book can be immensely enjoyable.

This book is not one of them.

There is a way to write a Gar
Mark Lawrence
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
Commas matter. They are important if someone, say, an author, wishes to convey a particular meaning or concept or image through the words they use in the books they want to sell. They are important for timing, and sentence structure, and plain ol' literacy. Plus, they make me feel good, like I'm reading something worth my time, rather than some 6th grade creative writing exercise.

There's a big difference between "Let's eat, Grandpa!" and "Let's eat Grandpa!"

Also this:

"His father didn't reply.
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!
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.

Update: I just received an ARC of Anthony's third book in this series. So I just finished a re-read of this.
Emily May
Oct 02, 2015 Emily May marked it as on-hold  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2015
I'm going to put this on hold at 25%.

Maybe I'll come back to it at a time when I can understand the 4.51 average rating. You know - a tiny 1% of those who read this book rated it 2 stars or less. Only 7% rated it 3 stars or less. As you're probably realizing, that means 93% either "really liked it" or thought "it was amazing". I can only conclude that my brain has been hijacked by something that doesn't appreciate amazing things.

But let me at least try to explain myself.

I'm not a big fan of ro
Robin (Bridge Four)
Re-read before Queen of Fire is released.

Original Review September 2014

4.5 Stars

This Series is so hard to review...So Many Great Things Happened....Just Read It.
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Bloodsong is the journey of a boy into becoming a man with enough power to change the world. The majority of this books focuses on the bond built between brothers, bonds that can’t be broken no matter what you have done. It is hard to capture Bloodsong accurately in a review because it has a fully built world, characters and plot. Small

First re-read finished. Rating stays the same.

Buddy re-read/read with a bunch of lovely friends at Sanctum of Fantasy group before book #3 comes out in the beginning of July. Want to join? :) We're starting on Monday, June 15th.

Original Review, 31 August, 2014

I'm surprised this is a debut novel. Believe the hype! Oh yes, the book has its flaws but I can't quite put my finger on them and they are certainly not enough to even make me knock off a half star down to 4.5 for the rating. It's full 5!
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
David Sven
This is, without a doubt, my favourite book of the year so far. This is High Fantasy that is contemporary while still hitting a sweet spot for me with the mix of magic and battle.

The story was engaging, the plot was well paced, the protagonist was flawed but likeable, the prose was polished. I can't believe this a debut novel. I don't place too much faith in goodreads rating system, but when we are approaching 15000 ratings with an average of 4.56 as of today - that says something about the qual
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

Blood song by Anthony Ryan is a great new work of epic fantasy. It was released independently a few years ago and since then has built up a huge amount of buzz, made all the more impressive by it's lack of support. Because of this background I really wanted to like this book. Conveniently the complex characters and intriguing plot made liking it easy. Also the gratuitous violence. FTW.

The main character of this book is Vaelin Al Sorna who at the beginning of the story we see as a captive on h
I had heard a lot of good things about this series but I felt that I went into it thinking it was going to be a three star at best I believe because it has been compared to Name of the Wind, a book that I enjoyed that was subsequently ruined by its sequel The Wise Man's Fear.

Blood Song is told in a similar manner. The story is told from the perspective of the main character Vaelin Al Sorna after the events have occurred. He is telling his story to a scribe who has heard the stories of the Hopeki
Jul 22, 2014 Lee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
Ye Gods that was a ride and a half. I must say, given that I usually have at least 3 books on the go at any one time, it is very rare for me to completely ignore all else and just plough through one. I like being able to have a change whilst reading, but I have to say, once I was into Blood Song, that was it.

I listened to this on audio in the car, on the tread mill, sitting on a plane for 2 hours, stuck in a Sydney traffic jam for 3 hours (first traffic jam that i didn't get frustrated with), o
Executive Summary: I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it.

Audio book: I'm a little torn on the narration. Steven Brand is a pretty good narrator. He does accents and inflections to really add something to the story. However, he's so DAMN QUIET. It seemed like he was whispering half the time. I'm not sure if it's him or simply the quality of the production, but it seems like it's just the way he reads.

I listen to audiobooks on my phone. Sometimes with headphones, sometimes with the s
Liz* Fashionably Late
Re-read: July 2015

5 Stars
Even better than the first time.

4.5 Stars

The song is me, my blood, my need, my hunt.


