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In Pain and Blood

(Spellster #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  39 reviews
It wasn't meant to be like this.

Dylan's life in the spellster tower has everything he should want: magical knowledge, safety from the King's Hounds and frequent clandestine affairs with women. All at the cost of his freedom. So when the chance to leave the tower--even as a leashed weapon for the King's Army--arises, he seizes it.

When his first scouting mission goes awr
Kindle Edition, First Edition, 868 pages
Published December 15th 2017 by Thardrandian Publications
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  162 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Joyfully Jay
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sue
A Joyfully Jay review.

2.25 stars

In Pain and Blood was…challenging. On the surface it’s everything I love — a long fantasy novel with an epic quest and an intense romance to round it all out. Unfortunately, there’s something to be said for all things being in moderation. This book was WAY too long and as a result, it rambled and meandered its way to a less than thrilling conclusion.

There are five main characters in the book, but only two are defined beyond their basic constructions: Dylan and hi
Nerdy Dirty & Flirty
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
-Lindsey, 4 stars

This story will leave you spellbound. Dylan and Tracker will take you on a journey that will leave you wanting more and more. The writing was great, the characters, and the plot so interesting. This was a very good book that I went in a little skeptical but ended up liking and wanting book 2. This is a really good book maybe a little different but good. Life, love, and drama - a little bit of everything. I would recommend this book for someone that likes a good size read and loo
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although I initially was a little wary of the book’s set up since the spellsters (those who can wield magic) locked away in their tower reminding me heavily of BioWare’s Dragon Age. In the end, though, I didn’t mind the passing similarity and overall, it wasn’t enough of a resemblance that I felt I was reading a work of unabashed fanfiction.
The writing had me hooked by the second chapter. I found the main character’s narration to be interesting and well-woven. He had a unique voice that made me
Stephanie   GooglyEyes

Be warned- this book is long.
It also doesn't start out as MM. There's some MF action, a butt ton (no pun intended) of sexual Tension between Dylan and Tracker and some M/F/M/F action before you even get halfway through the book.

The world and the premise of this story is very good. Personswho possess the gift of magic are feared. So much so that they're basically locked in a tower. Those "worthy" of fighting for the army must perform and be accepted. Once they're accepted, heyre leashed and
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, romance, fantasy
Three and a half stars, rounded up.

Well. This was certainly a hard book to rate. I'll start with the things I didn't quite like, then I'll head to the things that I really enjoyed.

There were times when I felt like it was five-star material, but other times where I had a rough time reading through the chapters. I do feel like this book suffers from how long it is, especially that ridiculously slow start. It takes over a hundred pages before Tracker gets introduced, and most of those hundred pages
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a good fantasy story
Innocent cinnamon roll meets sinnamon roll and falls in love. That's it, that's the book.

(Warning for potential spoilers ahead, depending on what you consider to be spoilers)

No, but - all joking aside, I really enjoyed this book. I found the contrasting personalities between the main characters and their interactions with one another all very refreshing. Dylan has spent his whole life living in one building with no one but other spellsters around him. Growing up that sheltered is bound to leave
Billy Buttons
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: In Pain and Blood
Author: Aldrea Alien

Star Rating: 4 Stars
Number of Readers: 16
Editing: 7/10
Writing Style: 7/10
Content: 7/10
Cover: 10/10
Of the 16 readers:
13 would read another book by this author.
16 thought the cover was good or excellent.
16 felt it was easy to follow.
13 would recommend this story to another reader to try.
Of all the readers, 10 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a st
It takes a while to start, the blurb describes about half of the whole story, but it's heavy on the romance interspersed with little adventures. Most of the story is about traveling and sex, there is a lot of sex, but while I may enjoy that I can't say the same for the travels. Most of the characters beside the two mains are superficial and forgettable, I'm not sure I liked Dylan that much either.

