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The Band #2

Bloody Rose

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2018)
Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It's adventure she wants - and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It's time to take a walk on the wyld side.

512 pages, Paperback

First published August 28, 2018

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Nicholas Eames

11 books5,742 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,385 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46k followers
April 7, 2022
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Attention avid fantasy readers; it’s time for me to ask for your consideration once again. Nicholas Eames did it again. As of now, I’m calling Bloody Rose one of the best sequels of all time.

Last year, Kings of the Wyld made it into my small “favorite debuts of all-time” list. Since then its sequel, Bloody Rose, has easily become my most anticipated new release of the year. Expectations were high, and a fear of disappointment was certainly there, but as it turns out I needn’t have worried. It is with a heart full of joy that I proclaim Bloody Rose’s tour to be another successful tale; this is truly an excellent sequel to Kings of the Wyld, which was already amazing on its own. Those who follow my reviews should know by now that I'm a devoted series binge reader. When I started a new series to read and review, I usually finish every book available in the series first before moving to a different series or standalone. Bloody Rose however was one of the incredibly rare exceptions where I simply had to drop everything in my TBR pile immediately; it was completely irresistible.

It’s been six years since the climactic battle in Kings of the Wyld and the melodies of life must continue. The main plot this time centers on our new main protagonist, Tam Hashford, who has been living a secluded, repetitive and boring life working at her local pub. This all changes when the current most famous mercenary band, Fable, led by the infamous Bloody Rose herself, arrives and Tam immediately volunteered to be their newest bard.

Picture: Bloody Rose vs Cyclops by Felix Ortiz

Tam’s journey with Fable was a magnificent and marvelous storyline to follow. The story, though still humorous and fun, had a darker tone compared to its predecessor. I feel like I received a lot of poignant and resonating messages from this book that could totally be applied to our society and living life, and I really didn’t expect that. Some of the themes being explored in this book were parenthood, knowing what truly matters in your life, and not getting lost in the pursuit of fame, wealth, and glory. I’ve seen a lot of acquaintances who have lost everything due to this kind of pursuit. One of the main reasons behind this is that we, as individuals, tend to let other people’s judgment of us affect the way we behave. We tend to think that we have some control over their assessment but really, the majority of the time we don’t. This book portrayed these messages beautifully, making Bloody Rose not a simply fun fantasy book but also a book with a lot of good lessons and messages for self-introspection.

"We don’t get to choose what people think of us, Tam. You’re a legend now, girl, and legends are like rolling stones: Once they get going, it’s best to stay out of their way."

Nick also nailed the importance of factions' perspectives effortlessly. Bloody Rose integrates the theme of how heroes most of the time will always be a villain from the opposing side and vice versa, which works wonderfully for the depth of the plot.

"You didn’t get to be the villain of one story, she supposed, unless you were the hero of another."

Like always, characters will make or break any story for me. Without spoiling anything from the first book, some characters from the first book did make some appearances and I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent with them; it was like having a reunion with my old bandmates again. Clay and the other members of the Kings of the Wyld were a truly fantastic cast, and the premise of legendary bands reuniting for one last tour even when they’re past their prime was just spectacular. Fable at first felt a little different and needed some adjustment. It took a bit of time for me to grow to love these members due to the nature of the storytelling style being more of a slow burn than before; each characters’ background and personality took turns in their unraveling. However, as the book progressed and I reached 30% mark, I realized that once again, I had become fully invested in not only the main character but in literally every single character of the book, not only the members of Fable. It would be extremely hard to top Kings of the Wyld characters but somehow, in a different way, this younger Band of misfits were able to live up to their legend. I mean it, Nick writes a really fantastic set of characters. These characters were all distinctive, well-written, unique, and their relationship dynamics were a delight to read as friendship once again became one of the most well-explored aspects of the series in this installment.

"We slept beside them, fought beside them, bled beside them. We trusted them to watch our backs and save our assess—which they did, time and time again. And somewhere out there, between one gig and the next, something changed. We woke up one day and realized that home was no longer behind us. That our families were with us all along. We looked around at these miscreants, these motley crews, and knew in our hearts there was nowhere we’d rather be than by their side."

If I have to admit one thing that Nick definitely did better in this installment, it’s the action sequences. Don’t get me wrong, the actions in the first book were superb. But like I said, it could’ve been better if the final battle there received more pages; you have no idea how happy I am that Nick applied that here. The action sequences in this book deliver superlative quality on all fronts: vivid, immersive, cinematic, and extremely well-written. The last battle in Bloody Rose truly elevated the book into the category of epic fantasy; it was almost as if I was reading a battle sequence from the war in Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer. Nick managed to end this book on a high note due to its bloodthirsty actions that are full of turbulent, and immensely gripping emotional content.

The world-building also received great treatment as more lore and revelations were revealed. Plus, Nick did a magnificent job in making sure that this book works absolutely well as a stand-alone; though it will spoil you on the events of the first book, readers don’t have to be afraid of forgetting things and not being able to follow the story. Some of you who follow my reviews should know by now that I’m a huge gamer and Final Fantasy fan. Final Fantasy is one of my favorite gaming franchises. Kings of the Wyld was filled with ubiquitous music references and plenty of Easter Eggs from this franchise and Nick himself is a fan of Final Fantasy. I’m very pleased that he keep this tradition in Bloody Rose, which was written in a way that almost felt like the author had his eyes on me when he was writing these scenes. Other than Yojimbo from Final Fantasy X as an inspiration for Yomina, or Red XIII from Fantasy VII, or maybe even Cactuar, I’m talking about a scene involving one new minor side character named Grudge. If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, you should know already who that character resembles just from the name. Here’s a hint: he’s green, hold a cleaver, and walks really freaking slow. I’m not going to lie, I was internally screaming with joy and had a smile upon my face as wide as the Joker during this cameo scene. The implementation of music and gaming Easter Eggs into the story was seamless. Here’s an example and also one of my favorite gaming references from the book:

“Even when the shadow of the colossus fell upon them, it was enough.”

For those of you who don’t know, Shadow of the Colossus is a video game (a brilliant one at that) that I absolutely loved playing.

Picture: Shadow of the Colossus PS4 cover

Nick proved that his capability as an author wasn’t a one-time thing; he’s not a one-hit wonder like some authors that I’ll refrain from mentioning. In my opinion, Nick has always been the best at changing the rhythm of emotions seamlessly. One moment you’re holding a breath you didn’t realize you were holding (am I doing this famous line correctly?), the next moment you’ll be laughing and then feeling sad. Bloody Rose was entertaining, brilliant, and written with a near automata efficiency, providing another perfect balance of pulse-pounding moments, humor, tension, and wyld adventure. Isn’t it beautiful when a book is capable of making you feel a variety of emotions? Bloody Rose shows the power of written words with excellence. I’ll even give it the highest praises by saying that the talk of music in this book reminds me a lot of The Kingkiller Chronicle. I wish I can show you the number of passages I highlighted but to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, I will let you experience them for yourself.

Bloody Rose proves once again to be another fun escapism at the highest level just like its predecessor. A new dawn of fantasy is on the horizon and at this rate, I have no doubt Nicholas Eames will be one of the new leading authors; in my eyes, he already is. There’s still one more book left in the trilogy but it’s never too soon for me to say that this will most likely become one of my favorite trilogies of all time by its conclusion; it already is.

Kings of the Wyld was honestly one of the books—together with Sanderson’s and Gwynne’s series—that I have recommended the most to every fantasy fan. I have sung and strummed the chord of praises for Kings of the Wyld for more than a year now, and this review shall become my second concert (by that, I mean recommending this book to every fantasy fan) for this stupefying excellent series. Bloody Rose has even emboldened me to claim that this series has become superior to The Gentleman Bastards. Get hyped for the release of this book! Upon finishing the book within 24 hours, I was struck with insomnia due to euphoria and it was totally worth it. If you’re a fantasy reader, you better get some holy water to cleanse yourself of your sin if you’re thinking of not reading Bloody Rose. This is a must read with an infinite exclamation mark!

"The bards tell us that we live so long as there are those alive who remember us. In that case, I think it’s safe to say that Bloody Rose will live forever."

You know what that passage means? It’s up to the last of us to be the bards of this series, making sure the tales of the Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose live forever. There’s only one book left in The Band trilogy. If the last book ends up being as good or maybe even better than the other books in the series so far, I have zero doubt that The Band will officially become the second trilogy—after Mistborn—to have every single installment in the trilogy be included in my favorites of all-time list.

One last thing. “Hi, Terry! If you’re reading this while drinking your morning tea, I’m sorry for the super long review. Your son successfully wrote another amazing book! Get him some beer and pat him on the back for me!”

Side notes:

Some readers have messaged me saying thank you for my review on Kings of the Wyld. They told me they bought the book because of my recommendation and the majority of them loved it; friendships were also formed—Hi, Sarah!—and I’m seriously gratified with this result. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to you all for all the support and faith in my reviews! Let me use this space to also clarify this. I always try my best to support authors—especially underrated or new authors—without expecting anything in return; authors don’t owe me anything for my support. That’s why I found it extremely heartwarming to see my name included in the acknowledgment section.

Thank you, Nick. I won’t forget this. It means a lot to me and I can’t wait to talk about video games, books, and cool artworks over that beer you promised.

I read this book in ebook format and I honestly can’t wait to see how the physical copy will turn out in real life. Richard Anderson is one of the best cover artists in the industry and he did a scintillating job with the cover art for this book; in my opinion, it’s even better than the already amazing Kings of the Wyld! Plus, I can’t wait to see the new map put on real pages. I also suggest checking out Felix Ortiz’s Artstation site for more awesome Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose artworks!

Finally, this is currently my second longest review of all time (2.2k words) and there are seven gaming Easter Eggs in it; including the next sentence. Can you catch ‘em all? ;)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Official release date: August 28th, 2018

You can pre-order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,951 followers
July 19, 2019
UPDATE: $2.99 on Kindle US 7/19/19

Another Omg! My special edition with that awesome bookmark showed up! Going to be so pretty on my shelf!

Omg! My Bday was April 19th & along with a few gifts from GR friends, I got these in the mail from the wonderful Nicholas Eames! I love them so much and am so grateful! I can’t wait for my rereads

Gah!! I loved it and added it to my favorites! Woot!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐺🐾💕


Hell yeah!! Thank you my friend, Samir for showing the cover reveal where I promptly went to Amazon and pre-ordered. Yeah, it says July 2018 over there but who cares 😄

And it's got girl power!! Yessssss!

Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
December 16, 2018

ARC provided by Orbit in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Kings of the Wyld ★★★★★

First and foremost: Hi Terry! Your son is so talented and I’m so proud of him! 💗

Next, friends, I loved Bloody Rose even more than Kings of the Wyld! This book feels like stepping into a fresh Dungeons and Dragons campaign, where you get to play as a Lesbian bard who is allowed the honor of going on a few quests and ultimately telling the story of the most famous mercenary this side of the Heartwyld. And, I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to play (or be) a character so much in my entire life.

“I couldn’t quit. I didn’t want to. I was raised on my father’s stories, spoon-fed glory until I hungered for it—until I thought I’d starve without it.”

Nicholas Eames truly has created something so unique with his books, because in this world bands of mercenaries join up to go on tours, to perform shows, in which they will slay the biggest and baddest monsters around. And sometimes, if the band is good enough, they will take on other contracts to help protect their five major cities and make some really good cash (and accumulate a lot of fame) along the way.

Bloody Rose is a brand new book, with brand new adventures. And even though this title and book cover may star Golden Gabe’s daughter that he got his band, Saga, back together to rescue in Kings of the Wyld, this book follows a brand new mercenary band, six years later.

(Breathtaking map by Tim Paul!)

“To Tam, there was nothing worse than the prospect of never leaving home, of being cooped up in Ardburg until her dreams froze and her Wyld Heart withered in its cage.”

Tam - Seventeen-year-old girl who has lived a sheltered life with her father, ever since her mother died while being a mercenary. She does work at the local tavern (which also has a six armed arachrian manning the bar, and warming my heart), where her uncle and a few friends have taught her a few things behind her father’s back. Tam is also a lesbian, and her world completely changes when she finds out that Fable is in dire need of a new bard.

Rose - Frontwoman of the band Fable, Golden Gabe’s daughter, and a reputation that has already guaranteed that she will go down in history as one of the bravest mercenaries to have ever lived. Also, she duel wields scimitars – Thistle and Thorn!

Freecloud - the last Druin and Rose’s lover, who was on the battlefield of Castia with her. And has a pretty impressive sword named Madrigal!

Brune - Vargyr / Shaman! Wields Ktulu, that can separate into two weapons, kind of like Varian Wrynn’s (my favorite character) in World of Warcraft. I didn’t ask for these tears. Speaking of World of Warcraft, I have an extra soft spot for shamans, and Brune even shifts into what my shaman shifts into, so my heart is so very happy.

Cura - Inkwitch / Summoner, and my favorite character in the entire book. Cura’s sexuality is never completely stated, but she does like girls (I’m secretly hoping, wishing, and thinking that she’s pan)! She wields a trio of knives, but her powers are so much more than that. Also, I love playing summoners in D&D! On top of Cura’s amazing personality and banter? I seriously have the biggest crush on this fictional character.

Roderick - Fable’s booker and handler of their contracts! Also, he is a Satyr and is forced to keep it hidden. There is such a wonderful discussion around this character and what makes a monster and makes someone lesser than someone else based on the deeds of others. I easily fell in love with Roderick and his little hat. I really hope we get to see more of him in book three.

“…That evil thrives on division. It stokes the embers of pride and prejudice until they become an inferno that might one day devour us all.”

We get to see each of these characters deal with many things from their pasts that are ultimately holding them back. But all the story and character arcs are seamlessly woven together, and this gang of misfits truly come together to create something more beautiful than I have words for.

And Bloody Rose and her crew have one last gig before their tour is over, even though they plan on completing one little contract afterwards. And they need someone to tell their story, so they ask Tam to come along. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like life as they know it is going to end because there is a crazed necromancer out there, right? Obviously wrong. There is a Winter Queen on the loose that wants to completely destroy this world and everyone residing in it, because she is forced to live in a world without the thing she loves most.

I feel like this book also heavily talks about motherhood and all the beautiful, but messy, aspects that come along with that title. How parenthood will always be the most difficult but rewarding job title a person can carry. And even though I think this book is one adventure after adventure, leading up to the most epic battle, I truly think that the heart of this book is about motherhood. Tam and Cura are both grieving the loss of theirs. Rose is struggling to be one. And the Winter Queen is showing no mercy for the people who took hers away. I know this is a fun and humorous book, and I love it for that, but Bloody Rose packs a very powerful punch. I cried during the entire epilogue.

I also think there is an important discussion to be had about how even though being a parent is one of the most important things in this world, it’s also not the only thing a human will ever be in their life. And there are so many ways to love, and to teach, and to heal, and to just live the life you want to live as a person and as a parent. I’m not a parent yet, so take these entire paragraphs with a grain of salt, but I think this book really talks about balancing being a parent and being whatever you want to also be and how they can cohesively come together to allow you to live a life you are both proud of and a life that you feel is worth living.

Bloody Rose is also a love letter to found families everywhere. Again, parenthood is for sure a major theme, but this book truly embraces the “it takes a village to raise a child” proverb. All the members of Fable were forced to grow up seeing their parents go to battle in very different ways. Some got by on the love from their secondary family members, and others only found their true family when joining Fable. Regardless, this book really helps prove that blood will only ever just be blood. And that a family is what you choose and who will always choose to unconditionally love you.

“And yet here they all were: at the cold edge of the world—each of them vying to be worthy of one another, to protect one another, to prove themselves a part of something to which they already, irrevocably belonged.”

And the writing? Seriously, I almost want to believe that Nick is a bard himself. I say this in a lot of my review, but lyrical writing is my favorite extra element in books, and his prose is so unbelievably beautiful. And he truly has mastered how to string words and sentences together. I feel like I highlighted at least a third of this book. I also feel like this book is told in such a unique way, because even though I would, without question, say that Tam is the main character, I would still say that the star of this book is Bloody Rose. And I think that Nick played with the concept of what a bard is so impressively, and it truly made for such a unique reading experience. Also, the epilogue was 11/10 and truly tied everything together so perfectly.

Overall, this is epic fantasy as its finest, and this will for sure make my “best of 2018” list come December. What Nick has created with this world and story is just such a breath of fresh air in adult fantasy. It’s smart and witty and will leave your sides hurting from laughing. But the messages are powerful and important and will leave you reflecting the parallels in our world in 2018. I love these books, I love these characters, and I never want Nick to stop writing them. I hope you all pick this up upon release next week, and I hope you all strive to live a life that you would be proud to have a song written about.

“Glory fades. Gold slips through our fingers like water, or sand. Love is the only thing worth fighting for.”

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Content and trigger warnings for grief depiction, abandonment, loss of a loved one, animal deaths, death, murder, violence, drug addiction, emotionally abusive parenting, depiction of self-harm, talk of past self-harm, talk of past suicide attempts, talk of past sexual abuse, talk of slavery, and war themes.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

This is the first book that is actually being published with my name in the acknowledgements and... I just have a lot of feels. Forever thankful for this community and for everyone who takes the time to read my reviews. You all bless me every single day. And thank you so much, Nick. I’ll cherish this forever and always. Truly the best birthday gift a girl could ask for. 💗
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
264 reviews3,956 followers
October 22, 2022
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

5 stars. A sensational book that is every bit as good as the first book, yet also significantly different.

This sequel to Kings of the Wyld has been highly anticipated by me ever since finishing that book due to how blown away I was by the sheer volume of fun I had reading it. That first book will forever go down for me as one of the greatest fantasy stories I have ever read, and Bloody Rose is every bit as good, albeit for very different reasons.

What made the first book so wonderful was that it was different from the normal fantasy story, focusing on a group of aging heroes that come back together for one last adventure - and it was wonderful because it was just pure fun from start to finish. And while it had it's faults, they didn't matter because at the end of the day the only thing that really matters was how much I enjoyed my reading experience. I actively try to break apart a book and look at all the pieces and rate how well they all individually worked - but that book was great because it was better than the sum of it's parts.

The same can't be said for Bloody Rose. It's a more traditional fantasy story with a classic adventure tale following a group of heroes that are the age you would expect heroes to be. But what set this book apart was because it was the definition of EPIC. The monsters they fight against, the scale of the fight they are going up against, the crazy odds that are put against them, the over the top fights -- this book has it all, and it does it to perfection. This book is not quite as funny as the first one, but it's not trying to be. It's trying to be a wild adventure that is high octane, and it succeeds at that in extremely great fashion.

Like the first book, this one is trying to thematically follow rock-and-roll, specifically 80s rock (as opposed to 70s rock in the first book). The book is littered with references, some subtle and some not so much, to 80s rock people, bands, and things. If you are into 80s pop culture this book will have an extra special life to it, as you will constantly smile when you find one of these easter eggs. And if you aren't into 80s pop culture, you won't miss out on anything pivotal to this book, it's just a nice little bonus.

All in all, I've heard from many people that this book was a disappointment, and I think the only reason you would feel that way is if you are going into this book expecting to get the same book as before. This book is different, but different in all the right way. I highly, highly recommend you check out this series!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews986 followers
October 28, 2022
This follow up of the Kings of the Wyld is mostly told from the viewpoint of aspiring bard, teenager Tam Hatherford who looking to emulate her mother, joins a Band (mercenary monster killing squad) led by the living legend that is Bloody Rose. A lot like the first book, we follow the band's adventures with big 'vs the monsters' battle building up in the background, that the Band is initially looking to avoid, as they pursue their own path.

Nearly a DNF for me as the early adventures, in the first 200 odd pages bored me to tears, and it was only the later parts of the book that saved it for me - looking at what makes a monster, and how non-monsters treat them, among other interesting themes. What strikes me about a book with a lesbian lead, female Band leader and other strong woman roles, is that you could substitute any of the female characters for a male! Eames can write and plot as well as most, I just feel that his use of female characters is insincere, especially as he wrote his male characters so much better in the first book. In addition his humour reads like that classic 'serious writer trying to be funny', as in, it is nearly all predictable. Bearing all that in mind, I still have to give this a Three Star, 6 out of 12, for the glorious final 'urban warfare' style battle in the last 100 odd pages of the book.

2021 read
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
317 reviews1,344 followers
August 5, 2018
I received an advanced review copy of the well sought after Bloody Rose from Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Nicholas Eames and the awesome Nazia.

Even Eames himself said that the success of Kings of the Wyld was like a guillotine to his neck. Metaphorically of course. With an exceptional, original award-winning debut there will always be doubts about where to go next and if it can be better. I'm happy to say Bloody Rose blows Golden Gabe, Moog, and Slowhand's adventures out of the water!

