Audra (Unabridged Chick)'s Reviews > Blood Eye

Blood Eye by Giles Kristian
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Aug 29, 12

bookshelves: era-medieval, historicals, place-ancient-places, place-scandinavia, place-uk
Read from August 22 to 27, 2012

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. Unable to remember his past, Osric is marked with one permanently bloodshot eye, and is feared by the village. When Norsemen land nearby, Osric is shocked to discover he speaks the strangers' tongue and he becomes a translator -- and betrayer -- of his village. When the worst happens, he's pressed into service on the longship and from there comes his transformation from Osric to Raven, a Norse warrior.

Kristian's writing style is easy and readable -- peppered with historical details (and crazy Norse and medieval-y English names) -- and the story is pretty dramatic. At times, I was acutely aware this was a 400+ page book -- I think it could have used a little trimming -- but the story always picked up.

Personally, I had a hard time reconciling liking the characters with their bloody behavior, even if historically accurate, which might have been the biggest hang up for me with this book. But Kristian creates a kind of black humor banter-y connection between his characters that invites like, even affection.

On a format note, I have to give Bantam props for a lovely e-book. The formatting was wonderful -- the 'small' font was nice and readable -- and the table of contents was detailed and hyperlinked.

This book is the first in a trilogy, so those who like chunksters you can dig into, you'll be in for a treat.
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