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(Blood #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,017 ratings  ·  92 reviews
The time is the not-too-distant future. London is in ruins. A bombed-out shell. A picked-over carcass where the only rule of law is might makes right. What remains of the city is being fought over by two ruthless gangs of warlords. In an effort to create peace, however, a truce between the two families is suggested by Val, patriarch of the Volson clan. His collateral? The ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 15th 2002 by Tor Books (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,017 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Aug 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why I love this book so much? Because it's one of the most freaking messed up books ever. Like holy damn messed up. It's crazy! It's gory, disgusting, violent and everything I could ever want. Haha. I loved how dark it is and it will forever be on my love, love, love shelf.

This is a YA book that really pushes the boundaries and REALLY deserves having a higher for mature audience rating slapped on it. Bloodtide is hard, hard, hard and if you don't like dark not fluffy at all stuff then you got
Cara Marie
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, fantasy, sci-fi
I first read Bloodtide as a teenager, and it's been a few years since my last reread. Bloodtide is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel. The post-apocalyptic part is the London that's been cut off from the rest of the world after the gangs got too big. (Maybe not a proper apocalypse, but it it's treated as one). The sci-fi part is the genetically engineered 'half men', who the humans think are monsters … but they're no more monstrous than any of the human characters.

And then there's the g
Apr 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenagers with low standards.
Recommended to Daniella by: Jack
This book was given to me by some dude who was trying to bang me.

I wish I was kidding.

And now that I've managed to finish reading this monstrosity, I have to wonder whether I should be insulted that he was trying like hell to get with me, because obviously his taste and judgment are questionable. For one thing, he told me this book is good. It isn't. And for another thing, after a conversation we had about the book I'm writing, he said that my book sounds like this book.
Oddly Robotic
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book really got under my skin. I don't know what to think, specifically. It hurt, but, damn, it was good.
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I guess sometimes the more a book can disgust you, the more it can startle and unnerve you, the better it is. I havent forgotten this book, though I read it about ten years ago.
Bloodtide is the first part of the Icelandic Volsunga Saga, replayed in dystopic London where ganglords rule the city and genetically engineered halfmen threaten them from the countryside. Twins Siggy and Signy Volson are separated when Signy weds a rival family ganglord, but treason, war, and intrigue may bring them back togetherif both twins can survive the harrows of war. An odd combination of dystopic London and Icelandic myth, Bloodtide has an attention-grabbing concept which is often well handled but never ...more
Courtney Johnston
Feb 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I found out about Melvin Burgess's 'Bloodtide' after following a thread of articles online (mostly on the Guardian, bless 'em) about the "issue" of violence in children's and YA books, which spiked around Patrick Ness's 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' (truly terrific book which apparently got some people raging about knife crime, because yes, books about a kid coming of age in a futuristic agrarian community when the men have been infected by a virus that makes all their thoughts audible is *exa ...more
Abigail Houseman
I'm sorry to say that this book was not quite to my tastes or what I was expecting.
I feel like this book had so much potential which is partially what made it so disappointing.
There were good points, parts of the plot from the Volsung Saga mixed in with a new dystopian universe but as another commenter said, they weren't meshed well.
I think the main thing was that I wasn't made to care. More background was needed to make me fully feel like I wanted the characters to succeed or fail, and
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I can't figure out if I liked this book or if I was disturbed by it. Essentially it is the story of two warring gang families; the Volsons and the Connors. Signy Volson is married to Conor Connor to help Val Volson unite London under one ruler. Signy is kept in a tower for "her protection" and soon a half-hyena man -one of many half-men who live outside London- tells her Conor plans to betray her and gifts her with a cat named Cherry. Soon Conor betrays her and the book gets very disturbing. (vi ...more
I just didn't really gel with this book.

Set in a dystopian future, London is walled off from the rest of the country and is under the control of two rival ganglords. The area around London is left to a race called 'Halfmen'. These are a mixture of humans, animals and machines mashed into one. They don't get on with humans.