Rose, Gabe's daughter who he adhered to rescue from the bloody and horrific horde siege of Castia is stepping out of her father's shadow. She is the frontwoman for Fable, the most popular band in the land. She also flaunts two legendary swords. Events commence on their tour starting at Ardburg. The bands here are essentially mercenaries or gangs who join events to pocket a pretty coin by battling drugged droogs in arenas. Originally, the esteemed bands were legendary folks who would traverse the Heartwyld and other grotesque places to put demons, beasts and even dragons to the sword. Like the siege of Castia in Kings of the Wyld there are the rumours of an uprising coming to attack headed by the giant Brontide!

Rose and her untouchable and picturesque companions in Fable decide to fulfill their tour dedications that oppose the oncoming threating invasion from the horde which Rose is all too familiar with, with her incarceration at Castia a few years before. Instead, they have a greater goal. She wants to step out of her father's shadow in a majestic way by taking on and destroying a legendary beast that is infamous for its notoriousness and the fact it is rumoured to be impossible to kill. The last band of warriors who tried lasted only 17 seconds prior to their ultimate demise.

One of the finest elements of Kings of the Wyld was the camaraderie of the band. The closeness, loyalty, friendship, and dedication to each other - so I was surprised when Eames surmised that the second entry in The Band trilogy would feature mostly all new players.

It's written from one point of view perspective. Tam's, who is, in the third person, a wannabe bard. She works as a barmaid at The Cornerstone which is the main establishment where all the bands or warriors in town frequent, drink and fight. They have a rule, as a respectable establishment, there are no fights allowed before 12 o'clock! She had famous parents in the mercenary and band scene and after a potent and exceptional musical performance at the inn she ends up joining Fable and the adventures begin.

The greatest thing about Eames writing is the humour. I laughed my face off a few times but I will acknowledge that this sort of humour in fantasy is not for everyone. Honestly, though, it perfectly fits what I enjoy and I can see why this gentleman won a Gemmell award. When you have lines such as "as crazy as socks on a centipede" you know it is pretty awesome. :)

This is a standalone novel, however, about 20% more enjoyment can be given if you've read The Band #1. A few players return who are as hilarious as ever and OWLBEARS! (Anyone who has read the first book knows that that is a reason to purchase this novel!)

There are so many new amazing colourful and complex characters. The lead ticks the LGBT boxes and is someone who is worth following. The gang incorporates a witch who can summon her tattoed demons into the field of battle, a legendary immortal rabbit-eared warrior and a shapeshifter who can turn into a bear. The first half builds up the amazing relationships and character personalities.

This has an amazing fist-bumping ultimate excellent finale but I did have a few negatives. Occasionally I got a little disorientated with the action. Occasionally, scenes during the middle seemed like a slight mess to me but wow, the ending was one of the negatives I had in Kings of the Wyld. In Bloody Rose, the build-up, culmination, and the eventual ending is perfectly composed, performed and written. I've read most of the top new authors in the last few years and Eames is the one to watch who will end up in Rothfuss, Lynch, Martin territory for excellence. Keep up the great work Nick. You've got a huge fan in me. Recommended.
Profile Image for Veronica .
754 reviews177 followers
September 23, 2018
2.75 stars

I hate to say it, and I seem to be in a minority on this one, but this follow-up to the super entertaining Kings of the Wyld just doesn't measure up. I knew going into it that the book would be focusing on an entirely new band, Fable, so my disappointment has nothing to do with unmet expectations. It has everything to do with the fact that I just never connected with any of the new characters. The front woman for Fable is Bloody Rose, the daughter of the widely famous Golden Gabe. Other members of the band include Freecloud (her Druin lover), Cura (an inkling sorceress), Brune (a shaman shapeshifter-type), and Roderick (the band's booking agent). Finally, there is Tam, the new 16/17 year old bard who wants adventure with her heroes and who serves as our window into life on the road with Fable.

Unfortunately, as far as I'm concerned, Tam is just not very interesting or charismatic. Then again, neither is Rose. I didn't much care for Rose or her issues. Freecloud doesn't rate much better. While Cura and Brune are slightly more interesting it doesn't make up for the fact that the band as a whole is merely a group of enablers who let Rose get away with being a self-destructive, selfish ass.

Other readers have commented on the darkness of this book as compared to KoTW. That surprises me because I didn't think this book was dark at all. A tad boring, yes, but not dark. Then again, I've been reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen series this year and this book was a walk through a tulip field while eating an ice cream cone and holding a puppy on a summer day compared to that. There was some humor in this book but I never laughed once and, really, I was always rooting for the monsters to win.

As far as pacing goes, the first half was really just about the band's lifestyle with groupies, booze, drunken sex, morning hangovers, and dormitory-like living quarters. Frankly, that's just not appealing to me anymore. The second half was better but not enough to elevate the whole. I'll still give the third book a try, with the assumption that we'll get yet another band, because I'm hopeful that I'll find them more interesting.
Profile Image for Samir.
111 reviews177 followers
November 13, 2018
How cool is this cover?

It fucking rocks!

This wonderful piece of art is done by Richard Anderson. He is the author of many great book covers; Kings of the Wyld, Beyond Redemption, Skullsworn, Time Salvager and more. He also does illustrations and concept art for video games and movies. I’m a huge fan of his work and if you want to check it out, you can do so by clicking on the following links:


Nicholas Eames emerged on the fantasy scene last year with his highly acclaimed debut Kings of the Wyld. KotW is one of the best debuts I’ve read and one of my favorite books ever. Suffice to say that Bloody Rose had a hard task to beat that. Did it managed to reach the same heights? Was it a better book? Well, according to my rating it is obvious that I loved it so there’s your answer for the first question. The second question is harder to answer. I wanted it to better but I didn’t expected it to be. I know, this is pretty vague and it didn’t answer shit. All I can say that it was different for sure. And I loved it because of it. This is not the same book with a new cast of characters. It did have similarities but the author took a slightly different approach and delivered a perfect sequel.

The story follows a new band called Fable and it is told from the perspective of Tam Hashford, the band’s bard and their newest member. I’ve previously encountered this kind of narrative approach while reading Jeff Salyard’s awesome Bloodsounder’s Arc trilogy and I must say that I enjoyed connecting with the world and its characters through the eyes of someone not destined to be the hero. It also reminded me of a movie called Almost Famous which tells the story of a teenage journalist writing for Rolling Stone in the early 1970s while covering the rock band Stillwater, and his efforts to get his first cover story published. Bloody Rose is an adventure but it is also a coming-of-age story which explores very important themes like love, sexuality, friendship and family.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

This is a quote from the aforementioned movie and I think that it perfectly depicts Eames' portrayal of his characters. He strips off their badassery, bravado and the masks they wear in society and shows us their true self, making them believable and relatable.

The writing remains engaging and filled with music and gaming references but compared to the first book, there is a noticeable change in the overall tone. While the first one was light and filled with humor, this one is certainly more serious and darker. There is a certain scene that made me "ninjas cutting onions" cry. Not to say that this one lacks humor. There are plenty of scenes which made me laugh. Especially the one with a very slow character, that one made me cry with laughter.

Long story short; great story, memorable characters, emotional rollercoaster and action scenes that are nothing short of epic. Like its predecessor, this can be enjoyed as a standalone but I highly recommend that you read KotW first. It will make you appreciate certain characters more and certain scenes will provide a much bigger impact.

Bloody Rose is in the top five books I've read this year and it solidified Eames' place on my favorite authors list. Can't wait for the next tour.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,102 followers
November 26, 2018
I finally read this and while I was fully expecting to be as blown away by this truly EPIC AWESOMENESS of a fantasy, I did NOT expect it to be this good, this deep, or this fun.

In fact, I just re-estimated Eames as one of the grandmasters of epic fantasy. By just two books. And I've read A LOT of fantasy, some great, some better than average, and some stinking like a bag of dicks.

I can rank The Band up on the fingers of one hand, and depending on what mood I'm in or what kind of rocker, or I should say, punk-rocker, I am, a lot of you might guess which finger this series lands on.

And just for good measure, I'll hold both of those fingers up on both hands and Idol it up with a Rebel Yell, Lauper it up with more than a little Fun, and rock on through the night with a Springsteen in my step.

The boys aren't back in town, but the girls are DEFINITELY in it for a hell of a lot more than Diamonds. In fact, there's one bear that becomes a Diamond Dog, a summoner whose ink turns her into the ultimate goth rocker, and there's WAY too much to say about Bloody Rose. Someone could write a book about her. :)

But what probably surprised me the most was Tam. Little Tam, "I'm just a bard," Tam. A piss-poor bard, indeed. :) I love the crap out of her.

Did Eames just mic-drop a bit of brilliance on the stage? Maybe! I know I haven't been as thrilled about a new fantasy series in a long time. :)

Author 1 book360 followers
June 18, 2018
Bloody Rose is one of those books that make you want to go back and lower every single rating you've ever given, simply so it will stand above everything else.

Tam, the daughter of the fearless mercenary Tuck Hashford, has been sheltered for all her life by her over-protecting father after the death of her mother. She has never even set foot outside of her home town before, and she can only ever dream how the life in a band would be. That is, until Fable, the band of the infamous Bloody Rose herself, visit the pub she's working in, looking for a new bard...

"I should warn you," she said. "What we're going up against could be just as dangerous as the Horde. Worse, even".
To Tam, there was nothing worse than the prospect of never leaving home, of being cooped up in Ardburg until her dreams froze and her Wyld Heart withered in its cage. She glanced at her uncle, who gave her a reassuring nod, and was about to tell Freecloud that it didn't matter if they were facing the Horde, or something worse than the Horde, or if they were bound for the Frost Mother's hell itself. She would follow.

Since I was already reading another book (which I was rather enjoying) when I got my hands on a Bloody Rose ARC, I promised that I would only read Bloody Rose after finishing that book. I only permitted myself a quick glance at the first chapter, to see how Eames opened the story. Seventeen hours and a sleepless night later, here I am writing this review.

Let's start by saying that Bloody Rose, as is the case with Kings of the Wyld, is a stand-alone novel, with no previous knowledge required. Sure, since the story takes place a few years after KOTW it could spoil a few things from the first book, but all in all, it's a seperate story, featuring a completely new set of characters. When I first heard that Bloody Rose wouldn't future the original cast of KOTW I was pretty much bummed out. Nick had proven to me with KOTW and with his story in Art of War that he was an excellent writer, capable of producing another great novel, but I thought it would never be as cool as the first book was. Let's just say that it's not the first time I was wrong, and it certainly won't be the last. I can't claim that Bloody Rose is better than KOTW, since that was already perfect to begin with, but I can sure as hell say that it's on a par with it.

