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Raven: Blood Eye (Raven #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,254 Ratings  ·  198 Reviews
The first book in a thrilling Viking trilogy that launched the career of acclaimed historical novelist Giles Kristian - who's now confronting the tumult and devastation of the English Civil War in The Bleeding Land...

For two years Osric has lived a simple life, though he is feared and shunned for his mysterious past and blood-red eye. When raiders from across the sea ransa
Paperback, 462 pages
Published January 7th 2010 by Corgi (first published February 26th 2009)
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The Last Kingdom by Bernard CornwellThe Battle for Skandia by John FlanaganThe Long Ships by Frans G. BengtssonThe Sea of Trolls by Nancy FarmerViking Warrior by Judson Roberts
78th out of 99 books — 109 voters

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Fun book! This was a solid 3.5 stars for me but I rounded up to a 4 to avoid Loki's wrath.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this book wasn't the violent combat, which was fun, but the lure of the sea and Norse way of life that seduces young Osric. Ack, I can almost feel the sea spray in my beard.

This quick paced story was loaded with danger and made me want to be a Norseman, even though I'm only 5'7" 150lbs. If you've got a problem with that then tell it to me axe.
Two Reviews, Oceans apart
I decided my review of Raven: Blood Eye by Giles Kristian, would not be complete unless my review of it in 2011 was brought to the table too.
So, this is a review of two parts. Two reviews of one book, but years apart. In the name of equivalence.

I have a confession. I rarely reread. I know many people that love rereading old favourites, or books they have not read for a long time or books they want to try again to see if they feel differently about them, but I hardly e
Simon Turney
May 01, 2012 Simon Turney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was doubly surprised by Raven. I bought it, in all fairness, because I'd spoken to Giles on twitter - he's a really nice fella - and it had a cool cover. There. Admission of guilt.

I've got 3 viking sagas sat in my bookshelves, all unread, because I obsess over the Roman era and I have trouble with Viking culture, because I've always thought they didn't have one. So it took me a long time to get around to braving Raven. So that was my first stumbling block: not been keen to launch into viking t
John Snow
I had high expectations, but the book was a bit disappointing. Not that Kristian doesn't write well and he certainly displays a wide knowledge of Saxons, Vikings, and Norse mythology; somehow I felt at home in his world. It was the way the story is told that disappointed me.

In the book one event follows the other - first this happens and then this - in a uni-linear and repetitive pattern. In each second chapter or so the author seems forced to put in a big fight or a battle; after some time it b
"The Good, The Bad And The Unbelievable."

One of the most important aspects of telling a story are characters. I certainly find myself often drawn to characters as well as a good story. Both really come hand in hand, so to separate them seems strange, but from a critical appraisal point of view it occurs a lot. My main problem with Raven: Blood Eye was the characters. What I did enjoy was the story. I'll get to both shortly.

When it comes to historical fiction, a lot of authors tend not to take
Edit: currently rereading. (August 2013)
Below review was written when I first read the book in 2012..

This book was a bit of a disappointment for me. It looks the goods. Seemed promising out of the gate, but overall, it simply felt a bit flat.
The author can write well enough. There was no amateur writing to be had here, but the story, for me, was just words on a page. Nothing of note happens in a hurry through the meat of the book. Seemed to be a lot of standing or sitting around doing not much o
May 19, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of medieval novels, historical fiction
Giles leads readers into the grim yet fascinating world of middle age england through the character of Osric, a young man with no memory of his past apart from a blood ruined eye. His world is disturbed by the appearence of a group of norse traders unsettling him and his common folk. Yet the peace is further disturbed when the local priest tried to posion the Jarl Sigurd and Osric forewarns the Jarl of this trick. A fight ensues and men are killed yet Osric is spared only by the quickeness of hi ...more
Robin Carter
May 07, 2012 Robin Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vikings...A period that just screams to me to read it, if Rome is blood and sandals, then Vikings is Sea , Sword and sudden violence.
My exposure to Viking historical fiction has been limited so far, but I'm trying to catch up, I thought Robert Low had managed to reach the pinnacle of the sub genre with the oathsworn, and then out comes the raven series to take it one step further.
The writing has true power and pace, but what also come over is a true love of the subject and the characters that th
Guy Haley
I won't bang on about the plot: Young man meets Vikings, is taken in, finds he is a natural killer and has bloody adventures in Southern England in the 8/9th century. That about sums it up.

I like Vikings, for a whole parcel of reasons. I studied them at university, and married a lady Viking. I've had this lying around for aged and fancied something Norse. Blood Eye adequately captures the spirit of the era and is overall entertaining, but there are some major issues with it.

Firstly, although the
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: An historical voyage of an orphaned young man destined for Norse greatness.

Opening Sentence: It was April.

The Review:

Blood Eye begins where all good sagas do; humbly. It starts with an orphaned boy that is not truly accepted in his small village and yet does not know to want for more. When a twist of fate and chance encounter puts him along the path to his true destiny, he begins a long and treacherous journey to greatness.