One of the ganglords tries to form a peace treaty to the other by wedding off his daughter to him. But then the Gods get involved and betrayal becomes the norm.

This all s
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit
Bloody and intensely compelling. I first read this book when I was 14 and it blew my mind. I don't think I had ever read anything quite so explicitly violent before that point. (Unless you count the Armoured Bear fight in Northern Lights...)

The elements of the original Icelandic saga are so seamlessly interwoven with Burgess's vision of dystopian London, that it is no more surprising that Odin turns up at a banquet than that there are mutants - half animal, half person - roaming around outside th
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is very twisted. But I give it four stars for how the author was able to create a character that was psychotic, but you don't realize it until the end. And for how he was able to make the war seem so real.
Pam Saunders
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great read for our boys at school, fantasy, action, moral dilemma's, links to mythology.
When I have to read book two, immediately, it's good.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book made such a huge impression when I was a teenager. I do not even know If I would dare to read it again because of that reason.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
The future London has fallen far from its lofty civilization. Now ganglords rule, and the biggest of these are like kings over their own little kingdoms. But Val Volson and Connor both want it all, and so a treaty was proposed: Val's daughter Signy's hand in marriage to Connor to create peace between the bitter rivals. Signy opposes the marriage at first. When she's grown to love Connor, betrayal shatters the truce and subjugates all of London under Connor's iron fist. And so Signy finds a new g ...more
Carrie Stewart
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess bases its story on that of the Icelandic Volsunga Saga. Set in a London of the future that has been ravaged by gang warfare and abandoned to those seeking power, it focuses mainly on one of the warring families, the Volsons. The key characters are twins Signy and Siggy. At the beginning of the book their father Val is working on a treaty with Conor, the rival gang lord, hoping it will lead to them working together to leave London and take over the rest of the country. ...more
Cathleen Ash
Val Volson owns half of London. Of course, it's not necessarily a London anyone would want anymore, but half of it's his. The other half belongs to Conor - another dangerous warlord in this future of half-humans surrounding an abandoned city with little remaining technology. There is poverty, starvation, and of course, gang wars.
Siggy and Signy, twins, follow their father Val around the city and find ways in and out of buildings. What Val doesn't know is that they also rob the rich, findin
Chris Leslie
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
I'd say definitely give it a go. I haven't got on too well with Melvin Burgess' books over the years - I didn't like Sara's Face, and I thought Junk was well written but just not my type of book. But this one definitely made me want to read until the end and find out what happened.

Sometimes the writing style is a little bit detached and impersonal: I found this with Sara's Face too. It just depends what kind of storytelling works for you though, I wouldn't say it's a weakness.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for

The city of London is slowly crumbling, with two prominent sides tearing the city apart. There are the half-men who are too grotesque, too unworthy of living the normal life they once had, all because of the way they were transformed against their will. Then there are the humans, the ones who would rather dominate the world around them than save the city from total chaos.

Among these humans are two clans, the Conors
Shonna Froebel
This teen novel was recommended on a list recently and since our library had it, I decided to check it out. It is one set at some uncertain dystopian point of time in the city of London (England). Two young teens (14) Siggy and Signy are twin sister and brother, the youngest in the ruling family of Val Volson. King Val is marrying Signy off to Conor, the leader of another fiefdom, hoping the union will bring peace to their area and unite them against the halfmen.
Both of these two fiefdoms
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having read a lot of dystopian novels in the last few years this book was a little different. I loved the idea that gangland warfare could lead to such drastic actions as shutting London off and surrounding it with genetically modified humans/animals.
It was violent in many places and a little gruesome but then the situation that the main characters find themselves in is as well. It addresses issues of madness, chaos and prejudice and some incidents in the book reminds you scarily of what has ha
Mar 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-authors
Wow this book certainly is something. Though if I’m perfectly honest I’m not sure what that something is. Bloodtide is addictive reading, you can’t just read one chapter – you keep going and going and before you know it’s the middle of the book.