In Bloody Rose, we follow Tam and the other members of her band called Fable. Eames doesn't offer much of a backstory, but his well-fleshed-out characters are enough to get us emotionally attached from the very first page. The story itself is compelling, fast-paced and exciting, keeping you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Although Kings of the Wyld introduced us to a Horde of monsters capable of defeating and enslaving humanity, in Bloody Rose, Eames has managed to raise the stakes even higher.

It's not easy to keep both old and new readers happy when you write a second stand-alone novel in the same world. You'll either have to repeat yourself during world-building, annoying your old readers who already know this stuff from the previous book, or leave important elements out of your story, introducing your new readers to an incomplete setting. It's not easy, but it is possible, and Eames has managed to pull it off nicely, proving how talented he is.

I mentioned earlier that I read Bloody Rose in less than 24 hours, which probably doesn't mean a lot to you, since most of you know that I've already pulled off something like that numerous times in the past. It does mean a lot to me and my close friends though, who know first-hand that I've been in a reading slump since I read Grey Sister back in November of last year. I've read a lot of excellent books since then, but Bloody Rose was the only one that managed to get me out of it.

All in all, Bloody Rose is an exciting and thrilling novel, and the perfect continuation of Kings of the Wyld. Highly Recommended.

Note to Author: Last time I cried reading a book, was when Odysseus returned to Ithaca after a twenty-year absence, only to find out that his dog Argos has been waiting for all these years to greet his master for one last time before he died. You, sir, are not allowed to make me cry two times before the 43rd page of a book I've barely even started, for a character I don't even know yet. In bird culture this is considered a dick move.
Profile Image for Gavin.
885 reviews397 followers
September 17, 2018
Bloody Rose was a worthy sequel to Kings of the Wyld. Nicholas Eames The Band series is fast establishing itself as one of the top modern fantasy series of recent years in my eyes! Eames has an engaging writing style and his story has the perfect balance of hope and despair, triumph and tragedy, and dark and light moments in the story!

The big difference between Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose was the change of cast. KotW focused on the exploits of the legendary Saga while Bloody Rose focused on the story of Fable. It meant a new lead character in the form of the young bard Tam and a new Band to get used to. Not that it was all new as a few familiar faces from the first book popped up for cameos and Rose and Freecloud, who we met in Kings of the Wyld, were Fable's lead duo! I felt like Eames made the right choice to switch to a new Band. I even loved the contrast between Clay, ageing grizzled veteran, and Tam, naive youngster. Both were very different characters but it was easy to root for both of them during their adventures!

The story was fun. A new Horde has formed and is ready to take the fight to the humans of Grandual. Most mercenary Bands are heading to meet the monster army but not one of the most famous bands of all, Fable. Bloody Rose, daughter of the legendary Golden Gabe, has given her word to the Widow of Ruingoth to take on a contract in the region. A contract that turns out to be every bit as dangerous as facing a horde of monsters!

Eames fantasy world in this series is a really fun one. It had the feel of an old school sword and sorcery fantasy world mixed in with the sort of monsters that one might find while watching one of those old Sinbad movies. I loved it a lot. I was also a fan of the overall feel and tone of the story. Eames got the balance spot on. His fantasy world was quite a grim place teeming with monsters and some dark happenings but that was mitigated by the fact that the story had a ton of humour (and humour that was genuinely laugh out loud funny at times!) as well as plenty of likeable characters and upbeat moments to balance out the tragedy and darker stuff. I do love a story that gets the balance perfect! Eames also gets the characters spot on. The are far from perfect but it is still easy to get emotionally invested in them and to care for the outcome of their crazy adventures!

As with the first book the cast that supported the Band has plenty to offer the story. Even the villains were fun and had easy to understand motivations for their actions. The Band books are also parodies of old rock & roll bands and lifestyles and that aspect of the story provides a few amusing chuckles. That said, one of the things I enjoy most about this series is the fact that the parody does not overpower a strong fantasy story that still resonates even if the reader were to miss every single one of the references! For me that is the definition of a good parody.

I was worried for a tiny bit towards the end that this tale was going to end to grim and bleak for my liking but, as with the first instalment, I think Eames really delivered a perfectly balanced ending that left me feeling satisfied and happy with the tale on the whole.

All in all I enjoyed this about the same as I enjoyed the first book in the series. It had a few tiny flaws but none that really hurt my enjoyment of the story. I'm eager to read the third book in the series. Hopefully Ganelon and Larkspur will be the focus of that one!

Rating: 4.5 stars.

Audio Note: I'm not always a fan of narration changes mid-series but I feel like it worked really well in this instance. Jeff Harding was the perfect narrator for Clay's story but Katherine Fenton definitely felt like a better fit for Tam's story. In terms of consistency the change of main cast helped with that being less of an issue. The other thing that really helped was the fact that both Harding and Fenton were good narrators who did a fantastic job!
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,382 followers
March 8, 2019
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

The world is big, the young are restless, and girls just want to have fun.

Bloody Rose made me feel all of the feelings; I want to follow Tam’s lead and sing its praises from the rooftops. Kings of the Wyld was incredibly fun, and I expected the same from its followup, but Eames managed to pull on my heartstrings with Bloody Rose in ways that his first novel did not. I picked up Bloody Rose excited to embark on an Easter egg hunt for classic rock and other pop culture references. While I found what I was looking for in spades, Eames delivered so much more than that. I read the last twenty pages or so through a veil of tears, which is the opposite of what I expected going in.

“Glory fades. Gold slips through our fingers like water, or sand. Love is the only thing worth fighting for.”

There were so many amazing aspects to this book that I almost don’t know where to begin, but I’ll start with the musical references. While I caught quite a few of the references in KotW, the musical references in Bloody Rose were more based in the 80s music scene instead of the 70s, and 80s rock was a gigantic part of my childhood. There were lines of dialogue taken from songs by Queen and Guns and Roses and so many more, and mercenary bands whose names riffed off of groups that I still love. Men Without Helmets and the Duran twins and The White Snakes were just a few of the brief references that made me grin from ear to ear when I came across them. There was a frontman whose name was a combination of two men who fronted the same band in the 80s. There was a character who sure played a mean pingball (yes, I spelled it like that on purpose). Mortal Kombat was referenced at one point, which made me laugh out loud. There were a few different references to one of my favorite movies of all time, The Princess Bride. There was even little tips of the hat to Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, and Joe Abercrombie.

You didn’t get to be the villain of one story, she supposed, unless you were the hero of another.

As much as I enjoyed all the references, the thing that blows my mind about this book is that you could have removed every single one of those references and it would have still been an amazing story. I thoroughly enjoyed Ready Player One, but the references used in that book were the story’s glue, and I don’t think it could have stood without them. The references in Eames’s novels have been like sprinkles on top of an already delicious cake; they’re fun, but not necessary to the plot.

Most people, she figured, sized up the truth when it came knocking, decided they didn’t much like the look of it, and shut the door in its face.

However, something that was essential for me, and is definitely one of the reasons that I have loved both of these books so fiercely, is the portrayal of mercenaries as this world’s rock stars. Eames actually gave us more of a backstage pass to band life in Bloody Rose, and he absolutely nailed it. Fable is the epitome of what a rock band should be, and Bloody Rose is a killer front woman, both figuratively and literally. I’ve fronted a band before, and lived on a tour bus, and played a show in one town and awakened in a different city to a repeat of the previous day with a different backdrop. Bloody Rose nailed every single one of those elements. We didn’t have groupies or guzzle gallons of alcohol a night since we were a Christian rock band, but Eames’s portrayal of life lived in close quarters, of being lulled to sleep by the bumps in the road, of even the most fascinating of careers losing some of its shine when it becomes too repetitious or when you gaze too often behind the curtain, of bandmates becoming closer than family, of paring your life down to what can fit under your bunk, of losing yourself in the persona you’ve built and forgetting who you are at your core, were all incredibly spot on. I related to all of the band elements on an almost spiritual level.

When you fought alongside those whose lives meant more to you than your own, succumbing to fear simply wasn’t an option, because nothing…was as scary as the prospect of losing them.

What I didn’t expect was how powerfully emotional Bloody Rose ended up being. Eames did an impeccable job of reminding readers that the term “tragic artist” evolved for a reason and is generally at least somewhat true. Almost all art, in whatever form it takes, stems from an emotion so vast that the artist has to pour it out in some fashion or they’ll explode. This is especially true of music, and the songs that touch us the most deeply are those that are raw and visceral, like the artist melted the heart in their chest and poured it from their lips for all the world to experience. Eames gave us larger than life characters with absolutely tragic backstories that had shaped them into the powerhouses the audience expected to see. Through Tam, we got a glimpse behind the personas and were able to bear witness to the tragedies, which cemented my attachment to the characters.

“I was raised on my father’s stories, spoon-fed glory until I hungered for it-until I thought I’d starve without it.”

Speaking of Tam, I absolutely adore her. Her character development throughout the book was incredible, in my opinion. But what really sold me on her was the fact that she’s an actual musician. I feel like the fantasy genre is sorely lacking in novels written from a musician’s perspective. (If you have recommendations, please comment them below! I’d love to read anything with a musician protagonist!) I’ve read a few in the Christian fantasy subgenre, which makes sense because music is so closely tied to worship, but I can’t think of many secular titles outside of The Name of the Wind. I also love that Tam is from a musical background, and that she often is requested to play a famous song written by her mother. This song, “Together,” sounds like “We Belong” by Pat Benatar in my head. There was a scene where this song was magically amplified through every flame in a city and it was one of the most magical moments I’ve ever read. Outside of her music, Tam is feisty and funny and loyal and brave, and not content to just sit back and write songs about Fable’s exploits, like a regular bard. I really love her.

“There’s a whole wide world out there. It’s messy, and ugly, and strange…But it’s beautiful, too.”

I know I’ve already spent nearly a thousand words gushing, but I just have to mention how epic the big final battle was, and how moved I was by the ending. It was sad and poignant and hopeful, and I wouldn’t change a word. This War of the Roses was so much more epic than the factual British war of the same name. And while I’ve only really discussed Tam and briefly mentioned Bloody Rose, every single member of Fable was incredible and so well-written that I’m surprised they didn’t physically burst to life from their inked pages, like Cora’s tattoos raging to life. Cora and Brune and Freecloud and even Roderick were all so tangible, and I would give almost anything to sit around a fire with them and hear their stories. I could wax poetic about how Cora spins fear and pain into something magical, about Brune’s search for his true identity even when he would rather just live life not knowing, about Freecloud’s selfless love and how it bordered on addiction, about how Roderick had made a home for himself in a world that viewed him as monstrous, about Rose’s inner war between her thirst for fame and her need to keep her loved ones safe, but I’ll spare you those extra thousands of words and beg you to please, just read their story. And their roles in the aforementioned final battle were among some of the most epic I’ve read in my life. I read with my heart in my throat and tears on my cheeks, and I gloried in every sentence.