Dylan clearly had some internalized biphobia, which given how sexually open their world appeared to
Read-A-Book Everyday Reviews!!!
I am so glad that I stumbled apron this book on Kindle Unlimited. It is very hard for me to find an epic mm fantasy romance. While this book was uberrrrrr long and I did find myself skimming some unimportant parts, I immensely enjoyed this book and the two characters.

It did irk me a bit that the two men do not even meet until chapter sixteen and I found myself double checking that it was indeed a gay romance. But once they met I never looked back. We get a bisexual awakening and a gfy story betw
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved the concept and most definitely loved the ship between Tracker and Dylan. Sure there was some MF and MF/MF before the MM but once it started it made the story complete. In Pain and Blood is a long book but I feel like the extra scenes the Aldrea added in their journey added some depth to this world and made it positively worth reading. I sincerely hope there is a second book to the Spellster Series and that it comes out soon and that it is even longer than the first because I for one canno ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book. It's got great world-building, wonderful magic, intriguing characters, and many steamy scenes that made me blush and say "oh my!" I didn't always see eye to eye with Dylan, but I knew his heart was in the right place. I liked the introduction to races, the world mechanics, and how different characters reacted to the many situations. Definitely a book for those who enjoy fantasy and MM romance. ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
A free copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This review is WAY overdue, but, well... as you can see from the dates read, it took me over a month to get through this story. The page length isn't listed in GR, but it turns out, according to Amazon, to be 868 pages. Let me be blunt: this is at least 700 pages longer than the book ought to have been. There is not nearly enough plot, character development, or world-building to sustain such a long book. There wa
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every minute with this book. Be warned, it's long and the slow pacing isn't for everyone but to me it was the type of book I enjoy most: A tale about people steadily growing closer after they've been forced together due to circumstances out of their control.

If I had to find a little criticism I'd say that Dylan is a bit too much of a Martyr. Still, that's a character flaw that serves to humanize him.
tammy rufo
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i loved this story, it isn't what i'm typically drawn too, but something about dylan and Tracker really did it for me. i really felt for dylan and was to happy that he had tracker to support and protect him. it was an amazing read, my first time readying Aldrea Alien. i would def recommend, can't wait for book2!!! ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a book by this amazing author. It’s totally different for me as to what this author usually writes. Loved every bit and definitely ready for more of the same never wanted the story to end. Received a free book but reviewing because it was awesome.
Stephanie A Spear
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good read!

Definitely recommend and will re-read!!! Good characters, good story and good romance. Couldn’t put it down but thankfully it’s long so it took a few days instead of hours! Much appreciated! It says book 1 so I look forward to book 2!
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Amazing story! Loved the complexity of the characters!
The inner struggle of Dylan that was painted out kept me hooked!
Diana Davies
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story

I really enjoyed the story. There is romance, action and drama. I am hoping that there is a sequel coming. I will be watching.
Jennifer Rados
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Fantastic Read

I love this book! From the realistic responses from the characters to the rich enviorment and story I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
3 1/2 stars. Aldrea Alien has created a complex world filled with conflict, love and magic. Book 1 of the Spellster series has adventure, self-discovery, expansion of one's horizons, passion, disillusionment, betrayal, abuse of power, bigotry, patriotism, exploration of one's duty and a greater justice. Dylan and Tracker are complicated characters who have great chemistry and sex. They develop a relationship over time filled with ups and downs. They are the driving force in this story.

