Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1) Blood Song discussion


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Was the Blood Song a crutch for this story?

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message 1: by Tim The Enchanter (last edited Feb 04, 2015 07:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tim The Enchanter I liked the book. 3.5 stars in my opinion but could have been so much more. One of my biggest issues was with the blood song. First of all, the blood song starts of as an unnamed "spidey sense" and gives his the feeling that there is dangers. After talking to the Ghost of powers past, he has a name for it and SUDDENLY it becomes so much more. Off the top of my head I can recall the Blood Song being

1) An early warning system
2) A GPS
3) A lie detector
4) A metal detector
5) A telepathy unit
6) A mind reading tool
7) A weapon
8) A life coach
9) A tool that is basically a life map i.e. go to this town and you will be happy and healthy
10) Quite possibly a mental illness

I thought this turned Vaelin into a superhero and allowed him to succeed at everything, no matter how difficult.

As his aspect said, "Son of the Battle Lord, courageous in all things, apparently without flaw, loved by the Faithful." I thought this hurt the story and was lazy writing. If there is a problem that can't be overcome, the blood song will get him out.

Interested in everyone's thoughts on this book.


idcboobs "If there is a problem that can't be overcome, the blood song will get him out."

I think that's actually a good way to put it.
Obviously we hold the book in different regards, i thought it was a great book for example.

But i do think i agree with everything you brought up, especially the last line.
Perhaps the blood song's usefulness really is "if there's a confliction you need help with, it will help"

I mean i can see how that would be seen as a crutch, and to a degree it is, but i think you're missing the point that the blood song didn't do any of the work. The blood song did point a 'direction' if you will but Vaelin was the one that traveled in that direction.

Obviously since the author hasn't revelead what the blood song is, and depending on what it's original function is, it can really create a sense of a crutch. However you really have to ask yourself, what did the Blood song allow Vaelin to do that he wasn't able to without it, i think the only obvious answer would be that it helps move Vaelin's story along.

I think you also went into more detail than i saw in the blood song. I didn't actually manage to see it as everything you said but i'll take your work for it. I saw it more as a heightened instinct, or even intuition. I guess the more i think about it, the more it definitely isn't.

I'm ready to agree with you Tim, it really just depends on what the author says the blood song's purpose is. Still even if it is a crutch, it's really only useful for forwarding the plot as the author could have used substitutes in place of the blood song's 'effect's' or different plot elements.

I don't think Vaelin would lose anything from not having the blood song though, so unless the author did put the purpose in the second book (yet to read it) I'm unsure as to how much i'd agree with you


Tim The Enchanter Glad you finally found the thread Idcboobs. A little disappointed that you are almost ready to agree with me :)

I thought it was lazy writing an lowered my regard for the book. In the beginning it really was really just heighted instincts that gave premonitions of danger. As the story unfolded and the situations became more complex, the story used the Blood Song to get Vaelin out of the jam.

Sure, he was the one who went in the direction that it pointed but it essentially always told him how to succeed.

I can`t cut the story up too much though because at the end of the day I enjoyed the novel.


idcboobs I'm afraid we'll have to agree on this one Tim

I guess the author didn't realize what he wanted earlier on in the writing. Then again wasn't the book self published? I guess that could excuse it a little, of course it doesn't improve the quality of how you should view it though.

Hopefully we'll see what the blood song actually is, it could be a little more excusable if it was from an outside source trying to manipulate Vaelin into doing it's will and to keep him alive to do so.

I really should re-read the book though


Marc Jones The Tower Lord manages to balance the scales somewhat. Without dropping spoilers we see a far greater difference in what the Blood song wants as opposed to what Vaelin wants. It also re-addresses the power balance somewhat by introducing new foes (and expanding existing ones) who possess a far greater skill with the Dark that our special little snow flake.


idcboobs I heard that the tower lord was noticeably worse than the first book, apparently there's a lot less action and a lot more travelling, boring pov's and setting the series up for more books

i still need to read it for myself but i hope that isn't true


message 8: by Marc (last edited Feb 04, 2015 04:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Theres a drop off in action (there still plenty of good scenes and what seems like a far higher death count) but its balance by far more world building. Theirs a lot of time spent on looking at what the Dark is and a few chapters dedicated to learning a lot more about the cultures Vaelin spent most of the first book fighting against.
I didn't really think any of the POVs were boring.
Its setting everything up for whats sure to be a fine end to the trilogy.


