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Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
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Blood Song (2011)

by Anthony Ryan

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8704715,073 (4.15)31
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English (45)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Blood Song is the first book in the Raven’s Shadow fantasy trilogy by Anthony Ryan. I enjoyed it a great deal. I was hooked from the beginning, and I became more interested as the story progressed. I also really liked the main character.

It has some common epic fantasy tropes. The main story starts off when our main character, Vaelin, is only ten. Shortly after his mother’s death, his father abandons him at the “Sixth Order”, where young boys are raised and taught everything about battle so they can defend the Faith, the main religion in their country. Despite the tropes, I never caught myself comparing this book to anything specific as I read it. It was all handled in its own way and the story held my interest without feeling familiar, plus they’re tropes I tend to enjoy anyway. The first half of the book takes place mostly in the school setting as Vaelin grows up, and then the second half moves beyond that setting after Vaelin has become an adult.

The reader doesn’t get a clear sense of what the plot actually is until much later in the book, so I can’t give any useful details. We follow Vaelin as he grows up, things happen and we aren’t entirely sure why, but they’re interesting and we slowly start to see the bigger picture. I enjoyed the way everything wove together by the end. Most of the main questions and plot threads were wrapped up, although there are enough loose threads to leave me anxious to start the next book.

I think what I liked best was that I could respect the main character. I was usually happy with the way he chose to handle things, and I always felt like I understood the rationale behind his choices by the time all the relevant details were revealed. I do enjoy books where the main characters have more shades of grey, but sometimes I just want a character I can cheer for without reservation and Vaelin was that character for me. I wouldn’t want to mislead anybody into thinking this is a “feel-good” fantasy series, though. Several sad and unpleasant things do happen throughout. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Jul 19, 2018 |
4.5 stars ( )
  Kirstielee | Apr 16, 2018 |
First half = 5 stars.
Second half = 1 star.

What happened after he first met the King? The story felt like it fell apart. I felt like I was watching a complex TV show with the episodes all out of order.

Also, Valyrian Steel, Old Valyria, Old Gods, Warging. Is this a couple thousand of years before the events in GRR Martin's ASOIF series universe? There were quite a few more striking similarities that I couldn't decide if this was an intentional homage or just a marketing campaign.

( )
  josh513 | Feb 3, 2018 |
Apparently there are fantasy books out there filled with cliches that somehow still tell an interesting story. Not to mention the brilliant ending.

Sure, I've read enough similar books by now, meaning coming-of-age stories with murder/assassination/thieving, but the way the story was set up in the first chapter made it pretty intriguing. I'm really glad I didn't know anything about this before reading though since it was a really nice surprise.

5 stars is still a fairly high rating but this was well written and I enjoyed it a whole lot more than my reason ventures into fantasybookland. ( )
  newcastlee | Dec 30, 2017 |
So, it was okay. I am glad that [[Anthony Ryan]] did not spend too much time on the whole "training school" thing - that it moved along. I'm honestly kinda tired of the teenage protagonist at some training academy for . However, the plot moved on fairly quickly, for which I was grateful. I liked the interludes from the second (future) perspective, and that there was essentially a single narrator.

The language got coarser as the main character got older, the violence was fairly graphic and pervasive. The sex, which there wasn't that much of, generally took place off screen. That said, I'm not necessarily sure it's a teen friendly book. ( )
  dbhart42 | Dec 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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Raven's shadow
Sweeps across my heart,
Freezes the torrent of my tears
-Seordah poem, author unknown
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For Dad, who never let me give up
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He had many names.
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Raised by the brothers of the Sixth Order, Vaelin Al Sorna, a Warrior of the Faith, must battle the Empire and even his own father in the first book of a new fantasy trilogy.

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