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Obsidian and Blood

(Obsidian and Blood #1-3)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  41 reviews
A massive fantasy omnibus containing all three novels in the Obsidian and Blood series:

Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan - the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, high priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the
Paperback, 896 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Angry Robot (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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A series I had my eye on for quite some time, ‘Obsidian and Blood’ intimidated me at first. It looked to be right up my alley, but I wondered if I would get lost in a world based around the ancient America’s, of which I have very little knowledge. I feared getting lost in the names, lost in the mythos, and feared the book would turn into a giant research project if I wanted to follow the story. My fears were unjustified; the book is a well-crafted, well contained story. I have m
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Omnibus edition of de Bodard's trilogy about Acatl, an Aztec priest, plus three related short stories. These are set in the Aztec empire at its height; the gods are very real, and priests can work magic. In the first book, Acatl, priest of the death god whose name I'm not even going to begin to try to spell, is brought in to investigate a murder; what begins as a sort of mystery/procedural grows to involve all manner of intrigues amongst gods and mortals alike. A fascinating portrayal of a very ...more
I’ve seen this described multiple times as a cross-genre novel, and I don’t want to be repetitive or boring, but it really, really, really is. The Obsidian and Blood books take place in the 1480s, in a Tenochtitlan where the Mexica (better known to Western readers perhaps as the Aztec) gods are real, and where they exert very real influence over the lives of the people. It’s also a mystery, as our main character, Acatl, is in charge of the investigation for the abduction of the priestess Eleuia, ...more
Shadowhawk reviews Angry Robot Books’ latest offering, Obsidian and Blood, the omnibus edition containing all the Aztec Mysteries novels and short stories featuring High Priest Acatl.

“This is one of the greatest stories ever told. Aliette de Bodard has brought Noir, Aztec and Fantasy together for an explosive and engaging mix worthy of being called a new trend in the genre. If you have ever wanted to experiment with your reading, then you’ll be hard-pressed to do better than read the story of Ac
Do not let the names & pronunciations deter you. The stories and the characters are more interesting if you don't get hung up on it. Aliette makes it easy to put you right in the ancient city that I have only seen about on TV. It's fantastic and dangerous!

Servant of the Underworld ****
Harbinger of the Storm ****
Master of the House of Darts ****
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Solid PG13 because of violence
Shelves: read-ebook
If you have problems with a society that considers death and human and animal sacrifice as daily living, this probably isn't the book for you. But I've known about and studied about Mixtican society since I was ten years old and reading these was like welcoming home old friends.

The central character, Acatl-tzin, is the High Priest of the Dead and is called upon to discover, by means of magic and the mundane, the methods and meaning behind mysterious deaths. The three independent books that make
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
This collection brings together in one convenient volume the trilogy of novels, plus the three short stories, of Acatl, Aztec High Priest of the Dead in the capital city of Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs were an ethnicity whose spirituality was rife with the supernatural, including a pantheon of deities. Spiritual life was for this people an irremediably interwoven aspect of their natural and daily life. Deities must be appeased, honoured, worshipped; hence, the need for one to fulfill the role of Hig ...more
Costin Manda
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Obsidian and Blood is a collection of all the works in the Aztec magical universe created by Aliette de Bodard. It contains the three books Servant of the Underworld, Harbinger of the Storm and Master of the House of Darts, plus three short stories (which perhaps you should read first). The stories can be found online, if you want a free taste.