****UPDATE****

Nope this one actually jumped a shark.....literally


Beverly A crutch? No. No more than the use of other types of magic used in fantasy books which use magic as a tool to enhance the strength of a character.

I interpreted the blood song as a kind of super sixth sense bestowed on Vaelin by a benevolent spirit.

In Tower Lord, we are given a little more insight into the possible origination of the "Dark" powers and their many configurations.


message 10: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Its worth nothing that when Vaelin sets his power to send rather than receive it near kills him.
So I guess thats a little bit of a balance sheet.


C. G. Telcontar The Blood Song hero saving device idea doesn't bother me so much as a monk hardened to physical exertion and proficient in small unit actions abruptly turns into Alexander The Great, able to defeat armies and their siege trains. At the age of what? Sixteen or twenty at the oldest? It's a bit of a stretch for me in an otherwise excellent debut novel.


Beverly Christopher wrote: "The Blood Song hero saving device idea doesn't bother me so much as a monk hardened to physical exertion and proficient in small unit actions abruptly turns into Alexander The Great, able to defeat..."

Your doing a dis-justice both to the fantasy story and to real youth in general. There are lots of instances of the young acting beyond their age expectations. Plus you have to consider that in the past a 13 year old was considered an adult.
You already mentions Alexander so how about
Joan of Arc who was only 18.
David O'Dodd, at 17 was a spy in the Civil War.
King David of Israel was only about 15 when he killed Goliath. He was maybe 19 when he was anointed King but he spent a number of years with the army dodging King Saul's attempts to kill him before Saul was finally killed making way for David to become the ruler of Israel.
This one wasn't a leader but he was a hero; Jack Lucas, who lied his way into the Marines at age 14, was nearly killed when he used his body to shield his fellow Marines from grenades on Iwo Jima in February 1945. He was just a few days past his 17th birthday at the time.
I don't remember his name, but I remember the story of a 12 year old who lied his way into the US Navy and was a WW II hero.

Then about the monk thing. How about the Knights Templar? Or, on the evil side, how about the religious terrorist groups of today recruiting and training any male who can hold a weapon to kill those who do not believe as they do.


message 13: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Alexanders conquest of the known world began at the age of 18, two years after ascending the throne.
Vaelin wins one major victory and still manages to be on the loosing side.


C. G. Telcontar Beverly wrote: "Christopher wrote: "The Blood Song hero saving device idea doesn't bother me so much as a monk hardened to physical exertion and proficient in small unit actions abruptly turns into Alexander The G..."

Audie Murphy as well. No, I don't buy it. Alexander had formal military training from his father's generals. Joan of Arc laid siege to a castle or two; not exactly rocket science. I don't take any Biblical story at face value; fact and mythology are too densely woven to separate. Look, I'm not saying it's an absolute red flag impossible plot point, I'm of the opinion that it's too much of a stretch for Vaelin, whose primary combat experience was fighting a renegade band of archers in the forest. It doesn't work for me.


Beverly Christopher wrote: "Beverly wrote: "Christopher wrote: "The Blood Song hero saving device idea doesn't bother me so much as a monk hardened to physical exertion and proficient in small unit actions abruptly turns into..."

