Aaron Bunce's Reviews > Blood Song

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
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I wanted to love Blood Song, like really love it. But alas, I think my preferred adaptation (audiobook) and this story are not the best bedfellows. Without getting into a scene by scene plot recitation, I will simply say that the unconventional storytelling Ryan uses to form his narrative is both Blood Song's greatest attribute and most glaring weakness. I listen to audiobooks when I commute back and forth from work, so it could be said that I stay fairly regular with when I listen and for how long. A linear story works well for audio, unfortunately, Blood Song breaks from that convention and utilizes a rather halting, recollection-based narrative that became both hard to follow and more than a bit confusing. The bulk of this story is told in flashbacks as Vailen shares the experiences with a scribe. Naturally, the story bounces back and forth, as well as involves certain other accounts. This back and forth plus side by side bounce isn't always clearly delineated - you are simply thrown into a new chapters or section and have to hope that actions or events clue you into what's happening. After getting so far into the book, I started to lose track of how much time had passed since the story started, how old the characters were, and sometimes, what was going on. I must note that I don't have a wandering attention issue and (love, love, love) audiobooks, but out of all the titles I have listened to thus far, Blood Song has been the hardest for me to follow and become invested in. I also take issue with the story's meandering story arc. Blood Song is an epic in every sense of the word, but good gravy. I feel like Ryan would have been better served to highlight a smaller portion of Vailen's life to better encapsulate the story. We move from event to event to event, working to distinguish the significance of each while trying to grasp where the story is taking us and why. The magical system in play is loosely defined, and in the moments when it is discussed, it is still left horribly vague and misunderstood. The dark, the blood song, the seventh order, and vague creatures that can evidently inhabit a person's body are touched upon, but we aren't privy to Vailen's thoughts, or worse yet, his curiousity about them. This is a part of world building and I can't help but feel that Ryan dropped the ball on, thus leaving us with a rather foggy system of magic that is both significant and insignificant to both the characters and the narrative at the same time. I perservered and finished the story, despite the bloated 26 hour listen time, but didn't find that I was particularly invested in the story or the continued adventures of the characters. I love epic fantasy, but feel as if Anthony Ryan could have used some of his time and energies better while plotting and structuring this story. It is clear that Ryan is a very talented writer, and I look forward to following his career, but for my time and money, I've discovered that I'm looking for something different to get my fantasy fix.
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Reading Progress

February 12, 2019 – Started Reading
May 17, 2019 – Shelved
May 17, 2019 – Finished Reading

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