Fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson should take a look at this series, especially if you are eagerly awaiting …. as are we all …. the publication of Doors of Stone. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan introduces us to the life of Vaelin al Sorna, given as a young man to the Sixth Order, a group of warriors sworn to protect the Faith of their kingdom against neighbors and heretics alike. As the tale progresses, we follow young Vaelin from training and testing through his early battles and travels through a world rich with interesting characters and a subtle but unique magical system. Action and intrigue abound in this first book, leaving the reader wanting to know so much more of both the man and the world in which he lives.
Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
Narrated by Steven Brand
(Raven's Shadow #1)
Published by Ace on July 2, 2013
Page Length: 591 pages
Audio Length: 23 hours and 8 minutes
How I got my copy: Purchased
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Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.
Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.
- The characters are well-written, complex, and multi-faceted. While the young students invoke our sympathy for the hard life to which they feel they’ve been abandoned, none are written to be little saints. They have unexpected gifts and warts … and yet they form tight bonds of loyalty to each other and to their Order.
- The magical system is a hidden one …. at least from Vaelin’s perspective. As the story progresses and Vaelin learns more about the realities of the world in which he is maturing, we find underlying mysteries hinted at but not yet fully revealed. Layers upon layers fall away until the final chapter illuminates a secret so world-rocking that readers will want to jump right into the next book to find out what happens next.
- I really enjoyed the foot-soldier’s perspective on the machinations of the King, his advisors, and his family. In the end, we’re not really sure how much Vaelin understood of the King’s true motivations for his actions and the war, but perhaps al Sorna was right – while the historian chronicling the story was dead wrong.
- The narrator, Steven Brand, is phenomenal!! He gives each character’s voice a different inflection, even doing an excellent job on making women’s voices slightly higher and lighter without slipping into a fake falsetto. I looked forward to long-ish trips in the car so that I could listen to him read.
- My only caveat about this book was that it is a story within a story, containing at least two different perspectives (that don’t necessarily agree on the “facts” of the story) and a number of flashbacks. Listening to it, I occasionally wanted to stop and “flip” back to prior chapters to refresh my recollection of what the omniscient narrator had said versus what the chronicler was relating. While I loved listening to the book – Steven Brand is an excellent reader/voice actor – the epic nature of the book may be too complex for the audio version.
I really enjoyed this epic tale told from the perspective of a young trainee who grows up, learning to fight and rely only upon this band of brothers to whom his father has given him. It’s partly a tale of growing up, but on other levels, this is a story about great events put in motion by great people whose true motivations we may suspect but can never really understand. Add to this mix a complex magic system that takes more than one book to fully develop …. and for our protagonist to understand and master. It will keep you coming back for one more chapter …. and one more book!!!
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Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
© 2016, Barbara. All rights reserved.