Now, while I enjoyed the books, I felt a little cheated. In fact, these are not fantasy books as much as policiers, just set in the tiny and magical Aztec
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the first two books and then never got around to the third. Which I interpret as, I needed a long break.
Love the interpretation of Aztec life in a fantasy style. The magic is great, the court intrigue is great, the characters great. The second book gets even more into the magic than the first to mixed ends but I loved the far out place it eventually went.
Worth a look for what it does differently.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed these books partly because of the very different culture and world view of the characters. I don't know enough about the Aztecs to know how accurate the portrayal is. But they're very enjoyable mysteries, with a main character who is flawed enough to be human, but not so much that he is overly frustrating or unlikable. ...more
Kyle Sullivan
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really fun! A great way to get to know the pre-Columbian Mexica. Bodard had managed to merge a world of magical fantasy where gods are real, the style of old film noir detective story, and a cultural exploration of the Aztecs. This was fun. Would make a crazy film!
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I only understood what was going on 70% of the time but loved it!
Maurynne  Maxwell
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
An honest attempt at entering a culture, I felt. A hero who plods rather than swashbuckles is not the usual choice for the main character, but an honest man in a court of intrigues delights.
Ayo Odun
So this is going to take a while! But servers me right for attempting to read an omnibus!
This is going to read in chunks, I've tried to do it in long sittings that ain't happening so we go slowly.

It's pretty good so far.
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
OBSIDIAN & BLOOD ended up being one of those books that kept me reading but I wasn't over the moon about. Don't get me wrong; I liked what I read but I only read through SERVANT OF THE UNDERWORLD. I just didn't feel compelled to keep reading.

I liked the world that de Bodard created. It felt effortless, as if it didn't need explanation. It just was. It might be because it's Mayan, of which people have a general understanding of. They may not know the workings of the years (I sure didn't) or which
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Obsidian and Blood: Trilogy Review

Newly out from Angry Robot is the omnibus edition of the first three books about Acatl, high priest for the Dead in Tenochtitlan, heart of the Mexica empire of the Aztecs. Set in a historically accurate fifteenth century Aztec world it's the setting that lifts this trilogy out of the ordinary.

The three books are all mysteries which Acatl must solve, though there is an overarching plot involving the transfer of power from the deceased 'Revered Speaker' to the und
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful collection. It combines fantasy, mythology, and mystery quite flawlessly. This series is a refreshing take on mythology and fantasy by incorporating Aztec mythology instead of the much more common Greek and Roman stories and characters.

Acatl is a likeable main character. As High Priest for the Dead, he’s in a relatively distinguished position, but doesn’t see himself that way. He tries his best to avoid politics, but through unraveling the mysterious activities in each of t
Lucy Saint-smith
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Obsidian and Blood is a three-volume epic historical fantasy set in pre-Columbian Mexico. It follows the adventures of the reluctant High Priest of the Dead, Acatl, who would much rather have remained a sort of parish priest of the Dead, as it were. Part of his role as chief worshipper of Mictlantecuhtli, the god of death and the underworld, is investigating mysterious deaths around the city of Tenochtitlan, and so crime-solving, intrigue and adventure ensue.
The setting of these books is wonderf
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Acatl, our narrator, is an Aztec priest. High priest to Mictlantecuhtli, the Mexica god of death and the underworld. He who welcomes us all in the end. Acatl never particularly wanted to be High priest, but here he is in the role. Watching the boundaries of the Fifth World and doing his best to keep the balance, all the while living in the knowledge that his parents died unhappy at his choice. Priesthood is not a real man’s job. Why couldn’t he have followed the example of his elder brother and ...more
Gabriel Wallis
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
"Obsidian and Blood" consists of the three following Acatl novels: "Servant of the Underworld", "Harbinger of the Storm", and "Master of the House of Darts".

"Servant of the Underworld", the first book in the trilogy, I found to be very intriguing. I liked it. It reminded me of one of the Greek mythological stories, where man and god mingle together... like "The Iliad", "The Odyssey", or even "Clash of the Titans". The book had assassinations, gods, creatures, magic, mystery, etc. By itself, I g
Copy-pasting this from my previous review.

Uh hum. I'm not sure I want to finish reading this, since I rarely trust foreigners writing about my ancestors, even those University professors, no, I don't care how much you "studied" the Aztecs, there are some things you'll never understand just by reading textbooks, even if those textbooks are written by Mexicans and sold by the UNAM.

