Aaron Bunce's Reviews > Sand and Blood

Sand and Blood by D. Moonfire
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really liked it

(Disclaimer) - I received a copy of Sand and Blood from the author, Dylan Moonfire, in a book swap, read and review.

I picked up Sand and Blood, and was hooked within the first 5 pages. I am a big fan of fantasy and science fiction, and I love books that blur the lines between the two. Sand and Blood is technically a steampunk fantasy, but does not fall victim to the trappings of the oft-used, and slightly worn out Victorian England. Instead, Moonfire graces us with some creative world building, and a setting that feels as fresh to us, as it is historically rich to its characters.

The book takes place in Fedran, a land built upon the bones and ashes of a more sophisticated society. This is implied, rather than stated openly, as we glimpse antique machines, as well as monolithic stone structures, all of which are used by the various clans. I love stories with depth; ones that allow us to peel back surface layers to explore the historical events that helped shape the people, and the world. I hope that this aspect of the world is explored in greater detail going forward, as we are offered a relatively small glimpse.

The plot is very linear, and moves quickly. The writing is crisp, and clean, although the character names, which are clearing of Japanese inspiration, can slow the read through. This wasn’t an issue for me until the character count started to rise. This resulted in a case of literary-vertigo, where I lost track of who was who, and what their significance was to the scene. This did clear up however, and as I progressed through the book, the vernacular started to feel more natural.

At the story’s center are five teens, all members of the Shimusogo clan. They partake on a journey, and are subsequently abandoned in the desert. The resulting conflict between the environment, each other, and rival clans, constitutes the bulk of the story. At its heart, Sand and Blood is a coming of age story, one of three teens fighting for survival, and in the process, forging their new identifies as adults. I found this dynamic very compelling, and relatable. I felt the pain, desperation, and triumphs from every situation. The world is stark, and dangerous - but only to a degree. Fedran itself felt like it could have been the greatest antagonist to the three teens, but instead, it took on a more passive role, and allowed the human characters to dominate the conflict.

I became quite fond of both Chimipu, and Pidohu, yet struggled to connect with Rutejimo, the story’s primary. Chimipu exudes strength and confidence, which is a stark contrast to Rutejimo. There is only so much whimpering I can tolerate from a main character, and time and again I found myself growing frustrated with him. I can only hope that, as the series progresses, we will see a more confident and mature Rutejimo emerge. Pidohu quickly became my favorite character, as he is dealt the lion’s share of adversity, and refuses to give up. He is a wonderful example of determination, and the embodiment of the will needed to survive life’s hardship.

Despite my divide with the story’s main character, I found Sand and Blood to be a thoroughly entertaining read. The world is rich with antiquity, and magic, and holds much promise for the various clans that call it home. I look forward to the next book, and only hope that Moonfire unearths some of Fedran’s history, and thus, its secrets. I give Sand and Blood a solid 4 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of fantasy, science fiction, or steampunk fiction, I strongly recommend you give this book a read.
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Reading Progress

September 6, 2014 – Started Reading
September 6, 2014 – Shelved
September 6, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 7, 2014 –
page 10
3.66% "Unlike many fantasy books I have read, Sand and Blood feels fresh from page 1. great start so far..."
October 21, 2014 –
page 27
9.89%
November 9, 2014 –
page 63
23.08%
November 9, 2014 –
page 77
28.21%
November 10, 2014 –
page 131
47.99%
November 14, 2014 –
page 180
65.93%
November 18, 2014 –
page 241
88.28%
November 19, 2014 –
page 273
100.0% "Review forthcoming!"
November 19, 2014 – Finished Reading

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