There is nothing, I think, so wasteful-or so pointlessly tragic-as a battle that should haver have been fought in the first place.

If you couldn’t tell, I enjoyed this book immensely, and I’m so sad that it’s over. I can’t wait to see what Eames writes next! I heartily recommend this book and its predecessor to literally everyone. Bloody Rose is fun and heartfelt and will have you singing “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of your lungs. Or, at least, inside your head. Fable is headlining, and seeing them is more than worth the cost of admission. They’ll rock your world.

The bards tell us that we live so long as there are those alive who remember us. In that can, I think it’s safe to say that Bloody Rose will live forever.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,389 reviews1,469 followers
April 17, 2020
Re-read April 2020: In my continuing effort to distract myself from all of the stressful world events, I completed Bloody Rose for the second time. It was just as fun as the first.

And, I've read so many books between then and now, I honestly forgot how the adventure ended. In some ways, it was like reading it again for the first time.

I still highly recommend it for readers who are looking to indulge in escapist fiction. Though he can veer at times into juvenile humor, Nicholas Eames is delightful!

Original Review, September 2018: Readers get the opportunity to return to the adventure-filled world of bands and monsters, Grandual, in Bloody Rose. Nicholas Eames second book in The Band series, the sequel to The Kings of the Wyld takes place years after the first book. It follows the exploits of a band called Fable, a bard named Tam and Bloody Rose, the daughter of Golden Gabe, one of the members of a band called Saga, who readers got to know and love in Kings of the Wyld.

The world is on the brink of annihilation, again.

"Hey, did you hear the news? There's another Horde, apparently. North of Cragmoor, in the Brumal Wastes. Fifty thousand monsters hell-bent on invading Grandual." pg 5

Tam wants to see the world, but her father is a retired mercenary. He doesn't want Tam to have the life he led, risking life and limb to battle monsters. He also doesn't want to lose her, like he lost her mother.

"To Tam, there was nothing worse than the prospect of never leaving home, of being cooped up in Ardburg until her dreams froze and her Wyld Heart withered in its cage." pg 20

Bloody Rose, Gabriel's daughter, has never quite left her father's shadow, even though she's a formidable fighter and bandleader in her own right.

"She's got something to prove — whether it's to herself, or her father, or the world in general, I don't know. I can't have been easy growing up the daughter of Golden Gabe. The man's got boots even a giant could wriggle its toes in, but that doesn't stop Rose from trying to fill them." pg 63

The other members of Rose's band include Brune (a shaman), Cura (an inkmage) and Freecloud (a mighty druin fighter). They have their own burdens to bear and shadows to face down. A large part of this story is getting to know them through the band's adventures.

"And yet here they all were: at the cold edge of the world — each of them vying to be worthy of one another, to protect one another, to prove themselves a part of something to which they already, irrevocably belonged." pg 265

Like the first book, the world has become more civilized and bands fight in contrived battles against captive-bred monsters in arenas to the cheers from bloody-thirsty crowds. It is more show than substance.

"She began to question every song she'd ever heard about heroic mercenaries and vile monsters doing battle on the arena floor. If those so-called battles were anything like the one-sided slaughter she watched from the comfort of the Lair's armory, then the work of a bard was even more difficult than she'd been led to believe." pg 103

I enjoyed Bloody Rose, but I missed the characters from the first book. Eames writes an ripping tale, but my favorite parts of this book included cameos (and one rather large story arc) of people from the last one.

That being said, there is still the snappy dialogue, epic fights and breath-stealing finale that characterized Eames' debut novel. Highly recommended for fantasy readers and I look forward to his next one.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,381 followers
December 7, 2019
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“You didn’t get to be the villain of one story, she supposed, unless you were the hero of another.”

Kings of the Wyld ★★★★ 1/2
Bloody Rose ★★★★

★ I think the fans have been split about the decision about which book in this series is better, is it King of the Wyld (I am in this group) or Bloody Rose. The thing that I think both groups agree on is that both books were great and the difference is not that huge enjoyment wise.

★ The writing was quite different in this one compared to KoTW, the writing was more serious here but we still have moments of humor and I think this made this book closer to the rest of adult fantasy books rather than the unique tone it had in book 1. The prose is still enjoyable and I am hard to please when it comes to laughing but this book made me laugh a few times and I consider that a success. Book 1 had a kind of silly humor that I liked, the timing of the humor in this one, however, was sometimes inappropriate because one character is saying something emotional and meaningful and another one interrupts with a joke or whatever which ruins the moment for me. This happened a couple of time but it is not like it stopped me from reading this one.

★ Now let me tell you something funny I told Fadi (Who BR this with me), I thought the band in book 1 was a group of old men who had t,heir glory back in the day and for a reason I don’t know I thought that this one was about a bunch of Lesbian girls who are going on a quest. Fadi told me that that gives a whole new meaning to the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” on the cover. Fortunately (or not?) it was a typical group of girls and guys including some LGBT characters.

“The world is big, the young are restless, and girls just want to have fun.”

★ Now a little bit more about the characters, I thought that book 1 provided something new with the crew, rather than being young chiseled brooding heroes, we had old silly men who all have problems and it was refreshing. The cast in this one, although it was good, it was a typical crew. The introduction of characters in book 1 gradually was more enjoyable for me and allowed me to connect with each character as they were introduced. In this book it is the opposite of that, we start with the whole crew who Tam joins and then retrogradely we get some backstories. Those backstories made Cura and Brune more fleshed out and Cura was already my favorite and this just help cement that. Tam as the main character is a choice I am still questioning because nothing was special about her and I thought the MC was going to be Bloody Rose and she kind of was indirectly! I just prefer the characters in book 1 for some reason and when some of those made a come back in this book, I was most excited about that (And still enjoyed them more in book 1).

★ The plot starts as a small request to kill a huge dragon and then basically turns into one of the plots of GoT! Initially, the plot may seem simple but it soon develops to something more complex than that! I can’t say much about this because this is spoiler-free. I just love the fact that each book works as a standalone and that author reminds us of what happened in book 1, so even if you don’t remember much from book 1, I think it is safe to jump into this one.

★ The pacing was average to fast and I finished this in a relatively short time. The world-building is not much different from book 1, it has many different creatures and sub-plots expanding it along the way.

“Death or glory,” she said. “Death or glory,” they echoed. “But preferably glory,”

★ Summary: Bloody Rose was a good book that is good for the fans of books with bands and mercenaries. There is a whole cast of new characters with good pacing and some humor. some feel book 1 is better and some think this one is, you have to try to find out but nonetheless, I enjoyed both!

BR this with Fadi -Who think "Hello" is Adele's only bad song-

You can get more books from Book Depository

Profile Image for Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net.
242 reviews558 followers
July 1, 2019
See this review and more like it on www.bookbastion.net!

I always go into sequels to books I loved with a bit of trepidation. The fear is real that the next book in the series isn’t going to be as great, or that I’ll be let down in some way – but I can happily begin this review by stating outright that this book did not disappoint!

In Kings of The Wyld Nicholas Eames crafted a wonderfully vibrant and unique world with the land of Grandual. I found the writing and characters so compelling that I actually ran right out and bought Bloody Rose before I’d even finished the first book!

Set six years after the events that saw Clay Cooper and his bandmates set out across the Heatwyld to rescue Golden Gabe’s daughter – the titular character of this novel – this book centers around Rose’s band and a new quest, though it stays true to the humor and emotional heart Eames established in the first book. The reader gets familiarized with Rose and the new characters of the novel through the POV character, Tam, who I found so wonderfully endearing from start to finish.

(Character Art from Nicholas Eames’ Official Website/blog)

Whereas facing the evils of the Heartwyld in and out of the arena is old-hat to Bloody Rose and her band, Tam provides a different perspective. She’s driven at the start to do well by her new role, but her integrity and protective mama-bear nature towards the people who quickly become her friends made me fall in love with her. I think it works really well because Rose especially is emotionally closed off, Tam proves a great lens for readers to really delve into the secret heart of what motivates Rose just through her observations of her.

Unlike book one, where the narrative is driven by the band’s urgency to reach Rose, this novel – at least at its outset – is more of an examination of Rose: who she is behind the armor and the twin scythes that she uses to wreak havoc on the battlefield; how growing up as the daughter of one of the world’s most famous mercenaries has forged her into the woman she is today, and how all these things have led to the darkening storm which naturally she feels that only she can face.

I’d describe the plot in this book as a bit quieter than the plot in the first book. Whereas book one has a very clear narrative arc start to finish (reaching Rose) it takes awhile for the actual meat of the story to start here because the main quest is one that reveals itself as the band moves through the world.

Thematically, this is a story of one character (Rose) and the call for glory that was forced onto her at the moment of her birth. She doesn’t particularly enjoy being Bloody Rose, but at the same time it is all she has ever known and that urge to live up to the glory of her name is all she can comprehend.

Fans of book one are sure to appreciate the ways in which plot threads established there are picked up once more. I find the main plots of these books really so compelling because of the way they’re tied directly to the world-building and history of Grandual. As the story progresses and the danger grows, so too does the reader’s understanding of the world and the character’s place in it.

Speaking of the characters, I’ve gotta give a shoutout to the ancillary cast again. I just love the way that Eames writes his side characters. They’re allowed to grow, and expand over the course of the story, rather than laying it all out for the readers at the beginning. Cura and Brune (I love him lots by the way) respectively both received really gorgeous character growth as the story moved along, confronting childhood trauma so that they could better handle the present dangers in the world.

It was also so much fun to see Eames include so many callbacks to old favorites from the first book. There were so many cameos but I never felt like they were cheaply done or done only in the name of fan-service. They each have their place and continue to be important to the ongoing larger story of the world, and the movement of power within it.

Also, I’m calling it now: Tally (Clay’s daughter) is the focus of book 3 in her own band – set 3 or 4 years in the future. Here’s hoping anyway!

If you loved all of the fantasy creatures and lore from book 1 – you will be doubly impressed with Bloody Rose. The magical creatures are out in full force in this book, and in many ways they’ve been upgraded to be bigger, badder and more deadly than ever! The Simurg (Dragoneater) was such a cool concept brought to life. I’d love to see much of the sequences involving it played out on a big screen some day.

