Read Blood Song by AnthonyRyan Online


“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”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“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”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....

Title : Blood Song
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13569581
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 591 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Blood Song Reviews

  • Katherine Coble
    2018-12-27 07:10

    When I first finished Patrick Rothfuss’ Name Of The Wind two years ago I was a bit sad. I knew that even though the book was wonderful (and had a sequel on the horizon), that great books which capture me as that one did don’t come along very often. Before Rothfuss was Harry Potter, and that was a good number of years before Rothfuss. It was five years before Potter that Pillars Of The Earth fell into my hands. So I’ve been working on an average of one Utterly Captivating Read every five years or so. Watching the last page of Name Of The Wind blink offscreen, I knew it was going to be another five years before I found one of those Utterly Captivating Reads.Now, that’s not to say there haven’t been other great books. Other five-star books. George RR Martin has written a few. So has Lois McMaster Bujold. Five-star books, through and through–books that I’ve read more than once out of a desire to travel into them again.But there are just some books that make five stars look like the sky on a cloudy night and beg for a constellation. Those are the Utterly Great Reads, the ones whose stories feel more real than the stories you know other people think are real.I wasn’t expecting another Utterly Great Read for three more years. I wasn’t due for one, you see.I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be independently published, released in near secret and available on Kindle for less than the price of my usual Vente Breve Chai Latte at Starbucks. Seriously. This thing was three dollars. I swear to you I want to send twenty bucks and a bottle of Macallan to the guy who wrote it. It’s that good. This is a book that should be in leather-bound hardback, smythe-sewn, gold tooling, deckle-edged paper. It’s a book that costs less than a large bag of cheetos, for crying out loud!

  • Mark Lawrence
    2019-01-19 05:11

    I won't lie, some small but undeniable part of me came to this book hoping to find fault. It would take a better man than me to watch Anthony Ryan's barnstorming success without a twinge of envy.Sadly I have to report that this is a very good book and deserves the five stars I've given it.Ryan writes well, he brings his world and characters to life with good description. It's as a story-teller he shines though, and a good story is always the keystone of a bestseller. Schools in fantasy books are like crack cocaine to readers. The Wizard of Earthsea, Magician, Harry Potter, The Magicians, Name of the Wind (I think), it goes on, and if not a school per se then an extended training period apprenticed to some master (The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Way of Shadows etc). Blood Song has a battle school as its central focus and we watch our protagonist progress from small boy to large young man through arduous training and a series of very dangerous tests, acquiring a group of firm friends with various talents as he goes.This is all set in a skillfully executed flashback which our protagonist narrates to a historian on his way to a duel. The tale he tells moves past the school to national and then international conspiracy, politicking, and war. Finally it brings us full circle to the historian and the duel.It's all good stuff. Don't come looking for great literature or deep themes, do come looking for a great story and a good time. I don't want to damn the book with faint praise - it deserves 5* and (& this is very high praise from me) it has heart, reminding me in many ways of David Gemmell's work.The story is very morish, I read this rather fat book in just a couple of weeks, which for me is incredibly fast. Let Vaelin's tale sink its teeth into you and you'll be cheering his victories, growling at his set-backs, and having all the feels in between in appropriate measure.I begrudgingly affirm that Ryan deserves his success and commend Blood Song to your attention.EDIT - we have the second book! My wife stole it and says it's as good as the first.Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes..

  • Khanh (the meanie)
    2019-01-21 10:07

    The supremely epic tale of the biggest Gary Stu in the entire world, filled with grammatical and punctuation errors.Fantasy and high fantasy is notorious for Gary Stus, we know that. Prime example: Harry Potter. Another example, the main character in one of my favorite HF of all time, Jorg Ancrath, by the awesome Marc Lawrence. As these examples have shown, Gary Stus are not awful. They can be amazing, the book can be immensely enjoyable.This book is not one of them.There is a way to write a Gary Stu so that a book is believable, readable. You give him a darkness. You make him flawed. You give him characteristics that are not normally enjoyed or admired. You fucking MAKE it so that we love him, despite everything he does. That's how you write good character.It is not in writing a character who is so bloody fucking perfect that he can defeat a group of men and giant dogs and shit at the age of, like...12. It is not in making him so bloody fucking awesome that he speaks with the wisdom of a 50 year old at the grand old, ripe age of 13. It is not in giving him so much fucking nobility that it would put the current Pope, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, and Tom Hiddleston to shame.This book is like Harry Potter in that we watch the main character grow, day by day by day by slow, slow, excruciating day from the time he is a young (but startlingly brilliant, introspective, and mature) child. They are also roughly the same age.9,845,412 or so pages later (when we're halfway through the book), the character is 15 and so noble it makes me throw up a little in my mouth.He has no faults.He succeeds in every fucking thing.He impresses all his masters.He excels at almost all feats. And in those in which he does not have a natural technical skill, he is merely "great." He pushes through all difficulties. He succeeds brilliantly at all his tests, all his challenges. He is the son of a brilliant, beloved battle lord. Before he is even 13, the main character's reputation for battle-hardiness and skill is known and whispered about throughout the land.Females fall for him, right and left, before his balls have even dropped and his voice has cracked.Gary-Stu-ism aside, I'm not sure if I have an older version of the book or what, but it is so filled with errors that the grammar Nazi inside me was yelling "NEIN, NEIN!!!!!"Commas. They're amazing. They're awesome. Use them. This book has the worst usage of commas I've ever encountered in any book. And I've read a shit ton of books in my life. Yes brother. No brother. Wait sister. That's just the examples I can think of off the top of my head. Atrocious. Absolutely fucking atrocious. You don't have to use commas. Use a period. I love periods. Ok, not THOSE periods, but you know what I mean. Whatever, just give me room to breathe within a sentence. Give me room to pause. It totally takes away the drama in a statement when the character speaks a paragraph without pause.

