Mihir's Reviews > Blood Song

Blood Song by Anthony  Ryan
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Jul 11, 2012

it was amazing
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Read from July 11 to 15, 2012


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 person narrative featuring Lord Verniers Alishe Someren, a chronicler that has been chosen to write about the main character Vaelin Al-Sorna and about the journey that they both will undertake. The story then begins Vaelin’s past as when as a child he’s commanded to join the Sixth Order of the Faith of the Unified Realm. Thus begins Vaelin’s journey wherein he will learn to wield weapons and become a famed warrior of the unified realm that will also earn him many names all across various nations and regions. Friends and foes alike will be drawn to him in differing amounts. But when all is said and done, Vaelin’s journey has only begun as the reader will learn more about his past as well as that of his realm.

One searches for the next best thing in fantasy, often going through many books in search of the book that will enthrall you completely. I almost missed on this beauty by buying it but then never getting around to reading it. I owe thanks to Michael Sullivan for reminding me about this book and what a book it is. Beginning from the events in the past to the current story going on currently, this setup has been explored in various fantasy, historical and other genre novels.

The most recent famous example being The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. In fact a similarity between those two books can be seen in regards to the protagonist's story and their growth via a university/military school setting. What differentiates these two books is a terrific conclusion to the book as well as themes about war and its follies. Also this was my observation but I found some shades of David Gemmell in Anthony Ryan’s storytelling style and prose. It is heartening to see a Brit take up the mantle of heroic, epic fantasy from one of fantasy’s most distinguished writers as well as a fellow British writer.

This book is more akin to a traditional epic fantasy wherein it’s set in a pseudo-European setting and with a world history that is unveiled slowly and tantalizingly. At the same time, there is a core mystery at the heart of this plotline, why was Vaelin sent to the sixth order? What really happened with his parents? Who is the One Who Waits? These questions and much more abound this volume and will tempt readers into coming back for the later parts of this trilogy. The book focuses in the past as well as the present and the author has tantalizingly kept both time periods shrouded in mystery. This thread is what powers the book throughout and makes the story such a strong one.

Characterization is also a strong point in this opening volume, even though we get a singular narrative voice for the majority of the book. The author has created a fascinating side character cast particularly King Janus, Princess Lyrna just to name a few, these characters make the story even more fascinating and with the increase in POV character cast in "Tower Lord" (book II). I can't wait to see which other characters get their own narrative voices. The book ends on a strong note and with a twist that is hard to anticipate, giving the readers a complete story if they want to read just this book however I’m sure once the readers finish this book they will want to read “Tower Lord” the next in the Raven’s Shadow trilogy.

Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song is a tremendous debut; it has a fast paced, action packed and character driven story. Qualities to admire in any genre story and most of all in an epic fantasy one. Give this book a read, if you have ever felt that Indie books have no quality to them, give this book a read if you are tired of the same morass of stories in the epic fantasy genre, give this book a read if you want a well written story by a newbie author and lastly give this book a read if you want to read a story that’s closest to those written by David Gemmell.
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Quotes Mihir Liked

Anthony  Ryan
“War is always an adventure to those who've never seen it.”
Anthony Ryan, Blood Song
tags: irony, war


Reading Progress

02/19/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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Michael It's hard not to draw correlations between Anthony and myself. I'm so glad that Ace-Roc picked him up and am looking forward to a great career from him. Publishing is changing, and he is just another example of how a well written engaging story can be an indie success and also attract the attention of the major publishers.


Mihir Hi Michael

Its very kind of you to highlight such upcoming gems. Anthony's debut is possibly the best debut I have read this year so far.


Michael I agree, and glad that Ace picked him up.

I'm not sure if you are into Science Fiction but if you are Hugh Howey's Wool is also a find worthy of checking out. I suggest the Omnibus edition that has the first 5 stories in it (they started out as "shorter works" but got progressively longer with each.


message 4: by Mihir (last edited Jul 26, 2012 09:09AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mihir There you go Michael, further increasing my TBR pile :) I don't mind SF, its just that fantasy (and all its forms) satiate my mind's craving more.

I think I have seen it crop up lots of times in my Amazon lists. I'll be sure to procure it asap.


Michael Well I feel it is my mission...I'm glad that I in some small way turned you onto Anthony Ryan's book, and know that it goes both ways as I've seen Zero Sight for a while now but never pulled the trigger -- until now. Thanks for reminding me to check him out as well.


Mihir That's great to hear, Brian's a terrific guy and his Zero Sight series is a treat to read. I hope you enjoy the read and looking forward to any more recommendations you might have.


Greg Markwardt Great review I started following FBC a couple years ago and finding you an Mihir hear on GoodReads has been enlightening. Liviu your fantasy recommendations have been spot on though I do not share some of your eclectic tastes. And Mihirs thriller and thriller and horror suggestions are excellent as well. Keep it up guys.

Just started Blood Song so far it's excellent.


Mihir Many thanks Greg, hope you enjoyed Blood Song as much as we did.


message 9: by Shaad (new) - added it

Shaad Zaman This sounds so amazing! I am really looking forward to reading this. The last few times I have gone to the bookstores it been screaming at me to pick it up! I just have so many books to read!


message 10: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike You should really check out The Shadow Of What Was Lost. I just finished it and felt it was just as good as Blood Song.


Mihir Thanks Mike, I actually have read it. It's an interesting debut more in line with Robert Jordan than David Gemmell unlike Blood Song. I just haven't had the time to review it yet.


Mihir Thanks Mike, I actually have read it. It's an interesting debut more in line with Robert Jordan than David Gemmell unlike Blood Song. I just haven't had the time to review it yet.


message 13: by Mike (last edited Jun 25, 2015 07:54PM) (new) - added it

Mike I agree. I was moreso referring to my enjoyment of it rather than story, when comparing it to Blood Song.

Eager to hear your thoughts. Thanks Mihir!


Mihir Oh my apologies then, I see what you mean. It was a good debut and the author handled the timelines rather well.


Mihir Oh my apologies then, I see what you mean. It was a good debut and the author handled the timelines rather well.


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