Vaelin trained from the age of 9 for combat in a variety of situations. His gift also aided him in perceiving things that others did not or could not so not a stretch for me.
Besides, as long as the writing is on a professional, mature level, I guess I'm not very picky when it comes to my fantasy reading where I expect to be transported to a world where anything is possible. I don't want it to be anywhere near real. It's fantasy. :)


message 16: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Christopher wrote: "The Blood Song hero saving device idea doesn't bother me so much as a monk hardened to physical exertion and proficient in small unit actions abruptly turns into Alexander The Great, able to defeat..."
This really does reach Mary Sue levels in the second book.....wasnt really an issue the first for me.


message 17: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom I couldn't finish this book. Nothing stood out as original to me at all, the writing was flat and the characters were lifeless. I really don't understand how its gotten so much praise.


message 18: by Johan (last edited Feb 04, 2015 03:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Johan Melander Sorry but I don't really get the critique here. This is a heroic fantasy epic, pretty much every book/series in this genre features this. The genre is all about the main character having an ability/talent that he/she might just be coming aware of or don't know of yet. An ability/talent that grows in sync with the story. So no its not a crutch, it's the main part of the story as much as the main character is and without it there wouldn't be a story.
So if this is something you don't appreciate but you still want to read fantasy, maybe you should try multiple character driven fantasy like "A Song of Ice and Fire", "Malazan Book of the Fallen" or comic fantasy like the Discworld novels.


message 19: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones I think there's a bit of a difference between talent/ability and a deus ex machina super power.


Johan Melander Marc wrote: "I think there's a bit of a difference between talent/ability and a deus ex machina super power."

I don't agree, take any character with for example magic in this genre, their ability and grasp of what they can do with their magic is going to grow with the problems they face. That's just how the genre works.


message 21: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Johan wrote: "Marc wrote: "I think there's a bit of a difference between talent/ability and a deus ex machina super power."

I don't agree, take any character with for example magic in this genre, their ability ..."


But with other examples in the genre other characters are at the same if not better power level.
Using malazan as an example, there's characters you could argue have extinction level ability's, but that's totally okay because there's OTHER characters to balance it out.
But in this novel Vaelin only comes close to an equal match in the final chapters of the book and even thats over pretty quickly. You could argue there's a couple of characters in the tower-lord who could meet Vaelin on an equal footing but he never meets them and never gets to cross swords.


Johan Melander Marc wrote: "Johan wrote: "Marc wrote: "I think there's a bit of a difference between talent/ability and a deus ex machina super power."

I don't agree, take any character with for example magic in this genre, ..."


The single main character story of a hero with an ability that they don't fully understand, but when they are in trouble saves them and they learn more about it, is a main stay genre in fantasy. In this genre the ability and it's characteristics is as much part of the story as the main character him self, See the Stormlight Archive etc. You can either like it or not but if you don't I suggested series from other sub-genres like The Malazan books so I have no idea why you used that as an example here?


message 23: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones I used Malazan as an example of powerful characters done well and the idea of balance as a principle in good and interesting story telling.
For what its worth I actually like the book, hence the 4 star rating, but like Tim I agree the Blood song offered way to many perks and it would have been nice to see the main character solve problems on his own rather resorting to a writers convenience.


idcboobs Skimmed the posts. I understand where johan is coming from but i do kind of understand how the blood song is a deus ex seeing as it hasn't been limited; it's free to save the protagonists life whenever it can (which is like all the time).

Sanderson put it nicely
"Hard Magic
Magic/technology has well defined rules that the audience understands. As a result, one can use this to solve conflict more easily as the capabilities are cleanly defined. Sanderson classifies this as "Hard Magic".
Soft Magic
Magic/technology has unclear or vague rules, or none at all. This allows for a greater sense of wonder to be attained for the reader, but the ability to solve problems without resorting to deus ex machina decreases. Sanderson classifies this as "Soft Magic". Lawrence Watt-Evans specifically advised "The trick is to be a benevolent and consistent deity, not one who pulls miracles out of a hat as needed.""

And then his second "law" does go into a bit more about limitations of character being more interesting that the power itself which is kind of why the blood song is pretty meh.

Although iirc this topic originated because we were talking about mary sues characters(?) i still don't think anyone in this novel was a gary/mary-sue


message 25: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Idcboobs wrote: "Skimmed the posts. I understand where johan is coming from but i do kind of understand how the blood song is a deus ex seeing as it hasn't been limited; it's free to save the protagonists life whenever it can (which is like all the time).