  • Petrik
    2019-01-02 07:08

    A masterwork you don't want to miss; it is with temerity that I declare Blood Song as one of the best debut novels I've ever read.Why do I love this book? The simple answer would be because this is a book that has everything I love in epic fantasy and that it hit all the right notes for me. I could practically end my review with that answer but that wouldn't do justice to how great this book is. Now, it's time for me to take on the role of the Chronicler and inform you why it's essential for you to read Vaelin Al Sorna's coming-of-age story.The Sword of the Realm, the Young Hawk, Darkblade, the Shadow of the Raven, and Hope Killer; it's not an exaggeration to say that Vaelin has obtained many names throughout his life. Told in the same storytelling style as The Name of the Wind, the plot of the book mostly revolves around how Vaelin received all these titles. To do that, he's going to tell the coming-of-age story of his life to the Imperial Chronicler, a story which began when his father left him alone at the iron gate of the Sixth Order in order for him to learn and grow into a warrior."The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm."It's simply incredible how Anthony Ryan weaved this slow-paced coming-of-age story into an addictive page-turner, at least that's how it was for me. I was engrossed in this book from cover to cover; right from the moment I read the prologue, it became immensely hard for me to focus on anything else but reading this book because of the strong gravitational pull the narrative held on me. Blood Song contained every wonderful element and resonating theme necessary for a fantastic epic fantasy debut: intriguing mystery, engaging plot line, brotherhood, politics, religions, faith, home, abandonment, dark magic, and war, all of which were written exceptionally well."War is always an adventure to those who've never seen it."Blood Song is thoroughly a character-driven coming-of-age story, and if you've been following my reviews until now, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's my favorite kind of storytelling narration; always has been, always will be. I was filled with emotions seeing how Vaelin developed throughout his journey. It was very compelling to read about how he grew up and faced all the challenges in his battle school for the purpose of becoming a full-fledged warrior of the Sixth Order. However, my favorite part of the book is definitely the brotherhood and comradeship he found on his journey to adulthood."Comradeship, he realized. Also a warrior's lot. You share your life with those who would die for you."I absolutely love reading all about a character's growth: how they learn from their mistakes, how they come to terms with the situation forced upon them, how they find and build their own brotherhood; it's emotionally rewarding. The characterizations were top-notch and that made the well-placed cinematic action scenes in each chapter more pulse-pounding because the characters were easy to empathize with.Although the world explored in this book isn't that huge compared to many other fantasy debuts out there, don't let this fool you into thinking that the world-building is inferior. The Unified Realm is rich with a history of bloodshed and war. All the mystery, legends, and magic were all introduced gradually and seamlessly without being info-dumpy, strengthening my point that this is an utterly compelling book to read.Ryan's wonderful prose is evocative, immersive, vivid, and easy to follow without being too simple, making it so easy for the writing to fully absorb me into the book. It's truly a spectacular work for a debut and also, this book was originally self-published; were it still, this would easily be the best indie book of all time for me. It won’t be easy for any author or Anthony Ryan himself to top this masterwork debut for me, but I’m hopeful and looking forward to the day that Ryan reattains or surpasses the greatness he achieved with his composition of Blood Song. If I have to be nitpicky, there are some sentences that definitely required commas for the prose to flow even better. But this didn't bother me at all, especially knowing that the novel was originally self-published. I seriously think Ryan did an amazing job with this book. "A life without experience provides no contemplation."If you have heard about this trilogy, you've probably heard about the mixed reception the sequels received, especially the last book. Regardless, that shouldn't change your motivation to read this book. Not only does Blood Song work perfectly as a standalone, you'll be missing out on one of the finest books in the genre should you choose not to read it.The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie, Malice by John Gwynne, Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, and now Blood Song by Anthony Ryan; I'm truly blessed to have read all of these superlative debuts that made it into my favorite debuts of all time list.Honestly speaking, the year 2017 has been a harsh year for me outside of my reading. Ironically, I found hope in a warrior called Hope Killer. The Sword of the Realm became real to me as it cleaved through my despair. The Young Hawk taught me to soar above my problems, and as the Raven's Shadow swept across my heart, I realized that every second I spent in my escapism was worthwhile. Now, it's time for me to put down my pen—or keyboard in this case—and end my review here. Thank you, Anthony Ryan, for one of the best literary journeys I've ever had the chance to experience. It was truly an honor to have listened to the breathtaking tune you composed, the Blood Song. I completely recommend this book with all my heart to every fantasy reader; it's without a doubt a masterpiece that every fan of the genre must read.You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest

  • Becky
    2019-01-16 10:07

    Commas matter. They are important if someone, say, an author, wishes to convey a particular meaning or concept or image through the words they use in the books they want to sell. They are important for timing, and sentence structure, and plain ol' literacy. Plus, they make me feel good, like I'm reading something worth my time, rather than some 6th grade creative writing exercise. There's a big difference between "Let's eat, Grandpa!" and "Let's eat Grandpa!"Also this: "His father didn't reply. Walking over to the bell, he took his dagger from his belt and struck it with the pommel."He struck his belt with the pommel? Or his dagger? Oh, the bell? I'm confused."We storm castle walls braving arrows and fire."Those walls are so brave! I have been known to forgive editing errors in favor of a good story. And by all accounts, this is supposed to be a great story. But it's ruined for me now. There's no way that I can continue to read this and NOT look for errors, and the more errors I find, the more annoyed I'm going to be, so the end result would be the same: a 1 star review, regardless of how great the story may be otherwise. The only difference is that I'd have invested a great deal more of my time, and would have been all the more pissed off because of it. It's not often that I abandon a book this early. But in barely 4% of the text, I noted at least 50 errors. Most, but not all, were missing or incorrectly used commas or semicolons, with a smattering of poor formatting and sentence structure issues thrown in for good measure. That's just way, way too many for me to ignore. And, to be perfectly honest, it taints the rest of the book. For example: "Honoured Sir." Aruan greeted me with a short bow. "Honoured Sir," I replied formally.This little exchange is problematic for me, and given the iffy history of correct comma usage in this story, I have no way of knowing whether "Honoured Sir" is intended as an honorific or status title, or if they are each stating the they are honored to meet the other, as in "Honoured, Sir." And the context doesn't help to figure it out. Both can be seen as equally formal greetings. This is a comma conundrum, caused by poor punctuation and/or editing, and it makes me over-analyze every line, which is quite irritating. But if you want to know the straw that broke the camel's back, the one line that was just more than I could stand, and which shut this shit down, it's this one: "Sollis's cane snapped the air above his head."Whips snap (or crack) in the air. Canes whistle THROUGH the air. *sigh*I'm sure I'm probably going to get a ton of shit for this review, but I don't particularly care. I have standards, and this book didn't come anywhere close to meeting them, so I'm not going to waste my time on it anymore. Proper editing isn't optional.

  • Felicia
    2018-12-29 10:07

    If you like your fantasy Rothfuss or Sanderson-style this is a great book for you. It's a meaty epic fantasy with a really strong main character. I was sucked in and definitely want to read the next one!

  • Emily May
    2019-01-21 05:05

    I'm going to put this on hold at 25%. Maybe I'll come back to it at a time when I can understand the 4.51 average rating. You know - a tiny 1% of those who read this book rated it 2 stars or less. Only 7% rated it 3 stars or less. As you're probably realizing, that means 93% either "really liked it" or thought "it was amazing". I can only conclude that my brain has been hijacked by something that doesn't appreciate amazing things.But let me at least try to explain myself. I'm not a big fan of romance. WAIT - WHAT?! That's not relevant! No, please, I have a point, I swear! I mentioned this in one of my youtube videos, but I don't like most romance books because they're so predictable. I mean, you know what's going to happen, don't you? You're in the romance section! That's a spoiler in itself. Psst, they're going to get together!Well, Blood Song is about a guy called Vaelin Al Sorna. And Al Sorna can't do anything wrong. He excels at everything he does and comes out on top in every situation. He's smart, strong, resilient, brave, self-sacrificing, a hit with the ladies and he never fails. This guy sweats faultlessness from the age of 12.So, like, I feel I already know what's going to happen with this guy. He's too perfect, too dull, to really make me concerned about what will happen to him. It's true, it's early days. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Al Sorna will face some realistic challenges and actually experience - *gasp* - failure.But, for now, I'm a little tired of reading about the sunshine beaming out of Al Sorna's amazing ass.

  • Michael
    2018-12-27 05:59

    Anthony Ryan is a new fantasy author destined to make his mark on the genre. His debut novel, Blood Song, certainly has it all: great coming of age tale, compelling character, and a fast-paced plot. If his first book is any indication of things to come, then all fantasy readers should rejoice as a new master storyteller has hit the scene.Update: I just received an ARC of Anthony's third book in this series. So I just finished a re-read of this.

