Geoff Hyatt's Reviews > Bloodstone

Bloodstone by Karl Edward Wagner
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's review
Dec 26, 12

bookshelves: fantasy
Read in February, 2012

I counted 13 exclamation points on a single page and innumerable uses of the words "ravening" and "batrachian" throughout the entire novel. So, basically, this book rules. Death rays! Giant snakes! Human sacrifice! All forms of bladed weaponry causing all manner of sloppy red mayhem! Ancient evils! Alien submarines! Ravening batrachians!

Bloodstone is the first Kane novel KEW wrote, but it was published after Darkness Weaves. Although Darkness Weaves is more accomplished, Bloodstone has a level of breathless pulp insanity that makes it well worth reading if you dig that sort of thing. As always, the immortal and amoral Kane is more a force of nature than a person--any character-based drama comes from those who unwisely make allegiances with him. ("Hey, let's hire a hyper-violent, psychopathic, superhuman genius and give him unchecked power. What could go wrong?") In this case, Teres, a warlord's daughter who can best any man in dueling or drinking (well, any man except for Kane) is a tough and cunning player in a surprisingly twisty plot for a hack 'n' slash actioner (and a refreshing female presence in, as one Goodreads reviewer put it, "The Kingdom of Badassia").

KEW's sword & sorcery novels have recurrent elements; they often revolve around two warring factions, a double-agent working both sides, and a magical wild card thrown in to add complications and compound conflicts. He manages to work these narrative elements into new and entertaining ideations in each novel. Bloodstone is a heavy metal fantasy that makes no apologies, likely to have fans of the genre reading with big, dopey grins. You know who you are.
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