"


In the books defense over use of the blood song does give him nose bleeds.
I wouldn't say hes a Stu in the first book but the second presents a very good case.


message 26: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom Marc wrote: "Idcboobs wrote: "Skimmed the posts. I understand where johan is coming from but i do kind of understand how the blood song is a deus ex seeing as it hasn't been limited; it's free to save the prota..."

oh I'm so glad I didn't invest more time in this book..


message 27: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Kidgreg wrote: "oh I'm so glad I didn't invest more time in this book.. "

Angst


Tim The Enchanter A couple of points. My criticism was that it was really just lazy story telling. The Blood Song was the default escape clause. I appreciate that characters will have abilities in fantasy novels but the best novels don't always take the easy way out.

On a positive note, I read The Tower Lord and found it to be FAR superior to the first. The author did a much better job of telling a story.


message 29: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom Tim "The Enchanter" wrote: "A couple of points. My criticism was that it was really just lazy story telling. The Blood Song was the default escape clause. I appreciate that characters will have abilities in fantasy novels ..."

But there is so much better fantasy books out there, why even bother? well then again my reading time is limited so I have to be very picky.


message 30: by Marc (last edited Feb 04, 2015 07:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Tim "The Enchanter" wrote: "On a positive note, I read The Tower Lord and found it to be FAR superior to the first. The author did a much better job of telling a story. "

Want to share your thoughts as to why the second book was an improvement, spoiler free I guess for those who haven't read it. Im keen to read them as I felt pretty much the opposite.

***Updated***

Or I could just read your review, which I now have


message 31: by Fernando (last edited Feb 04, 2015 10:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fernando Fitch I felt like it didn't start as a crutch, but by the middle of Tower Lord it did feel like a crutch. Imho the blood song fell somewhere between Bink's magic ability from Spell for Chameleon and Paul from Dune (or perhaps Kellis from Prince of Nothing). Bink's magic ability was basically an unconscious deus ex machina ability and Paul/Kellis basically had this pseudo-future sight (like the ability to predict the probable outcomes to certain actions).

This didn't start as a problem for me, but I often find that an exciting part of a story comes from the uncertain outcome of some actions. In spell for chameleon and dune these abilities are not realized until the end of the books, and so didn't seem to guide the protagonists actions very strongly until they've sort of 'earned' the capacity to put it to use. I think that fits in line with Blood Song. In Tower Lord, however, I felt like Vaelin was able to forgo the struggle of making difficult decisions by reducing (or maybe completely eliminating) the uncertainty of his actions. There were even occasions where he'd be like "Hmm should I really do this?" *blood song triggers* /shrug "Well yeah I guess I should, no point in worrying now." Granted he didn't know the outcome, but simply the knowledge that a certain choice will lead to a successful outcome has a similar effect.

That doesn't necessarily mean a book needs to be replete with suspense and doubt about the protagonists actions, but I eventually felt the disappointment that comes along with predictable stories except in this case, as the reader, I wasn't able to predict the outcomes. The problem was more generally a feeling of "well shit I know he's making the right choice and will succeed".

In Tower Lord I liked the storylines of all the characters other than Vaelin, but the blood song/crutch thing turned me off to Vaelin's storyline.


idcboobs lol i couldn't finish tower lord


Tim The Enchanter @Idcboobs - Seriously! After all the drama over the first book you couldn't finish the second!!!! What was the problem?


idcboobs Tim "The Enchanter" wrote: "@Idcboobs - Seriously! After all the drama over the first book you couldn't finish the second!!!! What was the problem?"

Honestly it was just tedious to read, blood song at least had a narrative that it followed closely. tower lord just felt all over the place like the author had an idea of where the book was going but couldn't convey it properly


message 35: by Marc (last edited Feb 05, 2015 02:44AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Idcboobs wrote: "Tim "The Enchanter" wrote: "@Idcboobs - Seriously! After all the drama over the first book you couldn't finish the second!!!! What was the problem?"