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    2019-01-21 06:58

    2/7/18 - ON SALE for $2.99: by: Rabid ReadsSooooo . . . if you haven't already noticed, I've been on something of a fantasy kick of late. It's been years since I've gotten back to my roots, so now I'm playing catch-up. Anthony Ryan has been on my TBR for even longer than I'd realized . . . I have a problem . . . It's called "one-clicking." You may have a similar problem . . . *snickers*Apparently I one-clicked BLOOD SONG before it got snapped up by Ace, b/c, yes, this is one of those remarkable independently published books that gathered so much public interest by virtue of its own merit that it got purchased by one of the Big Five. *high fives Ryan*Anyway, the point is that despite a handful of grammatical errors in my own unedited version of the book, it was fantastic. The story begins as a historian of an empire is taking custody of an enemy nation's war champion . . . A war champion who had been imprisoned for years . . . A war champion who was being paroled to fight to the death for the release of a woman from the enemy nation . . . A woman who the war champion had widowed himself by killing the heir of the emperor . . . a man who was the historian's best friend . . .Awkward. But as much as Historian despises this man, this Hope Killer, he cannot help but be intrigued by him. He watches as the governor of the very city War Champion seized during the war comes the dock, bringing War Champion his sword that had been given into Governor's care. He watches as Governor tries to encourage War Champion about his upcoming (doomed to fail) duel: maybe he'll win, maybe this is the first step in his journey home . . . Who is this War Champion that he should win the respect and friendship of a man whose city he took by force?Vaelin Al Sorna, that's who.And Historian, being a chronicler of history, finds that he cannot resist the urge to record a firsthand account of the war and the events leading up to the invasion from one who would know the enemy's---King Janus of the Unified Realm---mind, when War Champion offers to tell his story during their voyage (to the PIRATE NATION where the duel is to take place).From there we go backward. We learn of Vaelin's childhood, how his father left him at the gates of the Sixth Order, the only Order of warriors, and thus the only trained fighters who are not subject to the King's commands:"You fight," Vaelin told the Aspect, the violence and the blood making his heart hammer in his chest."Yes." The Aspect halted and looked down at him. "We fight. We kill. We storm castle walls braving arrows and fire. We stand against the charge of horse and lance. We cut our way through the hedge of pike and spear to claim the standard of our enemy. The Sixth Order fights, but what does it fight for?""For the realm."For the realm, and for the Faith. The Sixth Order is a highly trained, highly efficient, and highly deadly group of paladins (<------warrior priests).We learn of the bonds of brotherhood forged during their rigorous, often deadly training. Of the eleven boys who share quarters, only five live to become Brothers, Vaelin their acknowledged leader.We learn of the Dark, a nebulous force that manifests itself in unnatural abilities and talents, and we learn of the king of a nation hellbent on legislating morality with an iron fist.BLOOD SONG is a tale filled with suffering and injustice, but it's also a tale of friendship and loyalty and perseverance, and woven throughout are hints of a Darkness gathering, while flaws in the Realm's belief system are slowly but steadily revealed. In short, it's compelling. Sometimes bleak, sometimes hopeful, always determined, BLOOD SONG grabbed me by the horns and didn't let go until this chapter of the story was complete, and even then it was only for as long as it took me to one-click the next book. Highly recommended.My other reviews for this series:Tower Lord (Raven's Shadow, #2) by Anthony Ryan

  • Petros Triantafyllou
    2019-01-10 11:55

    Blood Song is, perhaps, the greatest self-published story i have read in the past five years.To begin with, it features one of my two favorite fantasy schemes. A young protagonist apprentices himself to a magic military/faith monastery, and proceeds to become the greatest mage fighter the world has ever seen. But the general plot arc isn't the reason of this success. Everything else is.Anthony's debut is an addictive page-turner with compelling writing, interesting plots and sub-plots, masterfully crafted dialogues and wonderfully built atmosphere, forcing you not to come up for breath until you reach the epilogue. Anthony Ryan rides a thin line between prose and poetry, and does so, successfully as well."Honour is just a word. You can’t eat it or drink it and yet everywhere I go men talk of it endlessly, and they all tell a different tale of what it actually means. For the Alpirans it’s all about duty, the Renfaelins think it’s the same as courage. In these islands it appears it means killing a son for a crime committed by his father then slaughtering a helpless man when the pantomime fails to go to plan." Blood Song starts with a blank slate. Every turn the plot takes is full of thrilling surprises, building a lot of tension and anticipation for the finale, and although we already know Vaelin survived the ordeals and trials that got in his way, we have no idea how the story is going to end. The characters are compelling, and the magic system is kept simple and easy to understand. The real gem of this story though is the pace. Fast at the beginning, steady at the core of the story, and slowly reversed at the epilogue.All in all, Blood Song is the perfect combination of an amazing plot, a perfectly built world, and a compelling storytelling from a great author.If you have yet to read it, a trip to the local bookstore is what you have to make. You can find more of my reviews over at

