Reed's Reviews > Blood Song

Blood Song by Anthony  Ryan
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's review
Aug 17, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

If you are jonesing for a big honking fantasy reminiscent of The Name of the Wind, then Blood Song by Anthony Ryan might be right up your alley. The author might think comparing the two novels is unfair, but when your novel begins with a frame story detailing a scribe who is writing down the biography of a famous warrior renown for remarkable deeds, it's hard not to make the comparison.

Certainly the details of the two novels are different. Vaelin is placed in a school/brotherhood of warriors against his will, literally dropped and left by the Sword of the King, his father. A good chunk of the novel details the harsh education of Vaelin and his fellow novice brothers, much as Name of the Wind details Kvothe's education in magic. As the novel begins, we hear many nicknames and tales of great and terrible deeds by Vaelin, just as in Kvothe's tale.

The novel is not a blatant rip-off of Name of the Wind, however, and soon takes its own path. I enjoyed the tale of Vaelin and his brothers as they learn to develop their skills as warriors, and as Vaelin begins to unravel the mystery of a Seventh forgotten Order.

The novel is currently in a self-published ebook form by the author for a very cheap price, especially considering the length of the novel. It has been picked up for standard publishing next year, so if you are interested get it now for a discount. However, there are issues with this version that a professional editor will no doubt eliminate--grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, and the most ridiculously small font. I had to magnify the font on my kindle almost to the maximum level to read the book, which makes switching between books a bit of a pain.

I did feel that Blood Song is a fun fantasy romp, though it seemed a bit "light" despite it's sometimes grim story choices. The harsh training of the brotherhood never feels threatening--you just know that Vaelin and his friends will make it through ok. His love interest is telegraphed and remarkably dull in the telling. Vaelin often feels conflicted over killing and being manipulated by others, but it often doesn't feel believable, perhaps due to a bit too much of Ryan telling us Vaelin's reactions instead of showing them. The novel's pacing is a bit off too, and tended to drag in sections.

I do feel that a strong editor can improve this tale greatly, and believe it is worth reading if you can overlook its flaws.
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