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Blood Ties

(Castings #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,016 ratings  ·  101 reviews
A thousand years ago, the Eleven Domains were invaded and the original inhabitants forced on the road as Travelers, belonging nowhere, welcomed by no-one.

Now the Domains are governed with an iron fist by the Warlords, but there are wilder elements to the landscape which cannot be controlled and which may prove their undoing. Some are spirits of place, of water and air an
Paperback, 459 pages
Published April 7th 2008 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2008)
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Ana Sofia Ferreira Hello! I don't know a bookstore but I know a website from where I usually order my books! They're not expensive (comparing to my country, they're real…moreHello! I don't know a bookstore but I know a website from where I usually order my books! They're not expensive (comparing to my country, they're really cheap) and the shipping is free for most countries worldwide! Also, it's a completely trustworthy website. If you search on google for Book Depository, you'll find it. I'm not sure I can "advertise" it here, so I hope I won't be flagged for anything. Hope it helps!

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Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
Review also at

There were things I really liked and disliked about this book. On the things I liked were the way the story flowed, the world building and the way this books sets things up for later books.

The writing style I found quite strange and I can’t really explain why. It was like trying a new flavour of candy and not knowing whether you like that taste or not. On the back of my copy it said this was one of the most original and beautifully written fa
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a real mixed bag. On one hand, I liked the way relationships between people were tied to their ancestors' roles as invader/invaded. It was a clear reflection of the author's own Australian background and showed that people are never truly free of their histories. On the other hand:
1) The characters. Ash was well-rounded, but most of the other characters were rather two-dimensional. I found Bramble and her "Cooking and weaving and girl stuff is icky!" attitude annoying. Don't get me wron
Ana Sofia Ferreira
This was a really pleasant surprise! I had it in my bookshelf for some time now and didn't manage to read more than half of it, then I'd drop it, and I don't remember why. But this time, I finally finished it!

This is the story of several people that live in different domains, but we have our three (sort of three) main characters: Bramble, literally a free spirit; Ash, a boy who's training to be a "security guard"; and Saker, the one we least know about but is some kind of wizard. What do they ha
Kate Forsyth
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Pamela Freeman is best known for her children’s fantasies, the Florimonde books which begins with The Willow Tree’s Daughter, and also for her biographical novel, The Black Dress, about the life of Sister Mark Mackillop. This is her first fantasy for adults and it is utterly brilliant. I haven’t read a fantasy novel that I’ve enjoyed so much for a very long time, and one of the reasons for this is the fresh and surprising structure of the book, which takes the time to tell the stories of a myria ...more
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Freeman has a richly imagined world - the book is impregnanted with a deep history and culture that, while romanticised and idealised rather than realistic, lends weight to an otherwise non-existent story. Unfortunately, her timescale errs on the dramatic-and-unrealistic side - not only has the civilisation not developed at all in a thousand years (no science, no change in religion, politics or social values) they're still hanging on to the prejudice and wrongdoing that was engendered thirty gen ...more
Yvonne Boag
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Just finished The Castings trilogy by Pamela Freeman. It is quite a bit different from the normal fantasy books, it raised series issues that made you think. It was set in a pre industrial world where 1000 years ago the people had been invaded by another civilization. Now, the people who had been invaded were the minority and subjected to different laws then the rest of the population.

What I really liked about this story is through out the three books it didn't just tell the stories of the main
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Blood Ties, the first of The Castings Trilogy (I bought the omnibus edition) is set in a generic fantasy land--feudal/medieval, where magic happens on the fringes. What is interesting is the precise prose and the character building. And the heroes (protagonists) are all ordinary folk--not a king or queen or disguised princess in sight. Rather, they come from the peasant/merchant class. The story slowly and carefully combines three viewpoints; all of them are members of an oppressed ethnicity loo ...more
Ravindu Gamage
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've never liked books where there is no action and just world-building for sequels; this was an exception. The way that the author has woven the story certainly impressed me. I loved how the subplots and the minor arcs were written in a way that it massively contributes to the main narrative without deviating from it too much.

Even though it borrows creative elements from many acclaimed fantasy stories of the past, this book was unlike any fantasy book I've ever read. Excited to read and check
Jun 26, 2020 added it
Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: Well-written with a balance between ongoing tale and the parallel stories of other characters without missing a step. Keeping readers intrigued to keep going on, letting the mystique and reality shown in equal parts for any kind of reader to enjoy.