  • Mayim De Vries
    2018-12-31 12:12

    “The song is me, my blood, my need, my hunt.”A special school for wizards assassins. Haven't had those for a while. If done well (and it can be done badly), it is one of the safest tropes in fantasy. It usually combines a coming of age story with the brothers-in-wands arms ambiance and a quest for saving the world. And indeed the Blood Song seeped into my veins with this heady mixture of ingredients like the best of drugs. I read it with an increasing exhilaration and overwhelming sensation of being overindulged with all the fantasy guilty pleasures. But with the last page, when the drug wore off, I was left with the lingering side effects. A young boy, Vaelin al Sorna is given away by his own father to the Sixth Order, a place of lessons in death and an austere life of a defender of the Faith and Realm. His life is blood, sweat and tears but then his blood starts to sing and since the Faith is tied very closely with the Realm and the Crown, as Vaelin grows in his vocation as a warrior and therefore a practitioner of death in its many forms, he is also caught in the of current of power flowing through the fiefs of the Unified Realm. We learn the story of Vaelin’s life as he narrates it to one Lord Verniers Alishe Someren, a historian of a nation for whom al Sorna is the ultimate villain – although as we read, we realise that sometimes the chronicler learns the true version and sometimes Vaelin omits crucial details that are somehow known only to the reader. In this regard Terence makes an interesting point how this format sucks the mystery and curiosity out of things when we know that somewhere in the future the main character is fine and doing well enough they can recount their massive tale in some fashion (right, Kvothe?).I could raise some points about the writing (or editing, especially when it comes to interpunction – this made my blood boil a couple of times) but overall the setting, characterisation of the protagonists and the dialogues are done superbly. The whole host of aspects, brothers and sisters in the Faith, the nobles, the soldiers, the people both from highest and lowest echelons of the society, connections and interactions between them, that was a sheer pleasure to read. The camaraderie is great. I am positively in love with Nortah (view spoiler)[He's been my favourite brother, even more likable and tragic than Vaelin. His issues go far beyond the very mundane “daddy didn't love me” trope. How hard it must have been for him to be sent away from home to dwell among people he has no reason to love or respect, only to lose his father to political machinations. (hide spoiler)] but Dentos and his many uncles, steadfast Barkus and pensive Caenis also won me over. There is also a romantic plot but it doesn’t dominate the design. The King (”it takes more than goodness to make a king”) is wonderfully Machiavellian while princess Lyrna (my favourite female protagonist) is as cold and untrustworthy as her father but also intuitive, beautiful and intelligent (”My only weapons are my wits, my face and the promise of power that lies in my womb.”) even though her sire is not entirely happy with this state of affairs (“What a burden to have an intelligent daughter. It goes against nature for wit to be bound in so much beauty.”).Conversations in this book are smart and double-edged, their edges sharp and honed as the best swords and equally dangerous. Verbal feints and parries are as excellent as those described during martial battles. At this point you are probably wondering wherein lies the problem with this novel. The problem is two-fold; it concerns worldbuilding and the character development. Obviously, religion is a huge factor in this world and it upsets me how little I know about it, even though it seems to be central to the whole socio-political system. This is one thing lamely done. It wouldn't have possibly bothered me had I not read the Paladin of Souls right before this novel. Mind you, Bujold “didn't get a Hugo for nothing”. Her world, world of the five gods, is also decisively religious with several aspects of life dictated by theology and the political intrigue determined along the sectarian lines and clashes. But there everything is explained: who believes in what and why it is the case. In what way the Quintarian religion differs from the Quadrene doctrine and why. What are the theological transgressions and their ramifications. Mr Ryan, to the contrary, presents a land where faith is crucial but never bothers to go into details. Honestly, the whole spiritual landscape can be summed up with a one-liner! I have only the vaguest notion of the precepts of the Faith, a somewhat more detailed picture of the clerical order (but not really), almost no history and no idea what is the sectarian strife all about. We are expected to take everything in blind faith (pun intended). All right, we know there are the Deniers, but what do they deny exactly and why? We know some people belong to “some minor sect” (which implies there are many), “possibly Ascendant, whatever that is” but we were never told what kind of creed it is and why is it blasphemous. We know that in one of the fiefs the religion is slightly different and allowed for quiet practice but not for proselytism but the differences are not explained properly, rather scattered in crumbs along the way that you need to piece together (the sloppy worldbuilding forced me to check the Raven’s Shadow Wiki more than once e.g. to sort out the orders and double-check other details). If you add to all of this the fact that the main protagonist is supposed to be a devout religious figure, the whole thing transforms into a grotesque. While Vaelin learns to fight and kill during his years in the order, his religious education seems to be terribly neglected. In fact, it is mentioned only once and in quite an ornamental fashion. Similar arguments have been raised against the Red Sister (although the ever wise Athena will explain this much better ) and I had a displeasure to experience similar issues when reading Grave Mercy.This is an appalling lack of worldbuilding and I cannot stop myself from poking into the holes. I have written it before: When you write a fantasy about the fey you research them so that you do not mistake the fey with the elves. You write about wizard wars, you develop your magic system with a painstaking detail. You go for the Arabian night styled story, again you do your research. Religion? Do your theology homework. Otherwise, the book does not make sense. It’s like somebody tried to write about the Thirty Years' War without bothering to explain what is so bloody different between the Catholics and the Protestants that makes them kill each other for it (on the side note: read The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict if you want to know). This is all connected with how effortlessly Vaelin carries on his own greatness and legend. For many pages, I have been resisting the garystuness conclusion because, especially at the beginning, the Author at least attempts to show that the boy is not a Sèvres model of perfection (to explain, you might not know that in the modest city of Sèvres the International Bureau of Weights and Measures is located, and it is where they keep the ideal model of the kilogram and the meter) e.g. by making him average in some disciplines or by showing how fake his legend is. Unfortunately, the end of the book left me with my internal special snowflake detector howling with rage and disappointment. Particularly that sometimes Vaelin sounds like a coaching guru (“an axe without a blade is just a stick”) and shines with the unexacting ability to dwarf everyone around him in all things. Additionally, there is the factor of doubts or crises embedded in the internal tensions every good character should experience (or rather lack of thereof in this case). (view spoiler)[I guess we were all waiting for the “I'm not your sister moment”, but aside of all other things, this one I found the most implausible. (hide spoiler)] A young, healthy male cannot be living like a mediaeval hermit monk (and even they were tempted if you read the accounts of The Desert Fathers!), without even a shred of doubt or breaking the tiniest sweat of internal wrestling unless they are a religious fanatic. But how can Vaelin be a religious fanatic when he devoted his whole life to killing religious fanatics who, in this book, are always a combination of pathology, evil and madness. Interesting no? And yet, this very simple reasoning does not have place in the novel nor are its ramifications considered. There are no spiritual struggles, two single moments of reflection whether or not Vaelin is a murderer, no reckoning with the past (view spoiler)[even though the initial “daddy issues” prove to be unfounded and since the father dies I reckon this chapter is closed (hide spoiler)] and an unwavering trust which I find inexplicable.With such feeble foundations, the ending was, unfortunately, the weakest part of the book. I have questions, more questions and seemingly, no answers: (view spoiler)[are all the dead souls bad? if not all are bad then do all have to fall prey to this evil entity? if the evil entity can take everyone with near-death experience, then why bother with the poor brother Barkus? why is he supposed to be the One not any other person? why did the evil entity try to kill Vaelin even when he was so young and untrained? why didn't Barkus do it later especially that their years spent in the state on near constant warfare must have given him plenty of opportunities? why is the evil One main aim to destroy the order (I understand it has been said that without the Order the Faith and the Realm will fall, but you need to admit that both the religion and the state must be particularly weak if that is the case; also the reason why the evil should aim at the least spiritual of the orders baffles me) and the whole silly prophecy business(hide spoiler)]. I could go on longer.Perhaps all my questions will be answered in the Tower Lord (I have been promised they will), however at this point I am not left with a feeling “OK, let us wait what transpires”, but with an “it doesn't add up” one. I like books that are written for intelligent readers, not for the patient ones (although it is not mutually exclusive of course). However, as I finished the Garden of the Moons, I keep finding that my expectations have been elevated to altogether different level. Nobody can say that GotM was nothing else but a dense teaser. And yet, even though I finished the last page of the Malazan opening starved for answers, it was not with the same impression of something wanting as it was in this case. And this surely affects my rating. Is the book good? Yes. Is it great? Not really. Solid but not sound. Should you read it? Absolutely. Will you like it? Blood will tell. Or sing.Also in the series: 2. Also in the series: 1. Tower Lord3. Queen of Fire RTC

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    2019-01-23 06:58

    Sale Alert 9/30/17: On Amazon for $2.99Re-read before Queen of Fire is released.Original Review September 20144.5 StarsThis Series is so hard to review...So Many Great Things Happened....Just Read It.Bloodsong is the journey of a boy into becoming a man with enough power to change the world. The majority of this books focuses on the bond built between brothers, bonds that can’t be broken no matter what you have done. It is hard to capture Bloodsong accurately in a review because it has a fully built world, characters and plot. Small mysteries and journeys lead to larger ones. The choices that Vaelin makes throughout his life are not all correct. He makes mistakes and sacrifices along the way and there were enough twists and turns that I was kept guessing the entire book.Vaelin is the son of a famous Warrior and healer. After the death of his mother Vaelin is taken to train with the Order where he gives up all ties to his family and land to become a brother of the 6th order and protector of the faith. The Aspect’s gaze was impassive but Vaelin knew he could read every thought in his boy’s head. He wondered later how many boys, dragged or tricked there by treacherous fathers, did run away, and if so, if they ever regretted it. Loyalty is our strength. “I wish to come in, please,” he told the Aspect. There were tears in his eyes but he blinked them away. “I wish to learn many things.”Vaelin’s journey in the order is a difficult one they are training warriors and he is an apt pupil, living through all the trails along the way.Never once did I question the man that Vaelin grew up to be because I journeyed through those years with him when he built bonds with his brothers in the Order and learned that the reasons he was brought to them might not be everything he thought they were. As every new layer is peeled away we see that maybe there is something dark lurking and waiting in the shadows as Vaelin has a destiny and there are some that do not want to see him make his way to it.Beral Shak Ur…”why do you call me that? I have a name of my own.”“Men such as yourself tend to collect names like trophies. Not all the names you’ll earn will be so kind.”There are so many things I liked about this story. First, it is told from the Present looking back on the past for most of it and as Vaelin tells his story you can’t wait to find out what happened to put him in the position he is in in the present. The narration escalated the intrigue over certain events by knowing the part of the end result.Second the world building is completely full and well-rounded with lands, religions, politics and so many meshed up cultures that it is hard not to get too caught up in all the details of it. The extra stories and lore all fit in and weave together so well. Third, there is a slight magic in tale, but I never found it overdone. There is a gradual realization of it instead of an abrupt “you have power and will rule the world muh-HA-Ha-ha-hA”. I really liked the hint of magic in the land and the promise of finding out more in later books.Finally, I loved the relationships that Vaelin had with those around him. The bonds between the brothers, the girl he loved and the very dangerous game he played with the King made him an extraordinarily easy character to like. He was never pompous or overconfident but made his choices and went on with them.I grew to really care for the characters in this world. Some of the scenes of war are a little horrific, but I think they should be. The story was complex, interesting and had enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I strongly recommend this to any Fantasy lover.

  • Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
    2019-01-24 05:13

    Trilogy Review: I thoroughly enjoyed the Raven’s Shadow Trilogy, especially the first book, Blood Song. It was easily a 5 star read and one of the best fantasies I’ve read since Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives. It focused on one character – Vaelin, and his coming of age story. Taking place in a school (one of my favorite settings) it offered a combative learning environment that honestly reminded me of Harry Potter adventures meets the medieval, gritty reality of Game of Thrones. The camaraderie that Vaelin formed with his fellow “brothers” was an excellent dynamic, one I wish had carried through the rest of the trilogy.After finishing the first book (and fangirling about it for a few days) I quickly became aware that people weren’t loving the second and third books nearly as much. I have a few theories as to why. The sequels are very different from the first one. What an author puts forth in initially is usually a promise to the reader of what’s to come and readers expect at least a bit of consistency of storytelling (which Ryan failed to deliver because his tale took off in a completely different direction).His story also went from a single point of view to multiple, bouncing around in a very Game of Thrones manner. I actually liked the different perspectives, each one adding a missing piece to the puzzle and written as well as Vaelin. Ironically, though, the passages involving Vaelin, the initial hero of the saga, became the least interesting… odd, right? The overall story arc remained the same, but everything built up in the first book got swept under the rug in favor of these other storylines.While I understand how this could lead to a lot of disappointment, I admit I enjoyed Tower Lord (book 2) almost as much as the first book. Heck, I even liked about 80% of Queen of Fire (book 3) save one chunk near the end where I was incredibly bored and found it difficult to get through… once I did though, I liked the ending.Overall, even though my personal experience with the series differs from the majority, I still think the consensus is that Blood Song is worth reading even if you don’t plan to continue on.Via The Obsessive Bookseller at

  • Gavin
    2019-01-03 07:58

    Finally! A book that lives up to the hype. Blood Song is the best debut epic fantasy I've read since The Name of the Wind was published in 2007. It had everything one could want in a book. Action, mystery, romance, intrigue, and plenty of surprises. The world building was good, the plot complex, and the various characters were full of depth and personality. This was a thoroughly exciting and enjoyable read. Anthony Ryan might just be making a case to join my quartet of all time fantasy favorites. High praise considering that list is Martin, Rothfuss, Lynch, and Sanderson.Rating:5 stars!Audio Note: Steven Brand was an adequate narrator. Competent but nothing special. Re-read 1/7/15 - Almost as good the second time around!

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2018-12-31 08:55

    Okay, "first off" I know some don't care for long reviews and sort of skip through just interested in the "bottom line" so to speak. I have a few things to say, but for you who want things boiled down to the my opinion, that's "In My Opinion" this is an excellent, even an exceptional book. I have moved it directly on to my favorites shelf. The only negative I have here is that the next volume isn't due out till July 2014. God willing and I'm still alive, healthy and solvent I plan to snap it up as soon as it's out. (Also God willing my dwindling time lasts through the entirety of this series).Clear? This seems to me a great book. That paragraph should help at least two groups of people. First those who find that more often than not they agree with my taste in books, second those who find that, "more often than not" they "disagree" with my taste in books.Now, for everybody else who'd like me to say a little about the book, here we go."Usually" a sure way to cause me to steer clear of a book is to call it a, "coming of age story". "Usually" these turn out to be emotionally soaked tomes of the struggles a youth has as he/she/it struggles into adulthood with it's pain and of course it's loves.But now and then there is a different take on any "type" of book. This one is definitely a "coming of age story".The book opens with a historian, scribe recording the story of The Hope Killer. The Hope was the heir to the Emperor's throne and the people loved him. He was slain by the North-man they call Hope Slayer, among other names. As The Hope Slayer begins to relate his story to our historian, we get the events told in flashback.I'm sure some will compare this to Rothfuss'King Killer Chronicle because it's told in the, "present vs. past" style of story telling. If I compared them I'd say then that this is what that series should be.Vaelin Al Sorna's mother has been dead for a while and life with his father, the King's Battle Lord hasn't been easy. Really it's just been, distant as he doesn't really know his father. Then one day his father has him pack a very little and takes him to a strange place, a barred guarded gate.Vaelin has been, "given to" the Sixth Order", soldiers who are defenders of, "The Faith".We will follow Vaelin Al Sorna and his Brothers as they grow in the Order. They will receive not so gentle training and become full Brothers of the Order or fail and be turned out with some coin or die in one of the tests.I won't even try for a synopsis as this is a long and nicely involved book and it's only flaw is that it ends. It's a long book yes, but I remained involved throughout. I took my time and savored this book and it's story.I repeat, I don't think I can recommend this one too highly.By the way, yes the book revolves a great deal around the "fantasy religions" of this world. None really resemble in detail Christianity, Shintoism etc. There are some aspects of these and other actual religions but none I think should offend anyone. I note this as I am a Christian and so are some of my friends here. I didn't find myself offended or subverted into some other form of belief and I don't think anyone else will be.So, back to the topic at hand I think this book will be one I'll try to reread before the next volume comes out.Of course now I'm having trouble finding a book to read as I liked this one so much...but there you go.A High 5 Stars and my highest recommendation. Enjoy.

  • Armina
    2018-12-31 06:08

    First re-read finished. Rating stays the same. Buddy re-read/read with a bunch of lovely friends at Sanctum of Fantasy group before book #3 comes out in the beginning of July. Want to join? :) We're starting on Monday, June 15th. Original Review, 31 August, 2014I'm surprised this is a debut novel. Believe the hype! Oh yes, the book has its flaws but I can't quite put my finger on them and they are certainly not enough to even make me knock off a half star down to 4.5 for the rating. It's full 5! What makes the book unputdownable is the scale and the intensity of the story. More Vaelin Al Sorna, please! Up to book #2. Full review to come eventually.

  • Choko
    2019-01-02 04:08

    *** 4.25 ***A Buddy read with the Fantasy Buddy Reads Group, where Fantasy Rules!!! "... “Knowledge is what shapes us, little brothers,” he told them, for once his smile was absent, his tone entirely serious. “It makes us who we are. What we know informs everything we do and every decision we make.” ..."The young man who was Vaelin Al Sorna, entered the Sixth Order when he was eleven years old and by the time he was in his early twenties he was known by many names, Darkblade, The Young Hawk, the Shadow of the Raven, and Hope Killer just some of them, with the last the one which defines him in the Empire the most. The son of a Battle-Lord of wide renown, he has a difficult time understanding why his newly widowed father would give him to the fighting religious order, where you are supposed to forget all outside ties to family and friends and live only for your Order and the Faith. He had not yet grieved for the loss of his loving, war-hating mother, when he has to cut his ties with his father and all he has known up to now. The Order puts its members through teaching, training and trials, turning out some harsh, strong and formidable individuals who once become full flagged members, are expected to obey the Aspect = Leader of the Order and the party line with no questions asked. "... “Choice is a lie. The greatest of lies.” ..."So, the story is told by a historian of the Empire, who has custody of our young warrior after he has been imprisoned for five years. He ask questions and Vaelin tells him the story the way he wants, but we get to know the true action as it really developed from Vaelin's memories... There are discrepancies between both, since some of the things he doesn't want anyone else to know, thus he doesn't tell them to the historian. To a degree, this takes away some of the worry for the main character, since we know he is telling the story, but that is all we know and we are also aware, that in the moment he is telling his tale, he is in active danger. Trust me, there is plenty to keep you on your toes. "... “I knew a man once,” Al Sorna continued, “who loved a woman very much. But he had a duty to perform, a duty he knew would cost him his life, and hers too if she stayed with him. And so he tricked her and had her taken far away. Sometimes that man tries to cast his thoughts across the ocean, to see if the love they shared has turned to hate, but he finds only distant echoes of her fierce compassion, a life saved here, a kindness done there, like smoke trailing after a blazing torch. And so he wonders, does she hate me? For she has much to forgive, and between lovers,” his gaze switched from her to me, “betrayal is always the worst sin.” ..."This is a story of growth, betrayal, Faith, disillusionment, love, and even more so, understanding of what life is and how cheep or dear it could be... Our hero goes through all the growing pains a young person does, only we see it and we feel for him, because as jaded and imperfect as he turns out to be, there is a core of honor and good will which is strong inside of him, an idealism which is just looking for a reason to awake again and fight for a better world. And in the ugliness of the world he is subjected to, I am amazed he still finds a way to not lose himself among the scum of the Earth... "... “Time is as much a delusion as your faith, brother. To look into the void is to see the vastness and smallness of everything at once, in an instant of terror and wonder.” ..."For it to be a good character-driven book, we need a good supporting cast and boy do we get it! From his brothers in the Order, to the healer sisters, from the lowest of the low, to the royal family, which is not necessarily a big jump if you ask me. Frentis happens to be my favorite and I hope I see much more of him, together with Scratch and Spit:) What can I say, I love animals:):):) Overall, I think if you like a Fantasy-Adventure with some possible paranormal powers and royal and religious intrigue, this is a very good book for you! I know I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. "... “It is the lessons we learn that change us from boys to men.” ..."Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you Need in the pages of a Good Book!