Also, I can't help but side-eye the people claiming that the names are "hard to pronounce" since I learned them in si
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So from start to finish, I was telling myself, "Well obviously Aliette de Bodard hails from ancient city of Tenochtitlan" because the world building was elegant to the point of invisibility. Everything sounded so matter of fact, from the casual animal sacrifices to the MC's hatred of his Super Snazzy High Priest Outfit because really, who wants to wear a great big owl-cloak in the tropics? I was kind of disappointed to realize that I was mistaken, and the author was, in fact, French-Vietnamese ( ...more
Pavlo Tverdokhlib
Yet another Angry Robot omnibus. A relatively novel setting- how often do you have novels set in the Aztec Empire that don't feature the contact with Europeans in some way? Well, this one doesn't.

In fact, this is like adopting the familiar tropes of the Greek myths where the mortals interacted with gods, but replace the Olympians with the Aztec pantheon, all of whom require sacrificial blood for sustenance.

The Main character is the High Priest of the Gods of Death. This makes him "necromancer-in
Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Set in an rarely used context, the Aztec Empire, Obsidian and Blood is series of murder mysteries that is at times fun, but never really more than that. The prose is pedestrian(ha, look I sound cynical and unoriginal all at once), which is understandable for an author whose first language is not English. At the end, when I finally read about the author, and found out she is french, it made a lot of sense.

This is an omnibus edition of 3 books and some short stories that were written before the bo
Evan Jensen
Feb 07, 2014 rated it liked it
De Bodard badly needs to include more descriptive language. The first book and most of the second are parsimonious with explanations of what the architecture, clothing, and especially features of the characters look like. The city and surrounding countryside are barely even touch on besides "jungles to the south, desert to the north". I had a hard time imagining the environment of the stories, never having actually been to Mexico City.

There are some really stand-out sections where the creep-fact
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012, fantasy
De Bodard uses the tropes of a classic procedural mystery to take us through her fantasy Aztec world. Our protagonist investigates a murder, which proves to be the string that eventually unravels plots and machinations that extend far beyond the obvious fatality. Think Chandler or “Chinatown”.
Her vision of Aztec society is fascinating. The gods and monsters are all too real. Cruel beings which at their most compassionate must be bribed into allowing human existence. Sacrifices of blood and pain
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars, marred slightly by the transition to e-book. A good genre-bending read, mixing pre-Columbian Aztec culture with magic and murder mystery, done rather seamlessly. The stories have a good grasp of pace and plot, most of the characters seem cleverly and realistically constructed, their motives tend to ring true, and the world de Bodard creates feels, for the most part, real. There is a certain odd puritanism that is hard to place, but which may stem more from the central character's ment ...more
Amy_Read to My Heart's Content
Full Review at:

This is an amazing delve into the Aztec Empire of the past, but richly woven among a fantasy where the gods and goddesses walk among the people. There is mystery, betrayal, family, and love mixed in as well as some frightening situations that our main protagonist, Acatl, has to face.

If you like mythology then this is the book for you. I was so used to reading about Greek mythology it was hugely entertaining to learn about another culture'
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it
In general, I really liked this trilogy. The setting is something different from your usual fantasy, the height of the Aztec empire, with the added bonus that all the gods are real and interacting with people. I wonder what the rest of the world looks like in that setting. I guess the Spanish Conquest wouldn't have happened as it did here.

I do admit though that I had some problems following the plot sometimes, due both to too many characters with too many unpronounceable names, and me reading on
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Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris. She has won three Nebula Awards, a Locus Award, a British Fantasy Award and four British Science Fiction Association Awards. She was a double Hugo finalist for 2019 (Best Series and Best Novella). Most recently she published The House of Sundering Flames (Gollancz/JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.), the conclusion to her Dominion of the Fallen trilogy, s ...more

Other books in the series

Obsidian and Blood (3 books)
  • Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood, #1)
  • Harbinger of the Storm (Obsidian and Blood, #2)
  • Master of the House of Darts (Obsidian and Blood, #3)

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