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Monday, 4 November 2013

Blood Song, by Anthony Ryan, Reviewed.

Blood Song, the first in a fantasy series titled Raven’s Shadow, takes the reader on a trip through the
intricacies of a world of wars, interfaith conflicts, intrigue and battle. The societies, geography and political structures developed by the author are all very believable.

As regular readers of my reviews will know, I care deeply about character in fiction. This book does not let the reader down. The characters, and there are many, live. All are flawed in their own ways; all are individuals. No stereotypes here.

For reasons I won’t bore you with, I was unable to read this book in a short time. The extended time period was nothing to do with the book but only reduced my enjoyment in the sense that I found myself impatient to get back to it as soon as I was able. The story certainly held my attention.

This is a book that will suit those who like their fantasy to involve battles, unusual friendships, a background love story, minor references to a form of magic and details of fights and weapons. But it has an added theme that interested me a great deal: the book examines religion and its association with various gods. It analyses faith and hints strongly at the lack of validity in many claims made by religions. This is done through story, rather than through the less attractive type of proselytising sometimes evident in books that touch on religious matters. So, it’s thought-provoking as well as entertaining.

I found I grew more and more attached to the main protagonist as he fought his way through the many barriers placed in his way. The pace is good throughout and description is generally limited to those aspects that require explanation. There are many evocative scenes and a great deal of variety in location and setting, making the journey both interesting and engaging.

I enjoyed the read. It’s a long book, typical of the genre in the sheer volume of words and pages. Good value for money. I recommend it to all who love fantasy and suggest those who have so far avoided this genre might try this as an introduction to how good such storytelling can be.
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