  • David Sven
    2019-01-11 11:59

    This is, without a doubt, my favourite book of the year so far. This is High Fantasy that is contemporary while still hitting a sweet spot for me with the mix of magic and battle.The story was engaging, the plot was well paced, the protagonist was flawed but likeable, the prose was polished. I can't believe this a debut novel. I don't place too much faith in goodreads rating system, but when we are approaching 15000 ratings with an average of 4.56 as of today - that says something about the quality of this book.“I’ll fight but I won’t murder. His boyhood resolve coming back to him, the promise he had made to himself after saving them in the wild. I’ll kill men who face me in battle but I won’t take the sword to innocents. It felt so hollow now, so naïve.” Many before me have commented on how this book has some striking, (though arguably superficial), similarities to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (review) - so I think I can best talk about this book by contrasting the two. If you haven't read The Name of the Wind don't fret - even having read that book I couldn't tell you what it was about in less than three days anyway.Similarities1. Both stories written from a single POV.2. Both stories employ a framing device whereby a Chronicler writes down the life story as recounted to them by the hero.3. Both stories are about the coming of age and rise to badassdom of a legend.Differences1. Kvothe's story in NotW is told in the first person while Vaelin's story (our protagonist) is told in the third person2. In Blood Song the framing device is done setting up in the Prologue and we are straight into the main story in Chapter one. In The Name of the Wind, the Chronicler takes a veeeery long time to even show up to begin Kvothe's story.3. In Blood Song, it seems clear that the framing device will end with this book as the events catch up to Vaelin's time with the Chronicler - while in The Name of the Wind the framing device continues into book two and seems will continue into book 3.4. This book, Vaelin arrives at the religious order where he begins his warrior/martial training by Chapter One. Kvothe arrives at the university to learn magic after a loooong looong time.5. Kvothe in The Name of the Wind is/becomes the best at most everything he puts his hand to. This book, Vaelin becomes the best swordsman in the order. He is not the best at other things“Vaelin knew himself to be the best swordsman among them. Dentos was master of the bow, Barkus unarmed combat, Nortah the finest rider and Caenis knew the wild like a wolf, but the sword was his.” As I said, the similarities are superficial, making the differences more obvious. The other difference is that The Name of the Wind is to my mind superior storytelling as compared to Blood Song which I feel is a better story. The Name of the Wind has superior immersion, as compared to Blood Song which has an actual plot and a perfectly paced one for my liking.So which of the two books do I prefer? For me The Name of the Wind still edges this one out because I could sit and listen to that all day long and when I'm finished I could start over right away - while with this book, though the story is better, and I'm going straight onto the second book in the series, now I've read and know the story, I don't feel a pressing need to read it again - that will undoubtedly change when the final book comes out.For those who were unimpressed with The Name of the Wind, for those who despised the all too perfect Kvothe, Blood Song is most definitely the book for you. This book is everything you wished NotW to be but wasn't. All the complaints you made about Kvothe are addressed in Vaelin. Kvothe is a Clayton's Vaelin - or rather, Vaelin is a better Kvothe.The audio narration by Steven Brand was very good, though his quiet spoken voice was difficult to hear if there was any background noise.I loved this story from start to finish and was loathe to hit the pause button on the Audible app when inconvenient interruptions arose - like sleep and going to the toilet. This one gets an easy...5 stars

  • Liviu
    2018-12-31 08:57

    Once in a while a book comes out of nowhere and blows me away; last year it was the indie sf Dancing with Eternity, this year it's Blood Song, a traditional fantasy in many ways but with a narrative pull that is just unbelievable - last time I read a fantasy debut with this pull, it was in 2007 when Name of the Wind appeared and while there are notable differences in content, with this one much more traditional than Rothfuss' series, there are a few similarities there too - while getting a lot of other things right from tone, to structure, to general world building that has both space and extendability so you do not feel the usual "sandbox, everything local is known" common to many secondary world fantasies today.I plan a full review for next week and I am rereading the book also as I want to stay in its universe more, while quite a few early details are better appreciated on a second or later reading.I will only note that while starting as an indie novel/series, Raven's Shadow has been bought by Penguin Books (Ace/Roc) and will be published in print too starting next year most likely with Blood Song, and the author is working hard at the sequel (Tower Lord) which may or may not see an indie publication or just be first published by Penguin.Blood Song ends at a good point and at the equivalent of ~600 pages offers a complete reading experience, so even if Tower Lord does not come out until say 2014 assuming the usual traditional publishing time frames, get it now and read it, whether you are a series completist or someone like myself who loves open series... Full FBC Review (with Mihir) at the link below:

  • Conor
    2018-12-25 10:54

    4.5Blood song by Anthony Ryan is a great new work of epic fantasy. It was released independently a few years ago and since then has built up a huge amount of buzz, made all the more impressive by it's lack of support. Because of this background I really wanted to like this book. Conveniently the complex characters and intriguing plot made liking it easy. Also the gratuitous violence. FTW.The main character of this book is Vaelin Al Sorna who at the beginning of the story we see as a captive on his way to a duel which will likely end in his death. His captors fear and revile him as 'Hope killer'. Vaelin narrates his life story to his historian and jailor who gradually becomes more and more enthralled. His story starts when he is 10, abandoned at the door of the training ground of the 6th order, Secretive and deadly warrior priests. From here we chart his journey from abandoned boy to legendary hero. Vaelin dominates this book both in his POV chapters and in the few chapters from his biographer. Because of this the book is largely dependant on how sympathetic and interesting he is. I found Vaelin to be a really cool and likable character. He is pretty much a straightforward fantasy protagonist albeit with a few shades of moral ambiguity thrown in. One of my favourite aspects about war films or anything that deals with people who regularly operate in violent, dangerous situations is the camaraderie that develops between these guys. As a result Vaelin's interactions with his 'brothers' were easily some of my favourite parts of this book. I also liked how we saw Vaelin's skills gradually improve over long years of intense training rather than miraculously appear over a short period of time as sometimes happens in fantasy. Instead of a quickly glossed over Rocky-style training montage Ryan masterfully brings to life the exhausting, painful process that turns a young boy into a deadly warrior.On the downside I never really felt that Vaelin's voice as a character developed from when he was 10 to in his mid 20's. Even as a kid Vaelin sounded like an adult. I also thought it was kind of weird that throughout the series Vaelin hardly acknowledges the fact that as a warrior-priest he is apparently banned from having sex. I mean loads of the plot occurs while he is a teenager and a young man and yet he only ever mentions sex in passing, usually while with a beautiful woman. You'd think that as a testosterone fuelled killing machine banned from sex his interactions with women would be limited to blurting out 'boobies!' at the start of every conversation. The cast of character's is dominated by Vaelin's brothers. Unlike Vaelin many of them (especially Nortah) underwent a good bit of character development. I especially liked the way they begin to manifest combat skills that compliment Vaelin's. Instead of always being best at everything Vaelin is shown to excel as a swordsman and leader while his friends are better in other ways. The way their backstories are slowly revealed is pretty cool as well. Sister Sherin played an important role as Vaelin's love interest and the contrast between healing and killing it produced was interesting. Another standout was King Janus. Despite being a ruthless, manipulative, war-mongering wanker he is also shown to be a great king. This ambiguity made him a really interesting antagonist. I really hope he isn't revealed to be some pawn of the forces of evil as this would turn him into a completely stereotypical evil king rather than an illustration of the necessary evils required to rule a kingdom in a realistic setting. (view spoiler)[ Edit after reading book 2: In the sequel it's implied he was an unwitting pawn of the forces of evil all along and a lot of the moral ambiguity that made him great in this book was undermined, which was really disappointing. I'm still holding out hope he'll be redeemed somewhat in book 3 though(hide spoiler)].The plot was for the most part interesting and well written. Vaelin's brutal training was engaging and showed us how he developed into a deadly warrior and instigated much of his character growth and personal contemplation, however I thought the extra-curricular adventures he got into at every opportunity seemed kind of forced. I mean over 5 years he leaves the academy like 3 times and each time he meets important characters and/or gets involved in events that have a profound effect on his outlook and shape world politics. Also for a novel that emphasises war and violence I thought the sword-fights and battles were diasappointing. Every fight Vaelin gets in he wins quickly and easily. (view spoiler)[ this made his fight in the arena with the 'deadly' former 6th order brother kind of ridiculous as he was defeated as quickly as a random rapist and murderer and produced something of an anti-climactic ending with the shield.(hide spoiler)]The hints of dark forces at work were really cool and added an intriguing sense of mystery. I also liked how the book dealt with both the physical and psychological horrors of war in an intelligent and uncompromising way without being preachy. Perhaps my favourite plot point in this whole book was the invasion of the Alpiran empire. This was a really cool subversion of a typical fantasy storyline with the 'good guy' nation launching an unprovoked war of conquest against a peaceful neighbour. Janus' motivations, which he revealed to Vaelin to try and persuade him to take part in the war, added a further layer of political and moral complexity that made the situation even more compelling.(view spoiler)[ I'm really stingy with my 5 star rating but this book would definitely have gotten one... if it wasn't for the Barkus reveal at the end. Essentially it turns out that the dark lord of all evil has been controlling one of Vaelin's closest friends pretty much all along. They've fought, eaten, slept and hung out together pretty much 24/7 for about 15 years by this point and yet in all this time no one has noticed something is off with Barkus and he hasn't had the opportunity to kill or bodysnatch(which is apparently super easy) Vaelin who is seemingly going to be the champion of goodness. In addition to being a pretty big plot hole this reveal destroyed the 'band of brothers' relationship between Vaelin and his friends that I loved so much in this book. I really wanted to give this book 5 stars but that reveal left a sour taste, especially about one of my favourite aspects of this book, so I ultimately only gave it 4. Edit after reading book 2: Nothing new was really added about this in book 2, which was disappointing.(hide spoiler)]Overall this was an exciting, well-paced debut by a really promising author. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his work.

  • Kaora
    2018-12-28 11:47

    I had heard a lot of good things about this series but I felt that I went into it thinking it was going to be a three star at best I believe because it has been compared to Name of the Wind, a book that I enjoyed that was subsequently ruined by its sequel The Wise Man's Fear.Blood Song is told in a similar manner. The story is told from the perspective of the main character Vaelin Al Sorna after the events have occurred. He is telling his story to a scribe who has heard the stories of the Hopekiller as he is known, but they are exaggerated. The events start with Vaelin's placement in the Sixth Order by his father, where he learns to become a warrior for the Faith.Name of the Wind is also told from the point of view of the main character to other characters, and begins with his schooling life. But I feel like that is where the similarities end thankfully.Rather than being great at everything (like Kvothe) Vaelin admits his weaknesses, and his faults. He feels a lot of guilt about his actions in the heat of battle. This often comes off as whiny, but in this case I felt it was fairly well done. He was likable enough as a character, although there wasn't a whole lot unique about him.However, the world building and the story itself more than made up for the character flaws. The author is new to the fantasy genre, and I'm excited to see where he can go.

  • Celeste
    2019-01-18 07:04

    Full review now posted!There’s just something about school stories, be they wizarding schools or battle schools or even schools based in reality, that always just works for me.I’ve always loved learning, and I love learning vicariously through others, even if the subject matter has no practical application. This is why Hogwarts will always feel like home, and why Battle School and all it inflicted on Ender Wiggin will always resonate for me, no matter how many times I visit. I’ve found another school that resonates, and that’s the within the cloister of the Sixth Order.Vaelin Al Sorna is delivered to the Sixth Order when he is still just a boy of ten. The masters are harsh and the lessons are harsher, but Vaelin flourishes here. He builds a family from the boys in his training group; a band of brothers, if you will. And those brothers and the deep bond they have with one another is the heart of this story. And the person who keeps that heart beating is Vaelin, their leader and brother and the best of their friends. And Vaelin is aided in his leadership by the blood song, the otherworldly intuition that seems to course through his veins and direct his path, though sometimes Vaelin refuses to heed its cry.This book reminded me of two other series I’ve read in the past: The Kingkiller Chronicles and A Song of Ice and Fire. As in The Kingkiller Chronicles, we have an incredibly interesting and infamous individual as a protagonist, and we have a framework surrounding the story, this frame being that said protagonist is dictating the true story of their life to a chronicler. Both Vaelin and Kvothe are fascinating characters, who endure much and accomplish much at a young age. Although I enjoyed The Name of the Wind slightly more than Blood Song, I have much more respect for Vaelin. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across another central character in a fantasy novel with more empathy and loyalty and selflessness than Vaelin. I was blown away by his character development.What reminded me so much of A Song of Ice and Fire in this novel was the magic system. By which I mean that there wasn’t really a system. The magic was mysterious and feared by many, and was never explained in the novel. This made the magic feel ancient and wild, and like it was a foundational element of the created world but alien to the people of that world. I absolutely love unexplained and wild magic, so this was incredibly appealing to me. The users of the Dark - or the Gifted, depending on your point of view - were born with their power, and learned to either nurture, abuse, or ignore that gift depending entirely on themselves and their personalities and situations. I believe that if magic really did exist on Earth, it would resemble this more closely that any learned magic system.For the first 65% or so of the book, I truly believed that this would be a 5 star book for me, and would take up residence on my favorites shelf. But the last third of the book really dragged for me, focusing too much (for my taste) on war campaigns and sieges than the character development I had loved so much in the first half of the book. I’m not trying to be sexist, but I kept feeling like I would’ve enjoyed the novel so much more had a been male. My friend Petrik (who adored this book) told me that this book partially inspired Red Sister, which I loved, and that Lawrence’s take appealed more to women. I have to agree, though I think that Blood Song has some of the best central character development I’ve ever experienced.Because I haven’t heard good things about the rest of this series, I will be treating Blood Song as a standalone. If you’re a fan of coming-of-age stories, training schools, and incredible character development, I think you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of the aforementioned offerings as well as warfare and the ins and outs of battle campaigns, I can’t recommend Blood Song highly enough.Original review can be found at Booknest.

  • Emma
    2019-01-11 05:03

    Almost everyone has high praise for this book, it's often cited as a favourite. It is also often compared to In the Name of the Wind, which I didn't like.I didn't particularly take to Blood Song although it seemed well written. I actually found it a bit slow and boring.