Though this story
Old-fashioned blood and guts Viking saga written with a modern sensibility - explicit description of violence including disembowelings, curses, sexual innuendo and violence - first in a planned series about a mysterious boy with an unusual blood eye and some weird capabilities; though the book stays within the "real world", the fantastic elements are implied and they may or may not show up

Osric/Raven the narrator - narrating in old age, so we know he survives his trials - has been found withou
Mr. Matt
Dec 10, 2013 Mr. Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-vikings, 2013
Osric is a young man with no memories of his life beyond the past two or so years. His distinctive blood-flecked eye made him an outcast among the Saxon people of his village. When Norsemen come to his village they set off a chain of events that unlocks his hidden past and Osric becomes the Raven, a Nordic warrior following Sigurd the Lucky. The band gets tied up in an adventure involving Saxon politics, a mysterious Christian relic, Welsh savages and a beautiful young Saxon noblewoman. Good tim ...more
Georgina Ortiz
Jan 25, 2016 Georgina Ortiz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't want to compare with B. Cornwell's The Last Kingdom, but I guess it can't be helped. There were some (very forgivable) similarities. Good enough for me to look forward to the rest of the books in this series.
Lisa Yarde
Dec 13, 2012 Lisa Yarde rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the dawn of an age of Scandinavian raiding throughout Western Europe, a young man rediscovers a forgotten heritage that links him to a proud band of Norse warriors in Blood Eye, the first of Giles Kristian’s Raven trilogy. Swept up in their quest to find honor and glory in battle, Raven tests the limits of his endurance and finds companionship among these resilient but brutal warriors.

Raven does not know the name his parents might have given him at birth, where he was born or whether he has a
Dec 06, 2012 Thorrsman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very Viking, though the author never uses that term at all. A good view of the Old Beliefs as well as what Christianity was once like. Bloody in many parts, as a life lived by sword and spear would have been. I liked it enough to allow no space between this and the next in the trilogy.

We know from the outset that Osric--or Raven as he is soon renamed--survives to be an old man, telling his tales of battle and glory. That in no way detracts from the adeventures that soon follow, as we discover th
Zoltán Gecse
Aug 22, 2011 Zoltán Gecse rated it it was ok
I wrote a short review (in Hungarian) at my blog:

In nutshell:
While the base concept is very good, the storyline is totally unbelievable. The two main Raven and Sigurd are two untouchable action heroes.

The description of the scenes and the details of the battles a little bit poor, and we don't know almost anything about the characters. The changes in Raven life are too fast, but he'll be the center of the events and a respectful member of the hoard of the
An astounding start to a series I must now consume as if Odin himself has willed it!

Full of characters you'll invest in completely, this book carries with it an authority that makes it all the more 'real'.

Fast paced and full of incident it remains a story of fellowship, even tho at times the actions of the fellowship seem ruthless they are a team, a band of brothers if you will.

I've already discussed this with Giles but if this book/ series is not adapted into an HBO format series or film franch
Jan 22, 2015 Salve58 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is awful. I picked it up as I loved Bernard Cornwells Saxon series so much I thought this may tide me over. However it is a c grade rip off of Bernard, even the main character is a poor copy of my beloved Uthred. The plot is so thin it just doesn't add up in key parts yet the Norse folklore is so laboured that you are screaming out 'Ok! I get it!'I actually abandoned this at the very end when Raven just casually becomes a rapist with no context. Boo!
I can't understand the higher ratings of
María Olvera
En realidad no lo considero un libro histórico, me parece increíble que un libro así propicie todos los mitos sobre los vikingos. Lo perdono un poco porque iban con la intensión de saquear, pero aún así. Redujo toda una cultura a un par de sacrificios y un montón de hombres sanguinarios, como si todos hubieran sido así.
Sobre la escritura en general; los personajes fueron muy planos y no vi un verdadero trabajo de construcción en ninguno, ni siquiera en el protagonista, y eso que pasamos 400 pági
Jack Mayhew
What is there to say? Plenty of people on here rave about this book but for me it was dull and poorly written. It is written as a first person narrative and it becomes clear the author is reminiscing about his earlier deeds as a young warrior.