Blood Song is the promise of a seriously kick-ass trilogy. Rich storytelling, beautiful prose, fast paced, amazing character development, among other things.

First time we meet Vaelin Al Sorna he's a 10 year old kid who's just lost his mother and is sent to the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith, to be trained in the art of war. The last time we s
Finally! A book that lives up to the hype. Blood Song is the best debut epic fantasy I've read since The Name of the Wind was published in 2007.

It had everything one could want in a book. Action, mystery, romance, intrigue, and plenty of surprises. The world building was good, the plot complex, and the various characters were full of depth and personality.

This was a thoroughly exciting and enjoyable read. Anthony Ryan might just be making a case to join my quartet of all time fantasy favorites
Do you like your loyaltea with a little blood in it? No, well bear with me anyway and I hope that I can open your ear for the tune of the blood song.

As with every good tea party a theme makes it even better, except maybe playing bridge...then it is more of a bridge party, where someone might have some tea, but I degress.

The theme of Blood Song is clearly loyalty. The main character, Vaelin Al Sorna, is handed over to an order of Warrior Monks by his fater, the Battle Lord of the realm.
And in lea
Zachary Jernigan
OBJECTIVE RATING (my best stab at looking at the book's merits, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it all that much): 2.5

PERSONAL RATING (how much the book "worked" for me personally): 2

Review originally posted on Fantasy Book Critic.

When Mihir asked me to do a review of Anthony Ryan’s debut, I was flattered and excited -- flattered because Mihir is one of the most thorough and dedicated reviewers out there (not to mention an overall gracious, kind-hearted individual), and excited because I’
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The story of Blood Song is about a young boy who trains and grows up to become a leader and one of the greatest warriors in the kingdom. It's a tried-and-true formula in epic fantasy which by all rights I should be sick to death of by now, but Anthony Ryan manages to pull it off without making me feel like I'm getting the same old, same old.

Take how the book starts, for example, opening on an encounter between a scribe and

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
Simply put, this book is awesome. It's hard to believe it's a debut novel as it lacks the tell tale signs. It's well written with a great set of characters, an interesting world with many interesting belief systems and a great magic system. These all come together with great pacing to tell a fantastic story that spans years and leaves you desperate for more. I had to start the second book the second I finished it :)

I couldn't put it down and was late to more than one engagement, but happily I ha
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
Dec 02, 2013 Brandi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brandi by: Faye, la Patata
Shelves: favorites, male-lead

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
Let me preface this by saying that I have owned this book for a good year, but, as is my usual fashion, I did not get around to reading this until last week because, books. Not to mention the Australian cover is pretty chat and the title sounds like the title of every epic fantasy novel EVER. But, a good number of my friends on Goodreads were reading Book II of the Raven's Shadow series, Tower Lord, in preparation for Queen of Fire, Raven’s Shadow Book III, which came out at the end of June in A ...more

Blood Song is, I thought to myself as I turned the final pages of the book, by far one of the best fantasy novel debuts I have read in years. There is no other word to describe the feeling upon finishing this novel than this: satisfaction. It was the feeling of having completed a book I thoroughly enjoyed. In more recent years I have, due to time constraints, felt myself forced to read books at a faster rate than my usually quick pace. I still enjoy each book I read but the sense of needing to r
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
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

Vaelin Al Sorna is the dude, and he kicks butt.

The End.

I need to reread book two like yesterday.


Buddy read Desinka, Alexa, Armina, Gavin


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Anthony Ryan was born in Scotland in 1970 but spent much of his adult life living and working in London. After a long career in the British Civil Service he took up writing full time after the success of his first novel Blood Song, Book One of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. He has a degree in history, and his interests include art, science and the unending quest for the perfect pint of real ale.

For n
More about Anthony Ryan...

Other Books in the Series

Raven's Shadow (3 books)
  • Tower Lord (Raven's Shadow, #2)
  • Queen of Fire (Raven's Shadow, #3)
Tower Lord (Raven's Shadow, #2) Queen of Fire (Raven's Shadow, #3) Slab City Blues: A Hymn To Gods Long Dead Slab City Blues: The Ballad of Bad Jack Slab City Blues

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“War is always an adventure to those who've never seen it.” 53 likes
“Knowledge is what shapes us, little brothers,” he told them, for once his smile was absent, his tone entirely serious. “It makes us who we are. What we know informs everything we do and every decision we make.” 33 likes
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