I wish so
Esther Alayeto
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful fantasy book that I really enjoyed. Very well written storyline that is well developed and flows smoothly. Love the characters, Dylan and Tracker are wonderful. I love that Tracker is supportive and protective of Dylan. I can't wait for book 2.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Dylan is an idiot.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNF @ 18%. Ive read well over 100 pages and nothing. Has. Happened. We havent even met the love interest which is unfortunate because aparently thats all this book is building up to. Which is a shame because the author has created a very interesting world! Too bad all we experience of the interesting political climate, group dynamics, held prejudices changing into understanding/acceptance, a whole ass WAR... Is the forest?? I read some other reviews to see if it gets any better and it seems like ...more
Chelsey Nixon
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was ok

Honestly? Honestly? The last 10 percent of this book was almost unbearable. I’ve heard complaints that the book contained too much sex but honestly the sex was the best part of the book. The character development was awful. Dylan wavered between wanting to be leashed and wanting to be free so often that I fear it was just a way to get more words down on the page.
And while the larger plot, the spellster who leaves his castle to defend his country against war, was interesting, it ve
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
In Pain and Blood is the first book in the Spellster series, and has all the hallmarks of everything I enjoy - epic fantasy, m/m, romance, action, and adventure. Dylan has spent his life in 'the Tower' learning how to be a spellster. Magic comes easily to him, but his guardian keeps on telling him to stay safe in the tower, and not to make waves. However, one event shoves him to the forefront, and he sees more of life than he expected. Trying to make his way back to the Tower, he becomes part of ...more
Timothy Bax
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Weak awkward characters with forced romance

My biggest complaint with this book is how the main character hits on, sleeps with, or fantasizes about almost eveyone he has contact with. In the beginning we're informed that he's slept with his female friend and apparently he's attracted to his male friend as well (I guess we needed a prelude to why he had sex with a male later on?)

So after his military group is attacked he's alone and I guess this is the start of a journey. The very first person he
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
I felt like a lot of decisions made and reasonings for them (especially on Dylan's side) just didn't make sense. More like the author had an idea of where they wanted the plot to go and didn't take care to make sure that the way they got there was believable and made sense, and resulted in a sort of plot required stupidity. I was excited to read as I love this type of fantasy and was having an acute Where Are My Gays™️ moment. Something like this falling into my lap seemed like a blessing, but i ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
I downloaded this book as well as “To Target the Heart”. After reading that book only to find at the end an invitation to download more chapters, I skipped directly to the end of this one and found a similar message. “In Pain and Blood”, however, ends with “ Liked what you've read so far? Consider buying the rest of the novel on Amazon.” Neither of these “books” were described as samples or in any other way to indicate they were not complete stories. I definitely won’t be checking out any of thi ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
In my head this book is called walking and f*cking with some magic.
Very long, not much happening aside from walking, camping, sex (with and without magic thrown in)
I finished it but honestly skimmed most of the second half. The characters decisions didn't make sense. The conflict wasn't terribly interesting and mostly involved angst and inner monologue. To avoid spoilers I'll just say that it was way too big of a coincidence that led to the final reveal.
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Mother. Animal lover. Vampire. Fangirl.

Aldrea Alien is a multi-award-winning, USA Today Bestselling, bisexual and genderfluid author from New Zealand. She writes fantasy romance of varying heat levels and sexualities.

She grew up on a small farm out the back blocks of a place known as Wainuiomata alongside a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they're just as human as the next person (espe

Other books in the series

Spellster (3 books)
  • To Target the Heart (Spellster #2)
  • To Poison a Prince (Spellster #3)

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“Isn't this just fun?" Dylan whispered, not quite daring to hope the hound had come to the same conclusion.
"That depends," Tracker replied. "Is that all you want?"
"No," he breathed. There was so much more he yearned for. He could almost understand why his friend in the tower used to risk falling in love.”
“The man halted in front of Dylan, giving a considering hum as those honey-coloured eyes looked him over. A dozen little silver and gold rings and cuffs adorned the elf’s ears. They glittered in the early light as the man tipped his head up.
Dylan straightened his back, resisting the urge to shuffle on the spot.
Something familiar lingered in the way the man’s lips twisted. “You seemed rather less tall in the dark. No matter. What is it that they say in the army when handing over charge of you to another?” Tracker snapped his fingers. “Ah, yes. I believe it is… your arse is mine.”
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