Filled to the brim with unique world-building, compelling characters and basically everything that I look for in fantasy, Nicholas Eames continues to impress me and has landed the next book in this series directly on my “must read asap” list!

★★★★★ = 5 out of 5 stars! Fantastic!!
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Profile Image for Adam.
391 reviews170 followers
September 10, 2018
Finally, FINALLY, the lights fade. A surge of excitement electrifies the arena as you become acutely aware of the hairs on the back of your neck. Months of waiting for this moment culminate into a blissful grin as the band finally takes the stage. You catch yourself screaming with the rest of the crowd as the opening riffs pulse through the speakers. It’s a feeling that defies description, shared only with those who are here in this moment with you. Complete strangers are forever bonded by this momentary feeling of transcendence. And although you might attend more concerts during the span of your lifetime, tonight is singular. It is unique. This combination of sounds and sights will never strike this exact chord in your soul again. So, you commit yourself fully to this moment, soaking in every detail, absorbing and filing away each new wave of emotion, to be examined and analyzed and cherished later. It is a rare thing to experience art that can raise you so high, that can bring you elation and honesty and joy, or that leaves a lasting impression carved into your psyche. I’ve been lucky enough to catch a handful of these experiences in my lifetime: Daft Punk at Coney Island, Radiohead at MSG Theater, and A Perfect Circle at the Theater of Living Arts. And now my list has grown by one after finishing Nicholas Eames’ brilliant Bloody Rose.

There are so many aspects of this book that appealed to me. What stood out most was the exceptional balance that was struck between humor, action, character growth, and sheer creativity. Nearly every page crackles with something fresh and memorable: clever similes, interesting character origins, a rotating menagerie of monsters, conversations of enlightenment and camaraderie, or a sharp commentary comparing this world to our own. Every chapter connected me further with Tam, Roderick, and the rest of Fable. Emotional moments snuck up on me and hit me hard, though I usually found myself bursting with laughter on the very next page. These characters are flawed, haunted by their past, unsure of their future, yet care deeply about each other. The development of this kinship is one of the central and most compelling themes of the book, and it helped to elevate this story into rare territory.

Like in his debut novel Kings of the Wyld, Eames pays clever homage to some of his favorite pop culture and musical references that may have inspired him throughout his life. I admired how these references never felt like they were shoehorned in for the sake of nostalgic appeal. Instead, their appearances felt natural, and added depth and dimension to the setting. I thought about which song lyrics or video game characters were chosen for this story, and these references often had backstories that intersected with the plot of Bloody Rose. These references, combined with the book’s brilliant sense of humor and genuine pathos of its characters’ plights, felt carefully cultivated and richly rewarding. Some characters only spend a paragraph in the spotlight, while others have exceptional arcs with tragic or glorious endings. Yet each character feels alive and familiar; if you don’t know these people, you know people just like them.

Bloody Rose is many things. It is story of inclusion. It is a tale of loyalty, of finding your passion, of playing to your heart’s strengths. It speaks to the successes and pratfalls of persistence, and dances on the fine line that separates bravery and stupidity. But above all, it is a story of family: those who you are borne into, and those who you choose along the way. This is a beautiful, funny, exciting, hopeful, devastating, and wondrous book. It is something to savor, like the best pieces of art. Though with Eames only starting his publishing career, I have a feeling that the best has yet to come.

Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
679 reviews619 followers
January 5, 2019
Some books are best enjoyed when read by oneself, others are best enjoyed through audio book, this book falls in the second category. I wasn't enjoying it that much when I was reading it myself, but when I switched the the audio everything changed, its like am reading a different book entirely.

World building and Writing
The world building is explicit, not the best I've ever read but it wasn't bad either. The depictions were all well done, no confusion whatsoever. The writing is also okay, it took sometime for me to adjust to Tam's POV, not that it was bad, but I expected the book to be written in Rose's POV, given the fact that the book is named after her.
But once I got over that, the book became enjoyable.

Fable is nothing like Saga, I still prefer Saga but Fable is amazing despite all of them being young, except for Freecloud who is immortal and a druid( fae). Brune a shifter, Cura a summoner and Roderick who is a Satayr, before Tam came along, only Rose was a normal human amongst them.

All of them are interesting unique characters, even Tam the bard, I love the relationship between each member of the band, they would die for each other, they are like a family.

Rose is so much more than Gabriel's daughter, she is willing to do the extreme to prove that she is more.

Freecloud is so much different from Lastleaf, he doesn't despise humans, he is even in love with a human.

Brune and Cura both have their issues, but they dealt with it before the book ended, I really adored the transformation.

Tam the bard and narrator has the most character development in this book, she changed from the village girl to something much more, the new her is beyond amazing. Confident and experienced no longer naive.

Saga was also in this, even Larkspur.
Profile Image for Dyrk Ashton.
Author 11 books654 followers
November 11, 2018
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and I just got around to being able to read it. I was not disappointed. In fact, I enjoyed it even more than I expected to.

Eames proved himself an author to watch with Kings of the Wyld. Sharp, hilarious, and wonderfully written, he took the idea of music bands and applied it to adventuring monster killer/mercenaries to create a fresh and exciting twist on fantasy fiction.

With Bloody Rose, he's taken that approach above and beyond, proving without a doubt he can write any damn kind of fantasy he pleases, and at the highest level, deftly wielding his pen to create a truly epic story with spectacular action but also extreme depth and pathos--all without sacrificing the humor that got him to where he is.

As a kind of side note, because it pleases me to no end, I was particularly delighted by the way Eames would occasionally switch from past to present tense for intense action sequences, and the way he handled the ending from a narrative point of view. I'm standing and clapping, Mr. Eames. Standing and clapping. Can't wait to see what's next.
Profile Image for Sarah (thegirltheycalljones).
435 reviews290 followers
September 30, 2018
(I'm very late to the party, thanks to you, Adulting... Go back, demon, let me GR in peace!)

A second book, like a second album or a second movie, is known to be the true test, the moment when you decide if this piece of work and art – and its creator – will become something more.

You may have loved a first book and be excited to get your hands on the second one, but I do believe that it’s after #2 that the connection is sealed. Meeting « Book 2 » is kinda like a date. When the first date was brilliant, don’t you wish that the second date would measure up to it, or even better, exceed it? What is an amazing first date when a second one is a botch?

I already lived through Sloppy Seconds (it is a book-wink and if you got it I love you) and it’s heartbreaking. Yes, I’m talking to you, Pirates of the Carribean 2, whatever your title is. And you, Kaiser Chiefs. Or to you, A Gathering of Shadows and Crooked Kingdom. I could go on and on.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the material is bad, but it means it’s disappointing, which I think is even worse.

So it’s with great excitement but also mild terror that I picked up Bloody Rose.
What if I didn’t like it as much as Kings of the Wyld? What if it was the greatly feared Big Let Down? How would I manage to say it nicely? Would it make KotW bitter? Would Petrik curse me and my family for 5 generations?
Well, thank fuck I will never know!
Bloody Rose was – I was about to write « a blast », but I don’t think it’s accurate. KotW was a blast. Bloody Rose is a skyrocket making the trip to the moon and back a few times with your guts attached to it, whatever that means.

I still don’t really understand how you can do such a thing, but Eames managed to do better with Bloody Rose without making KotW less good. I tried to formulate that thought multiple times and can’t explain it better than this.
I gave 5 stars to KotW without a second thought even if it had its flaws. I’m giving 5 stars to BR because I do think this book is perfect. The added darkness leveled it up to something more even if I wouldn’t take one tenth of star from KotW.
Truly, this is a small miracle.

The thing I appreciate the most in Eames’ books is the sheer spontaneity coming out of his characters. KotW and Bloody Rose both have a greatly diverse cast but it never feels forced or calculated. The way he writes about it is so subtle that you don’t even notice it is, because it just feels natural. The diversity never defines the characters. They are men, women, gay, bisexual, from any cultural background you can think of, but first they’re human beings with a personality.
I’m afraid not to find the right words to explain what I mean… Hmm. If you drew a line on a piece of paper and you had to name both ends of it, one would be « Maas » and the other « Eames ».
Clear ? Clearer ? Not ? Ah.

Also, thanks for making badass and relatable women characters. Really, from the bottom of my heart, thanks.

Anyway. The other thing I appreciate the most in Eames’ books is the ability to go from « fun » to « emotional » in a few lines. It constantly switches between light mood and deeper ones with flawless writing. You’re laughing and the next sentence you’re bitch-slapped in the face, with very real topics, very real feelings, and then you're snorting because Brune or Rod said something. The balance is, imho, mastered.

The winks to the first books were wonderfully executed. It wasn’t « let’s put that character here with no purpose » or « NAME-DROPPING TIME ! ». It made sense, and added something to the story – was even part of it – without ever sounding fanfictionnesque.

Some of the new characters I liked in a heartbeat (Tam! Cloud!), some of them I needed more time to connect with (Cura, to name one), but isn’t it normal? So much like real life, actually.
Oh but, can we talk about Cura’s power? How fucking cool? Can someone draw that?? Please???

All the battle scenes were awesome! I have one specific scene in mind that was totally epic and involved Rose and a very big monstrosity.
The final battle was too incredible for me to put words on it now. Just read it. It’s legendary.
Can someone adapt these books into movies? Please?? The fight scenes are so graphic and so well choreographed (that word looks weird. I double-checked on google but it still looks weird. Nevermind.) that it would KICK ASS on screen!

So yeah. Bloody Rose passed the sophomore test with flying colours. It killed me a bit here and there, you know, because MY EMOTIONS CAN I HAVE THEM BACK PLEASE, NICK? But it was an awesome ride. Even if, you know, some stuff are BRUTAL AND JESUS DID I CRY MY EYEBALLS OUT?

In the end, it’s like Ron Weasley said : « you’re gonna suffer, but you’re gonna be happy about it. »
Indeed Ron, indeed. (but I still SUFFERED, Nick!)

Oh, and that allusion to a certain someone made me squeak like a legit fangirl (Petrik has proof on his phone).

So, thanks – again – Nicholas Eames, you nailed it!
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,991 reviews897 followers
December 2, 2021
Ya sé que varias de mis amistades le han puesto muy buenas notas, pero honestamente no le puedo poner más de esas 3 estrellas.

No es solo que no aporte nada novedoso, xq con algo trillado pero que enganche yo disfruto, es que tenía ganas de que se acabara.

Los personajes son atractivos. El 4+1 de la banda mercenaria protagonista, Fábula, tiene de todo para que guste. El ir peleando contra monstruos hasta llegar a la megabatalla final en teoría tb debiera ser divertido.