Honestly it was just tedious to read, blood s..."


I enjoyed the first part of Frentis story line but after that my interest just fell apart, the siege didnt seem interesting to read about due to the jumping around in time with the narrative. There is no real threat in a character saying we can only hold out X amount of days when you have already seen a flash forward to day X+10 and everyone is still alive and well.
It always seemed like there was a character hanging around with a power set to resolve any problem.

Stuck on a slave ship.....if only we could "summon" help
Need to sneak into an enemy camp....meet invisible guy
Horribly burned queen.....meet weaver
Years of racial intolerance and atrocity need smoothing over.....well the Blood song also acts as a time travelling social networking function, which everyone totally believes.


The action scenes were really sloppy, they just felt utterly disconnected from reality. It was like a fight scene from the expendables, the main characters mince through hordes of generic untrained troops then get to look super cool killing an "elite".

And the cliffhanger ending.....isn't.


message 36: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom Marc wrote: "Idcboobs wrote: "Tim "The Enchanter" wrote: "@Idcboobs - Seriously! After all the drama over the first book you couldn't finish the second!!!! What was the problem?"

Honestly it was just tedious..."


Agreed. Totally. and yet Blood Song has an ungodly amount of 5 star reviews. Why?


message 37: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones I guess if everyone liked the same thing we would all be at a massive Taylor swift concert right now, holding hands and looking forward to vanilla ice cream and a basic cheese pizza afterwards.


idcboobs Kidgreg wrote: "Marc wrote: "Idcboobs wrote: "Tim "The Enchanter" wrote: "@Idcboobs - Seriously! After all the drama over the first book you couldn't finish the second!!!! What was the problem?"

Honestly it was..."


I liked blood song a lot to be honest but felt completely opposite about tower lord.

cheers for the recommendation btw marc


message 39: by Marc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Idcboobs wrote: "I liked blood song a lot to be honest but felt completely opposite about tower lord."

I guess another big issue I had was aside from a couple of supernatural assassins the Blood song was mostly about very human enemies, most of which were just defending their country against invasion by an aggressive foreign power.
Were as Tower Lord was generic evil empire doing evil stuff because of their dark lords. They were pretty much one step away from building a death star and setting it up on mount doom to blow up hogwarts.


message 40: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom Marc wrote: "I guess if everyone liked the same thing we would all be at a massive Taylor swift concert right now, holding hands and looking forward to vanilla ice cream and a basic cheese pizza afterwards."

Yeah but over 1500 of 5 star reviews. That's got to be like a freakin record or something for a mediocre book at best. It seems rather conspiratory to me or just a lot of bandwagon jumpers. (At least I can understand why someone would like taylor Swift and I like vanilla ice cream and Pizza is like sex even when its bad its still good)


message 41: by Marc (last edited Feb 05, 2015 07:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc Jones Kidgreg wrote: "Marc wrote: "Yeah but over 1500 of 5 star reviews. That's got to be like a freakin record or something for a mediocre book at best. It seems rather conspiratory to me or just a lot of bandwagon jumpers. "

Actually its 15000 five star reviews.
But doing a quick filter and ignore those that are just GIFS a significant percentage appear to be
first time fantasy readers and fantasy readers looking for something between king killer novels.
I guess for a lot of people it was an entry level fantasy novel, like I said its not a bad novel, for a writers first effort its a damn good show.

That said look how many five star reviews Queen of fire has and that doesnt even exist.
WISHLISTING IS NOT A REVIEW PEOPLE
Nor is a GIF of glittercat and a OMG face.

"(At least I can understand why someone would like taylor Swift and I like vanilla ice cream and Pizza is like sex even when its bad its still good) "

But you didnt make clear your feeling on holding hands.


message 42: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom Marc wrote: "But you didnt make clear your feeling on holding hands.."

That depends on who I'm holding hands with and where its leading. :)


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