Blood Ties is the first book in The Castings Trilogy by Pamela Freeman first published in January of 2008. This book brings together three unique individuals from three different domains - Saker, Bramble and Ash - taking the
Sep 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantsy fans
Shelves: adultfiction
I have to start by saying that the author is a close friend, and I read this book in manuscript, so I am obviously not the most dispassionate of readers. I will also say that I rarely read the kind of fantasy that Pamela is writing here—I don't "get along with it"! I often find the epic cast of characters with strange names, and vast wanderings over uncertain terrain just lose me—but this was certainly not the case with "Blood Ties".

Pamela has always had a wonderful skill with characterisation
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is a terrific book. Its unusual structure makes the first half of the book a bit difficult to stick with, as it's almost entirely devoted to world-building (and it is indeed a wonderfully unique world). Instead of the common path where the plot introduces the characters and the world they inhabit, the structure here is for chapters to introduce, develop, and follow major characters (and many minor), which organically leads both to the reader understanding their world and for the plot to eve ...more
Karen Field
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Blood Ties by Pamela Freeman is the first book in The Castings Trilogy. It is also the first adult fiction novel the author has published,as she usually writes for children. I have read several of her children’s books and enjoyed them immensely. This book was no exception. In fact, it has qualities that make it stand apart from her previous writings. If you are a fan of the author, then you definitely will not be disappointed with Blood Ties.

The story is well written - smooth and interesting. Th
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, ghosts
This is another book I read because I came across it, not because I actively sought it out. That being said, I didn't know it was a blond people are evil sort of deal. Probably one of my least favorite tropes, what with being (formerly) blonde from blonds I find it a teensy bit hard to demonize said people. And that's what happens in this book. Acton's people are not described at all sympathetically except a few token characters, the rest are two-dimensional villains, even the common people are ...more
Kerrie Byrne
Sep 18, 2010 rated it liked it
As I often do when I pick up a new book from the bookstore, I chose this book with no prior knowledge of it; similarly as I do when I get that new book, I also wound up enjoying it.

Blood Ties has an interesting twist on an old genre. The world is familiar, but the way the story is written is not. Maybe it's the fact that this is her only adult series, but I found the simplistic form of writing very charming in the setting; and something different from the usual fantasy book.

The characters were e
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
When I started reading this, I quickly realised it wasn't what I had expected. For some reason, from the blurb, I had anticipated this to be a book about a wild woman of the forest, someone who lived with the animals and communed with the gods. I quickly learned that Bramble had a family and lived with them in the village, which was disappointing. But I read on, and I feared it would be a little dark - there was talk of murder, blood, rape, from the opening paragraph. However, I'm glad I perseve ...more
December Sunshine
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It took about half the book to convince me to be interested and not abandon it. The story itself is well-built and interesting, and the characters have a lot of potential.

However, the format and pacing really were the downfall of this book, despite the good writing. About two thirds of the chapters were only a few pages long, and the amount of character POVs just didn't work. I could see what the author was trying to do - give everyone a voice, see all the perspectives, not just one - but becaus
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
The history of the Eleven Domains is a violent one, with the whole country having been overthrown by Acton and his armies some years before. Now the invaders live in the villages the original residents were removed from and those who survived now live a rootless existence as Travellers and are looked down upon and mistreated by the locals and the Warlords who control each Domain. Even those who have settled down and made a life for themselves and have cast off the road are treated with suspicion ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s really 3.5 stars, the book is well written with a great story line, but the format of each chapter being about a different character with nothing to tie them together for more than half the book is off putting. Also it didn’t end, there should be an ending to a book, this just stopped. I hate that. I would have happily given this book a 5 star rating if not for those two things.
Allison Smith
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought it was a fantastic book. But took a bit to get through and to understand each character since they didnt interact at all and since the 1st book is basically the back story until they finally do meet. Many parts made me cry. Expecially when it came to Roan. But it will be a trilogy i will continue to read since i bought the bind up.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Recommended to Mara by: Jenny
Pretty interesting start to the series. Starts with nice character studies, but is clearly tending towards some much more epic drama/intrigue. Wasn't at all confused by the constant narrator swaps, as other reviews indicate.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Haunting and memorable. It's been awhile since I read it but when I see the title it instantly conjures up mental images from reading the books, always a good sign. Read if you're looking for small-E epic fantasy with an interesting protagonist. Interesting and original ideas.
Jacob Guilette
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Blood Ties is written in an interesting style.... More
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hate non-endings 😡
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A banquet of imagery both in the description of the landscape, characters (both living and dead) and the horses! Just started reading Deep Water (Castings, #2) and the richness in imagery continues.
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
8/10 Stars
C.P. Cabaniss
Nov 29, 2019 marked it as dnf
DNF at page 40.