The book is plot driven! That is to say it's a fast pace journey from A to B to C with little else to keep your attention. And this itself has numerous flaws... At times it feels like reading a first draft but perhaps this is meant for a younger audience. W
I picked up the Raven trilogy on a whim because I was in the mood for a Viking themed story. After reading this first volume however, reading the rest is not going to be as carefree as I had hoped. The writing is not bad, but the sheer amount of time spent on battles and travelling is tedious. I appreciate the difficulty a life of travel and battles may present for a writer in such abundance, but it could have been spruced up with much more generous character development. I enjoyed what I read a ...more
Apr 27, 2012 Lucinda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I was so excited upon recieving the news that i had won this book on the Goodreads First-reads giveaway, as it is something that is not only on my to-read list but a novel that really stands-out when i go around the bookshops. I am eagerly awaiting with anticipation & aprehension in reading this book and finding out what it is like, as it has caught my attention & interest for a long time now. I hence cannot thank Giles Kristian the author so much for holding his book on a Goodreads give ...more
HNC Library
Raven blood eye is the coolest Viking book that I have read so far, it gives a realistic view on Norsemen life which makes it a thrilling and seat gripping work of fiction. Though it shows that the Norsemen were vicious and fearless fighters, it also shows that they were highly religious people that would sacrifice an animal in hope they would be granted a safe journey. It also shows that the Norsemen were sometimes peaceful people in the form of trading, and when Osric was concerned. This has c ...more
Mia Darien
There was a lot I liked about this book, but there was enough I had issues with to keep me from saying that I REALLY liked it.

In the interview in the back of my copy, Kristian says he doesn't plan his stories. He just writes. It shows. The story definitely just wanders through its plot, following our narrator. For the most part, this works. It has the feel of the old saga. It gets annoying at times, though. At least to me.

I loved the Norseman. They were a violent, eventimes cruel group, who did
Aug 25, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book. I don't think that I have ever ready any others like this. The time period is very interesting, a bit earlier in European history that I usually read. But the writing definitely takes you back to that time period of the Vikings. Raven, as he is renamed as he comes to join his Viking captors and befriend them. Raven is a youth who is just starting to find himself and define who he is. This really is the start of his story, it give you a good backdrop of who he is as ...more
Paul Bennett
Jul 22, 2013 Paul Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was seven years old when the Kirk Douglas-Tony Curtis movie "The Vikings" came out. Like their later collaboration in "Spartacus", the movie was flawed historically but that didn't matter to a seven year old. I was enthralled with the film and the lore of the Vikings. In this first book in a series Giles Kristian has awakened that feeling of being enthralled albeit on a much more real and visceral scale. The setting is Britain's east coast, Wessex and Mercia and the main character is a young m ...more
Aug 27, 2012 Starr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I can’t say that I am a huge fan of historical fiction, I’m not. I am a ginormous fan of a really good story. I don’t really care what genre that story falls under. Sometimes, I stay away from certain genres because my lack of exposure to them or my experience with them. No offense to those who like historical fiction because of the facts that bog down a story, but that is what turns me off from HF. That was not the case with Blood Eye. It was an amazing bloody story. Yep, bloody –blood flo ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I will admit upfront that books with a heavy bent toward violence, war, and brotherhood of men aren't really my thing. But now and then, I get a hankering for some 'guy' fiction -- like Clive Cussler or Mickey Spillane -- because I want an action movie type of read, and in this case, Blood Eye was a perfect summer flick of a book.

In 9th century England, Osric is apprenticed to a mute carpenter, the only man in a small seaside village willing to take him in when he was found two years earlier. Un
David Caldwell
I won a copy on Goodreads Firstreads.One of the best things about the giveaway program is that you can experiment with new authors and genres that you have not explored previously.

I have never been a big history buff of any era.I much prefer modern to future settings or fantasy realms. But I figured a book about Vikings in the 9th century wouldn't be too far off from some fantasies that I have read.I was both right and wrong.

Blood Eye tells the story of a young man who does not know his past.He
May 04, 2013 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly readable if rather unmemorable tale of Vikings.
On the one hand it's easily the best Viking-based novel I've immersed myself - discounting Bernard Cornwell's Warrior Chronicles as that is as much about the Saxons as the Vikings.
On the other hand it doesn't particularly stand out, rack you with a kind of intrigue or insatiable need to know what is going to happen next.

It's pretty much a mixed bag in that it slides down remarkably easy - reading somewhat like a Viking version of Angus
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BOOK BLURBS n giv...: Giveaway of "Blood Eye" thru 10/2 2 6 Sep 30, 2012 05:39PM  
  • The White Raven (Oathsworn, #3)
  • Odinn's Child (Viking, #1)
  • Sworn Sword (The Bloody Aftermath of 1066, #1)
  • The Norseman (The Norseman Chronicles, #1)
  • Outlaw (The Outlaw Chronicles, #1)
  • The Ill-Made Knight (William Gold, #1)
  • Shieldwall (Conquest Trilogy, #1)
  • Wounds of Honour (Empire, #1)
  • Hannibal: Enemy of Rome (Hannibal, #1)
  • Mercenaries (The Conquest Trilogy, #1)
  • Hereward (Hereward #1)
  • Hero of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #1)
  • Eagle in the Snow
  • Ship of Rome (Masters of the Sea, #1)
Family history (he is half Norwegian) inspired GILES KRISTIAN to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin's Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by that brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also ...more
More about Giles Kristian...

Other Books in the Series

Raven (3 books)
  • Sons of Thunder (Raven #2)
  • Odin's Wolves (Raven, #3)

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