En teoría.

En la práctica me ha parecido deslavazado, un contar batallitas sin interés. En ningún momento he sentido la necesidad de seguir leyendo. Y eso que el primero me encantó, le cayeron 5 estrellas como cinco soles y este un 5/10 y gracias que le pongo la tercera estrella.

¿Me ha pillado mal la lectura? Pues tampoco creo que sea por eso, xq de hecho estoy de vacaciones en Tenerife (esto lo digo solo por dar envidia, por supuesto).

Pues eso, que una decepción. A quienes os encantó el primero os va a dar igual leer esto xq seguro que de todas formas lo vais a leer.

Pues suerte.

Y que lo disfrutéis más que yo.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,116 reviews353 followers
July 30, 2022
Bloody Rose, the daughter of Golden Gabe, is the front woman Fable. Fable is the best band and everyone knows them. Upon learning that Fable needs a new bard, Tam Hashford is lucky enough to get a chance to audition and join the band. She goes off on a greater adventure than she ever expected.

Bloody Rose was a solid book. I have to admit I never quite connected with it like I did it's predecessor. It has practically all of the same story aspects that made up Kings of the Wyld which didn't necessarily help the story for me. The one aspect that was different didn't help either because despite liking Tam as a character and the sole point of view character, she was no Clay Cooper.

The thing I enjoyed most about Bloody Rose is the characters. Fable is made up of Rose who simply wants to step out of her father's shadow, Freecloud the kind druin who is madly in love with Rose, Brune the shaman and joyful individual, Cura the mysterious and emotionally damaged summoner, and Tam the new bard who wants to see the world. The camaraderie between the characters is truly excellent. The book also shows some fan favorites from the series and time hasn't dimmed them at all.

The large aspect of the story I didn't like is the world itself. I don't find the world with its monsters, humans, and druins compelling at all. The author very clearly demonstrated at the end of Kings of the Wyld what the sequel was likely to focus on and he used that obvious setup. I just want to care for what's happening in the world, but it simply doesn't do anything for me. Perhaps if more background was spent showing the world when the druins arrived or even the world that Gabe grew up in. Instead it's just a world full of attention seekers who largely fight exaggerated fights for glory over any true need.

Bloody Rose was an average book for me.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,071 reviews2,634 followers
September 9, 2018
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/09/...

It feels great to be getting wyld again with The Band in Bloody Rose, and like its predecessor, it’s sure to become an instant classic. With vibes of Almost Famous meets epic rollicking fantasy, this standalone follow-up to Kings of the Wyld follows Tam Hashford, a young woman with big dreams. Her father is a former mercenary who has become overprotective of his daughter ever since the death of his wife, who was a talented bard of some renown, strictly forbidding Tam to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Reluctantly honoring his wishes, our protagonist has never stepped foot outside her village she was born in, working a dreary dead-end job at the local pub.

But that was before Fable, the most famous (or infamous) band in the world decided to roll into town. Starstruck by their leader, the fearsome Bloody Rose, Tam sweeps aside all promises ever made to her father, auditioning for the role of the band’s bard. Singing her heart out before those assembled, Tam wins the role on the spot. From then on, her job would be to accompany Fable on their tours, essentially adopting the position of rock journalist by recording the band’s adventures and spreading the news of their exploits to the masses.

For the uninitiated wondering why I use that particular comparison, The Band is a gritty but comedic fantasy series from the brilliant mind of Nicholas Eames, who has injected a number of rock and roll musical references into his work. The traditional fantasy questing party is called a band. Instead of guitars and drumsticks, their members wield swords and warhammers. Gladiatorial arenas are their concert halls, where legions of adoring fans can see their heroes play live as they battle monsters to the death. Sometimes though, bands also take on contracts outside of their regular tours (they’re still mercenaries, after all) and at the moment, anyone who’s anybody is heading out to the Brumal Wastes, where the gig of a lifetime awaits in the form of a monstrous horde gathering at its edges. As Tam joins Bloody Rose and Fable, this is where she had assumed they would be headed. Everyone is surprised, however, when their frontwoman decides to honor their tour schedule instead, continuing onwards away from all the action.

Needless to say, this decision is met with much disbelief and incredulity. After all, anyone who knows Rose knows how much she loves a good fight. While this novel can be read a standalone, those who read Kings of the Wyld may remember meeting her character briefly at the end when her father Golden Gabe and his band Saga came to her rescue at the siege of Castia. She’s never been one to shy away from battle, which is how she landed in trouble in the first place. And if she’s turning down the epic chance to fight the mighty Brumal Horde, then that must mean—as hard as it is to imagine it—she has an even bigger fish to fry.

Still, even though this novel is named after Bloody Rose, the real star of the show is Tam. Our young and sheltered bard gets her dream job of traveling with the hottest band in town, gradually realizing that there is so much more to the lives of her idols as she becomes accepted into their inner circle. Rapidly dissipating are also her romantic notions of what it means to be a part of a superstar band, which isn’t all about the fame and glory. As Tam loses her innocent idealism, she also gains much in the form of wisdom, learning new things, falling in love, and seeing the humanity behind her heroes. Her bandmates are only mortals after all—flawed and fallible. They have hopes and dreams as well as fears and regrets. They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and many of their family situations are as complicated and confusing as her own.

That is also to say, this is definitely the kind of series where you come for the Rock ‘n’ Roll, but stay for the excellent character development and relationships. Despite the humor and the numerous nods to real life musical bands as well as pop culture references aplenty, Eames has proven that this is all more than just a gimmick, and that he is more than just a one-hit-wonder. His books are loads of fun, but there is also real feeling in his unique brand of storytelling which gives depth to his plot and characters, and that is a talent sure to send him straight to the top of the charts again and again.

In sum, Bloody Rose was a supremely entertaining romp, and I daresay it might have even surpassed the greatness of Kings of the Wyld. Trust me, fantasy fans, this is one series you do not want to miss. Looking forward to the next installment of The Band, and I can’t wait to see with whom or where we’ll be touring next.
Profile Image for Colleen.
685 reviews124 followers
January 5, 2019
5 Stars

**My #2 best read of 2018**

“The world is big, the young are restless, and girls just want to have fun.”

It’s always tough when an author has an outstanding debut. It puts so much pressure on the sequel. After how awesome Kings of the Wyld was, I was a little nervous about Bloody Rose. But I needn’t have been, because not only did Bloody Rose live up to my expectations, in some ways the sequel was even better than this first book!

Six years after the events of Kings of the Wyld , young Tam Hashford leaves her quiet, predictable life behind to become a bard for her favorite mercenary band, Fable. What starts out seeming like a coming of age adventure quickly turns more complicated as the band is embroiled in forces bigger than they could have imagined.

Note: these are billed as able to read as standalone novels, but I< u>highly recommend reading them in order! Although the plots are separate, there is some overlap in characters. And there are definitely things in Bloody Rose that won’t be nearly as impactful if you haven’t read Kings of the Wyld .

Like the first book, Bloody Rose draws analogies to the fame of rock stars and has many Easter eggs and subtle references. Fame was a major theme of the story: what people will do to get it, what happens when they lose it, how it changes people, etc. At first, I was hesitant about this story, because I’ve never been into following fame. I love music and movies, but I have a lifelong disinterest in fangirling over celebrities. I never drooled over boybands or daydreamed about actors. It’s all so fake, and I find that extremely off-putting. Tam certainly starts off as a fluffy-headed groupie, and I didn’t care for her initially. But my fears were misplaced. The story doesn’t paint celebrity as some amazing dream life. It’s about the behind-the-scenes results both good and bad. Eames did an excellent job of capturing how fame can be powerful yet destructive and how meeting your heroes can change everything. It also explores themes about self-identity, motherhood, relationships, and how we are influenced by others’ expectations. (But I still say no relationship that starts out as fan girl / celebrity can ever be truly healthy.) This story has depth and meaning while still being wildly entertaining, heartfelt, and humorous. But while this sequel still has plenty of humorous moments, I should mention that the overall tone is noticeably darker.

“Funny, Tam thought, how different a thing could seem at a distance—how beautiful, despite the ugly truth. Was it worth it, she wondered, to look closer? To examine something, or someone, if doing so risked changing your perception of them forever after? She was young enough to think the answer was yes, but too young to know if she was right.”

The best part of this series is the characters. Eames draws complex characters. Even though there are many characters they are all so distinct – each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. They are all so vivid, and the interactions between them were dynamic! It was impossible for me not to get sucked in.

“Evil thrives on division. It stokes the embers of pride and prejudice until they become an inferno that might one day devour us all.”

“Glory fades. Gold slips through our fingers like water, or sand. Love is the only thing worth fighting for.”

“You didn’t get to be the villain of one story, she supposed, unless you were the hero of another.”

One thing I absolutely adored about Bloody Rose was the epic girl power going on. It didn’t bother me that the characters from the first book were mostly men; they were all engaging characters. But I was still excited to see more female warriors. These are not women who stay home and darn socks. And I give Eames massive props for writing not just one, but three (well four if you want to count Tam; I’m on the fence about that) dynamic, powerful women. SO MANY writers (particularly men) struggle to create believable badass women. Their attempts are usually either the overly sexy eye candy or the female meathead. But each of these women had distinct, multifaceted personalities, different driving forces and different strengths and flaws. It was awesome!

“A woman cuts, hacks, slashes, and strikes – a whirling storm of fire and steel. Born in shadow, her destiny eclipsed by the brightest of stars. What else can she be but a comet, burning bright enough to draw every eye as she streaks toward some unfathomable fate?”

Another great thing about this book is the astounding actions scenes. Eames excels at describing both close combat and overall battle scenes. Many authors are only good at one of the other. And yes, there is a big difference between describing hand-to-hand combat and describing battle tactics. Both were done superbly in Bloody Rose. This was one area that the sequel improved in. Not that the fighting descriptions in Kings of the Wyld were bad. Not at all! But they got even better in< i>Bloody Rose. I was totally absorbed in the story and could hardly put it down.

“Most people, she figured, sized up the truth when it came knocking, decided they didn’t much like the look of it, and shut the door in its face.”

The complex characters, page-gripping action, engaging plot, and deeper meaning all combined into an amazing adventure that was truly a pleasure to read. I can’t rave enough about these books! I may not fangirl over rockstars, but I am certainly a fan of this series! I can’t wait for the third book to come out!

“This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to being our bard. If I so much as step on a lizard you’d better tell the world I kicked a dragon to death.”

