Daniel's Reviews > The Blood Knight

The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes
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May 08, 2008

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Read in January, 2008

For the most part, I enjoyed reading Keyes's third installment to his Kingdom of Thorn and Bone series. The mysteries that drive the plot kept me interested, and each revelation that Keyes dropped increased the scope of the story and raised the stakes for the characters. There were moments when I felt an intake of breath and marveled at the ramifications of what passed and what was said. It is this epic feel that brought me back to the genre of fantasy (as in: swords and sorcery and the like), and it was fun to experience that again.

If anything held this book back, it is Keyes's reliance on an episodic structure that relies upon cliff-hanger endings. Every single chapter ends with on a note of suspense that is then prolonged until that narrative thread is picked up again a few chapters later. For some scenes this works well, and encourages interest; in other parts of the book, however, this breathless delivery undercuts any drama or introspection or pause that necessarily accompanies all of the action. Much as I enjoyed the pace of events, there were times that I wanted everything to slow down and just let the characters be for a moment - especially after some of aforementioned revelations. Wouldn't people need to dwell on what they've learned at some point, even in a time of war? According to Keyes, no, events just keep pushing people forward. Even if this is true historically, in the context of fiction it makes for narrative that can be wearisome and almost absurd. Just how much punishment can Aspar take before he sits down and says, "Sceat, I'm gonna take a bloody nap."

Lack of narrative variety aside, I do look forward to the fourth and final installment, and the answers that it will bring. I can also say that I'm glad I picked this series up.
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