I tried to give it longer, but I was not getting into this story and life is too short to read books that I can't get into. The writing was a little overdone for me.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. So I bought the next two. :)
Connlou Ross
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
(2007) The best sci-fi book I have read since The Hobbits. This is part of a trilogy and I can honestly say this is worth the purchase and a keeper. I will try to keep this simple. Invaders drove off the inhabitants and driven off and referred to as Travelers. Travelers are not to be helped in anyway by anyone and help by anyone is very rare. The Eleven Domains is governed by the Warlords who control everything and take what they want from the people in the Eleven Domains. The main character Bra ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy genre; strong female character; community; indigenous culture; land-taking; genocide
This is my second reading of The Castings Trilogy.
I first read the series from 2008-2009 (started between publication of the 2nd and 3rd books) and immediately was captured by the intricacies of the plot, and the depth and relatability of the characters, and by Pamela Freeman's inclusive style.

Although this book is firmly in the fantasy genre, the reality of the characters' mundane (their interactions, emotions, decision processes, and communication styles) is more real than most "our-universe
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a very enjoyable book. It has a fairly slow pace to it but this was not a problem for me. I really enjoyed reading about the characters everyday lives and getting to know them. This is one of those books where you are slowly drawn into it and before you know it you are completely invested in the outcome and the characters lives. I liked Ash right away and while I liked Bramble, I felt that it was harder to connect to her as a character. This became easier as I continued to read.

This bo
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Pamela Freeman is an Australian author of books for both adults and children. Most of her work is fantasy but she has also written mystery stories, science fiction, family dramas and non-fiction. Her first adult series, the Castings Trilogy (Blood Ties, Deep Water and Full Circle) is published globally by Orbit books. She is best known in Australia for the junior novel Victor’s Quest and an associ ...more

Other books in the series

Castings (3 books)
  • Deep Water (Castings, #2)
  • Full Circle (Castings, #3)

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“There were worse things than death.
There would be a leap and a moment suspended, then a long hopeless curve to the rocks and river below. They would fall like leaves between clouds of swifts and then be washed away by the thundering rapids. Bramble clung to that thought. If their bodies washed away then there could be no identification, no danger of reprisals on her family.
She hung on tighter.
The roan's hindquarters bunched under her and they were in the air. It was like she had imagined: the leap, and then the moment suspended in air that seemed to last forever.
Below her the swifts boiled up through the river mist, swerving and swooping, while she and the roan seemed to stay frozen above them. Bramble felt, like a rush of air, the presence of the gods surround her. The shock made her lose her balance and begin to slide sideways.
She felt herself falling.
With an impossible flick of both legs, the roan shrugged her back onto his shoulders. Then the long curve downward and she braced herself to see the cliffs rushing past as they fell.
Time to die.
Instead she felt a thumping jolt that flung her from the roan's back and tossed her among the rocks at the cliff's edge on the other side.
On the other side.
Her sight cleared, although the light still seemed dim. Her hearing came back a little. On the other side of the abyss a jumble of men and hounds were milling, shouting, astonished and very angry.
"You can't do that!" one yelled. "It's impossible!"
"Well, he shagging did it!" another said. "Can't be impossible!"
"Head for the bridge!" Beck shouted. "We can still get him! I want that horse!”
“The desire to know the future gnaws at our bones. That is where it started, and might have ended, years ago.
I had cast the stones, seeing their faces flicker and fall: Death, Love, Murder, Treachery, Hope. We are a treacherous people - half of our stones show betrayal and violence and death from those close, death from those far away. It is not so with other peoples. I have seen other sets that show only natural disasters: death from sickness, from age, the pain of a broken heart, loss in childbirth. And those stones are more than half full with pleasure and joy and plain, solid warnings like "You reap what you sow" and "Victory is not the same as satisfaction."
Of course, we live in a land taken by force, by battle and murder and invasion. It is not so surprising that our stones reflect our history.”
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