Ease of Reading: 5 Stars
Writing Style: 5 Stars
Characters and Character Development: 5 Stars
Plot Structure and Development: 5 Stars
Level of Captivation: 5 Stars
Originality: 5 Stars
Profile Image for ~Dani~ .
312 reviews55 followers
August 21, 2018
Read this review and more at Book Geeks Uncompromised!

I was sent a review copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

We thought the wait for t his book would never end but it is finally (almost) here! Bloody Rose, the sequel to 2017's award winning debut, Kings of the Wyld, is so close to coming out and I for one love it more than its predecessor.

Unlike the vast majority of sequels and series in SFF, Bloody Rose does not pick up with the same main character cast as the first book. Rather than our POV character being Clay Cooper we join Tam Hashford, a young woman that waits tables in an inn until she gets the opportunity of a lifetime to join the band Fable on their tour fighting monsters in arenas across Grandual as their bard.

But this story is not Tam's. It belongs to Bloody Rose. Tam is little more than an outsider looking in for a good portion of this book.

The first half or so of this novel actually did the thing I'm not so crazy about where there is no specific plot beyond "follow these characters around." There is talk of something big happening in Grandual but Bloody Rose is intent on keeping Fable away from it. Since Tam has no fighting experience herself and her role with the band is a bard who is supposed to stay out of the fights, she sat on the sidelines for a good while she figured out her place in Fable.

Still, Nicholas Eames crafts these characters so well that I flew through the first half of this book and into the second half where things really start picking up and I was blown away.

So many scenes caused so many feels It is always impressive to me when an author can convey the emotions behind music being played in a book. As the POV character is a bard, you know that had to come up at some point and it was beautiful . There is a scene toward the end of the Bloody Rose that if I tried to describe to someone what happened, I would not come anywhere close to doing the scene justice, it was so spectacular.

I found it really interesting that this book has Tam as the POV character rather than Rose. Tam has been a fan of bands in general and specifically Fable for a long time but she is a total newbie to actually being a part of a band whereas the book's namesake, Bloody Rose, is much more experienced and has been at the head of the band for years. But we already saw the experienced band member's perspective in Kings of the Wyld, so it was a lot of fun to see things from a younger member's point of view and Tam's youth and inexperience helped to maintain the same fun tone throughout the book even when the story was emotionally heavier.

Rose herself is a wonderful, conflicted character and it was refreshing to have a female character that struggled with the idea of motherhood. I feel like we don't see that much in fantasy or any literature really, but there are absolutely women that take time, even well after the child is born, to be ready to be a mother. I really liked Rose's struggle with this because it made her feel so much more real than just another female heroine that can throw around some weapons (not that she is lacking in that department at all).

Kings of the Wyld was a fantastically fun adventure that kept the laughs and the excitement coming. While Bloody Rose has its fair share of both, the characters felt even deeper and I became so much more emotionally invested in the story. Again, this book is even better than its predecessor in so many ways. If you haven't read Kings of the Wyld, go find it now and read it and then get ready because as of now there is just over a week left until Bloody Rose comes out!
Profile Image for Anton.
302 reviews88 followers
September 20, 2018
Nicholas Eames's books are a godsend to a gamer/fantasy reader and a real inspiration (I hope) to the new authors out there!

An absolute-absolute pleasure to be back in his rich bizarro world where the best from the realm of sword & sorcery blends with hard rock sensibilities.

Book #2 is always really hard to pull. It gets even harder if the book #1 was such a knock-out like Kings of the Wyld was. I loved every part of it and gifted more than 10 copies to friends and colleagues by now. But somehow he manages to deliver again a story that plays all the hits from the debut novel and adds a new 'melody'/character to make it completely distinct in its own right.

A critic may argue: what's up with the kidult humour? why all these bigger than life action? doesn't it drag for too long?! Well... maybe. But it is also has a lot of heart and emotion... and a fantastic ability to relate the feeling of sitting in our room with the friends rolling some dice, killing monsters, solving puzzles... There is silly fun but also a curious poignancy to the story that I really enjoyed.

If you loved Kings of the Wyld - you will love this story as well. So just go and have a blast. If you haven't read KoW yet (what were you doing all this time?), this is a great time to discover the surprises Nick Eames has for you in store.

5* stuff. Clearly written by a fan to be read by fans.

PS: Orbit, why paperback release only?! I don't think you treat Nicholas Eames with the love he deserves. I would love to have a hardback on my shelf (and for gifting...)
Profile Image for Twerking To Beethoven.
391 reviews66 followers
January 19, 2019
And it's unpopular opinion time with Old Twerks.

I had to give up. I'm sorry, it's just not my cup of tea. And I'm utterly heartbroken because I absolutely loved the em-effing shite out of Kings of the Wyld.

"Bloody Rose" is kind of a YA-ish, coming of age story about a teenage girl who likes to play her lute and sing, and becomes the official bard for Fable, the most popular of all bands.

All right, Eames can write, that's for sure. What really didn't resonate with me is... oh fuck me senseless, I fucking hate Tam's guts. "Bloody Rose" suffers from "Artemis syndrome" where you have a female character who is everything but feminine and believable, and all for the sake of diversity and... ah, never mind, I better cut this review short. Put it this way, it's personal taste, nothing else.

I'll still give book #3 a go when it comes out because this & the previous installment can be easily read as standalones. Also because I feel that's the right thing to do.

Two heartbroken stars.
Profile Image for Audrey.
87 reviews38 followers
August 14, 2020
Bloody Rose

This review might be the hardest I will ever make. In my opinion Bloody Rose wasn’t as great as the famous Kings of Wylds. But luckily it wasn’t a bad book neither.

First of all Kings of Wylds and Bloody Rose could be read independently but with a strong bond nevertheless.
Bloody Rose takes the scene six years after the events of the first book. Over the time of the old boys called Saga , here fresh blood with a band called Fable. The frontman of Fable is Bloody Rose, a character we had glimpsed in the first book though she was the reason the core of the return of Saga. Indeed Bloody Rose is golden Gabe’s daughter and sometimes as were going to learn it’s hard to live under the shine of your parents.
The story begins when Fable hires a new bard and through the young eyes of Tam we are going to live the crudest and dangerous life of a band who seeks glory.

In this book Nicholas Eames uses the same ingredients than in the first, a band with a strong bond between them. The novelty is the use of magic from the bandmates and it was great. But alas the wrong side I found the pace of the book very slow except for the last part of the book.

Overall the first books of this universe were good but I will wait the last book in order to know how this conclude.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,476 reviews1,894 followers
April 10, 2021
This is a hard review to write because there's so much of what I adored about KINGS OF THE WYLD in here, not to mention some great writing by the author, and yet I feel like the magic wasn't as present? This just didn't draw me in, or keep me enthralled, the same way.

Maybe it has to do with how much more serious this installment feels. Gone are the heroes of old, aged and out and shape, and here is the new generation; still fighting monsters but not for the same reasons. There is a sense of manufactured fame and glory to this new crop of mercenaries, to the new world order where monsters are caged and fought in arenas, as opposed to out on the road, and I love how Eames explored that — how he gave us Tam's point of view where the glow and awe of the legends one grew up with faded into something more like sadness, shame, and disillusionment. It was a fascinating element. I just wish I had loved everything else as much as I loved that.

Another bit that didn't quite measure up to book one was the characters. I feel like I enjoyed the group, the band, the pack's, dynamic and even some of them individually. But as a whole I didn't quite feel as much chemistry as I would've expected. And I mean that both platonically and also romantically, for those who were. Something was just missing and I again go back to that bit of magic, that wonder, I felt in book one. It just wasn't really here.

But this world, this writing? I really love it, I do. It's creative, it's weird, it's wonderful. I would still recommend you pick this up, particularly if you loved the first installment, and if there's anything more to come? I will definitely read on (GR has a third title listed but no plot or date, so, who knows! fingers crossed).


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
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477 reviews660 followers
August 31, 2018
I’m about to say something that many would find an absolute contradiction. This book is superior to the first novel in just about every way, but I don’t like it as much. Bear with me a moment here. I think Eames has improved as a writer, I think the final battle is stunning and while there were a few predictable bit, the overall plot is very clever.

It also keeps a sense of humor about it, but it is nowhere near as funny as the first book… and there lies the problem. Now I don’t want to come off as saying that humor is everything (it isn’t) but what won me over in the first book was the knowing smile I could practically imagine on the author’s face every couple of pages. The characters were funny, the winks and nods to rock bands were great and there was a sense that the stakes were high, but we shouldn’t take things too seriously (I mean, c’mon, the villain had bunny ears).

I didn’t get that feeling this time. I mean it makes sense, Saga, the band from the first novel, were old and tired, but they knew they were awesome. They were living legends reuniting for one last gig. Here our characters are insecure, they aren’t as funny because to them everything is at stake on how people view them. There are humorous moments here, but it’s lost a bit of the charm that the lads from Saga brought to the book.

Now, enough of my ONLY complaint, because I don’t want anyone to pass on the book. Seriously, it’s not even that much of a complaint, more like an annoyance. Both books receive a solid 4 stars (I just strongly considered giving the first one a full 5, and this one was thoroughly a 4). It’s great. While the characters are not as humorous, they are extremely interesting. They aren’t as a whole instantly likeable as the previous cast (this one is a bit of a slow burner in terms of coming to know the group) but once they do catch on, they’re a great set of leads. In particular I want to make note of Tam and Cura. Tam because she was instantly likeable and Cura because the idea behind her is brilliant, making for one of the most interesting concepts behind a summoner style magic user I’ve ever seen.

I like the inclusion of more female characters in this book. Let’s face it, the last book was around 500 pages and it pretty much followed the old guys throughout. There were really only a few notable female characters and of them one was pretty much a damsel in distress (well… a bit of a deconstruction of that trope, but still that’s how she was mostly perceived). With a very few exceptions, all others were borderline antagonists (even if it was played for laughs… looking at you Jain). In this one, our main lead is a young woman who takes the role of the band’s bard, and we have the glorious return of Bloody Rose who is absolutely as badass as the brief scenes of her in the last book presented… that said, she’s very human and Eames does not remove the character’s flaws just to make her more of a hero.

Also, this one is a major spoiler, but it also deserves mention.

As I said, Eames has improved so much as an author. This book is better paced, has better action scenes and builds upon the world in a way that arguably the last book only hinted at. In so many ways it is an improvement, and if you enjoyed the last book you are almost inevitably going to enjoy this one. Eames is quickly becoming one of the most interesting new voices in the fantasy genre, and I eagerly look forward to a third book (at least, I assume there will be a third book… Please.) and I highly recommended both books to any fantasy fans.
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