There are lots of things I loved about Bloodtide: it’s gritty, vivid (the world-building is spectacular), the writing and the book doesn’t make nice. There’s no filtering or sugarcoating. I respect that and while there were parts that certainl
A.D. Croucher
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Norse myths, sci-fi, dystopian YA & harsh but powerful storytelling.
This is a harsh, mesmerizing, strange, messed-up book, full of brutal & dreamlike poetic writing, and a brilliantly freewheeling display of imagination. It's like nothing you've ever read: a YA dystopian take on Norse myths. Ancient, shapeshifting magic blends with gritty sci-fi in a devastated future-London landscape. Broken post-apocalyptic tech and the old Norse gods go hand in hand in this thrilling blend of genres. Burgess is normally known for his bleak and ferocious contemporary YA, b ...more
One of my fave books for teens!

"This is the first in the series of two novels based in this universe. The book deals with two warring gangs, named the Volsons and the Connors. Each controls a large portion of London, since the city was blockaded from the outside world. Val, head of the Volsons wishes for peace between the two and offers his daughter Signy as Conor's wife in order to broker a treaty. His hopes are to unite London and destroy the half-men who occupy the outer rim of Lo
Susan Price
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read a lot of self-conscious retellings of myth, set either in the past or in some sci-fi future, and I'd come to the conclusion that it was never done well.
So I approached this, and BloodSong, with a lot of scepticism. TBH, I only read it because I was going to be meeting Melvin Burgess at a Lit Fest, where we were going to be on a panel together.

I was so wrong! This, and its sequel, are wonderful - blew me away. It's so well imagined, its world so complete, that there's
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norse-fantasy
This is a very dark and frightening portrayal of what may well happen to British society if the government flees, gangs rule and technology goes too far.
Yet it is woven smoothly into an age old norse tale of two feuding families, the agendas of the old gods, the pursuit of revenge and how the quest for peace is never free from pain and sorrow.
The characters are all mainly over teenage years yet the struggles each goes through makes them more adult in mind then they appear on the skin
Devin Milliron
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a good read for anyone who enjoys distopian future stories. I had no idea what to expect from this book. I found it on a discount rack at a discount store in Canada. Very random. The cover wasn't too promising but I must say that I loved it! Burgess vision of the future is bleak and scary, but he has a unique sense of humor to write so lightly about all the horrors of a bombed-out London. I almost thought it was a satire for the first hundred pages or so, until everything went downhill. ...more
Jonathan Strange
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I feel that this book actually deserves a review because most of my friends seem to have not even heard of it... It was one of the first young-adult books that I read (cannot quite remember when as it was ages ago). Rather difficult to define in terms of genre because it seems able to transcend generalisation. If you like fantasy, dystopia, thriller, mythology, and philosophy being juggled effortlessly within a text, and a more mature take on teenage fiction then this is the book for you. In ter ...more
Bronwyn Mcloughlin
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hugely confronting and unpretty, but also deals with all sorts of issues with a grittiness that engrosses. Lots of gruesome deaths, but this is a dystopian story with overtones of the Icelandic myths, and it was alway going to be messy. Issues of ruling style - Connor the authoritarian vs a more egalitarian as favoured by the Volsuns - issues of motives - power for its own sake or for the liberation and empowerment of the poor. Genetic engineering, incest, justice,'s a huge ...more
Tiago Serrano
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it
A very nicely build book, although bit on the gory side for a book considered for young people, when my mom bought me this I had no idea what to expect, and i think she never read the synopsis but once i started reading, the amazingly depicted dystopia that Melvin Burgess throws us into is just too good to put down, even thought that there is some unecessary violence from which the book doesn't benefit.

3/5 for the dystopian reality, but lack of proper character building and the extr
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Melvin Burgess is a British author of children's fiction. His first book, The Cry of the Wolf, was published in 1990. He gained a certain amount of notoriety in 1996 with the publication of Junk, which was published in the shadow of the film of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, and dealt with the trendy and controversial idea of heroin-addicted teenagers. Junk soon became, at least in Britain, one of the best-known children's bo ...more

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Blood (2 books)
  • Bloodsong (Blood, #2)
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