  • Tessy Nightblood Ijachi
    2019-01-14 04:49

    This book really messed with my emotions. I will admit I tossed and turned all night after finishing this book, I have never felt so anxious after finishing a book. It all felt so real. And that ending, goodness gracious, am literally holding myself back so as to not start the second book immediately.”Raven’s shadow sweeps across my heart,Freezes the torrent of my tears.”I foundrally been reading this book since last year, to say am disappointed in myself woukd be an understatement but am glad I was able to combat my slump to complete this book.The story was told all from Vaelin’s perspective but I got to see the different personalities of all the other characters. Am so glad the author didn't make him the best at everything, he had his faults and trials.“An axe without a blade is just a stick.”World building The world building was pretty strong, there were different empires, cities, cultures and religions. This book focuses in religion the most, people can be seen literally killing other people that do not believe in their faith or beliefs. The empires were so unique, especially with the way locations were changed, I could still tell them apart. The author was able to bring the world to life, an image of each city/location vividly locked in my mind.Magic system To be honest, I did not expect a magic system but it does seem to exist though few people are aware about it and they all have different opinions about it. Some think of it as a taboo while others think it's a blessing. This was quite an interesting mix.Am quite surprised by the way the blood-song was potrayed. It was genius, I wasn't expecting that at all. It's unlike anything I've seen before and I hope I get to know more about it in the next book.Writing The writing was great, I loved it. Easy to read and understand, sometimes amusing.The battle scenes were written so vividly, it kept me on the edge of my seat. The dialogues were also well written.CharactersVaelin Has the most character growth/development. I loved him as a lead character, I got to witness his weaknesses, strengths, good and bad decisions.(view spoiler)[The worst decision he ever made was playing into the king’s hand. I was literally screaming no, such a painful moment but the thing with Vaelin is when he makes a bad decision, he usually has a good reason. (hide spoiler)]Nortah He started off as a really spoilt brat but as time passed, I got to see more of him. His character really developed as well and he ended up being one of my favourites.Frentis When he was first introduced, I honestly thought he wouldn't last but to my surprise, he did. I love Frentis, his use of slangs and his loyalty.DentosThe most entertaining of the bunch, I really love when he talks about his many uncles, I felt bad for him at some point.Barkus The revelation about him was jaw dropping, I was so shocked. That's all I have to say about him.“Hope is the heart of the Faith. Abandonment of hope is a denial of the Faith.”I recommend this book to people looking for a fantasy with lots of action and battle.

  • Lee
    2019-01-16 12:01

    Ye Gods that was a ride and a half. I must say, given that I usually have at least 3 books on the go at any one time, it is very rare for me to completely ignore all else and just plough through one. I like being able to have a change whilst reading, but I have to say, once I was into Blood Song, that was it. I listened to this on audio in the car, on the tread mill, sitting on a plane for 2 hours, stuck in a Sydney traffic jam for 3 hours (first traffic jam that i didn't get frustrated with), ordering coffee, drinking said coffee and I even admit to slipping the headphones in whilst visiting the toilet. Probably just crossed that 'too much information line'. So what makes Blood Song unputdownable? Characters? Action? world building? plot? magic system? No, none of them, it is the sheer intensity of the story. There is no respite, it just keeps going at you the whole time. There is no rest, no ad break for a toilet stop (as I have already pointed out). It is like the last two minutes of a close footy match, or a 2 runs down with bases loaded, bottom of the ninth 2 and 3 call. There never seems a good time to stop the story and come back to it. I find that unusual in almost all of the books I read.What makes this story unusual is that the characters are ok, there is some development, but there is no Logan Ninefingers or Iskareal Pust or even a brother Jorge character depth. The plot is straight forward, no hidden twists or surprises. The world is fantasy generic and the magic is....... I have no idea what the magic is, I think the author forgot to explain that bit, maybe in the next book. It is the sheer pace of the story that makes me give this 5 stars. I cannot wait to read the next book, but had to put something in between as I have a long haul flight coming up and I fancy my chances of 8 hours of straight audio for book 2. Immigration will be looking at a deer in headlights look.I am definitely recommending this one. Anyone who has enjoyed First Law, Riyria, Way of Kings, Locke Lamora, Prince of Thorns, Shattered Crown, Kingkiller etc will enjoy this. In writing that list of books above, it makes me realise just how many great great authors we are blessed with at the moment eh? It is a great time to be a fan of fantasy (especially those of us who enjoy are slightly darker edge to fantasy)

  • Will M.
    2018-12-29 05:15

    The whole book is 624 pages long but honestly it felt like 1000. I read for an hour and realized after that I just read merely 50 pages. I've read way longer books than this (The Stand, 1400+ pages) and that book felt just as long as this. It's honestly the format and style of the novel. The words are smaller than usual and the spacing makes it look like a can of sardines. Also there aren't much breaks between sentences so it's basically a whole page with one freakin' long paragraph. I hate freakin' long paragraphs because I tend to lose interest and get distracted. No matter how interesting your story is, as long as you have paragraphs as long as the great wall of China, I'm going to get distracted. While the format of the novel was a slight issue to me, it didn't completely hinder my enjoyment of the novel, and let's not get started on the grammar issue since everyone seems to have tackled on that issue already. What it did help accomplish though was that I read this for almost a month. Just one book, for almost a month. Even despite my busy schedule I could read a book in a week or two, and the size of this isn't really a valid excuse. Blame the format, not the plot.What really stands out for me is the fact that this is a coming-of-age/Fantasy novel. I like it when I read about the journey of a young kid turning into an adult, especially in a Fantasy setting. While the length of the novel is daunting, I can assure you that it really helps with the character development. It's the strongest asset of this novel. The plot can have second place this time. The transition of Vaelin from a weak lad to a powerful soldier is truly astonishing. It was proficiently done and the other characters didn't get neglected. (view spoiler)[ Well except for Barkus. I really hated what the author did. It diminished all the character development done for him.(hide spoiler)] If we're talking about how interesting the characters are and potentially be main characters, then this can compare to A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm that interested and invested in the series.The plot is quite similar to some Fantasy novels I've read, or at least the backbone of the plot is. It's not a big deal because all the side plots are terrific and the ending has a bit of a surprise. I should call this a page turner, but the long-ass paragraphs is making me think otherwise. Overall though, the plot is really good and more people should read this novel. I will not compare this to The Name of the Wind because I didn't enjoy that book. I know some of the aspects are similar, but in my opinion this is way superior. I tried to read this novel twice before and failed both times, stopping at around page 50 because I got bored with it and the size intimidated me. This time though I told myself that if I don't read it now, I'll probably end up putting it off forever. Thankfully I'm back on my Fantasy craze and read it. This is clearly not a perfect novel, but that doesn't mean that it isn't great. I've read better Fantasy novels and unfortunately the more you read of a certain genre, the more critical you become when rating and evaluating the novel. If I read this before The First Law Trilogy, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Demon Cycle, etc, then I might have enjoyed this way better and given it a 5-star rating. Sadly right now the best I can do without being biased is giving it a 4.5, but sadly rounded down. While the characters here will clearly leave a mark, that certain aspect isn't enough to make me give it the 5-star rating. I encountered too many flaws and some cannot be overlooked. I will be honest and say that I might not be rereading this in the future, because I don't want to spend another 2 weeks or more reading this again. I heard that the next two books are garbage compared to this, but hopefully I'd have a different opinion. This is one of those books that defies the majority of my goodreads friends at least. I've read mixed reviews of this and it's a good thing that I'm part of the few who really enjoyed this. Highly recommended for Fantasy aficionados and those who enjoy a good coming of age story.

  • Rob
    2019-01-17 09:08

    Executive Summary: I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it.Audio book: I'm a little torn on the narration. Steven Brand is a pretty good narrator. He does accents and inflections to really add something to the story. However, he's so DAMN QUIET. It seemed like he was whispering half the time. I'm not sure if it's him or simply the quality of the production, but it seems like it's just the way he reads.I listen to audiobooks on my phone. Sometimes with headphones, sometimes with the speaker, sometimes plugged into my car. I find audiobooks to be too quiet in general, but this was a real struggle in places.To me he's more of the type of person I'd love to listen to tell me a story around a campfire than over an audiobook. Yet he's still better than a lot of readers out there and I'll likely continue going the audiobook route with this series despite the volume issue.Full ReviewWriting reviews for books I love goes one of two ways: They either come gushing out of me because I'm so excited to share my love with everyone, or I struggle to put my thoughts into words, afraid of not doing the book justice. I worry this will be more of the latter than the former.I generally don't give out 5 star ratings. I like to save them for books I really love so it's a sign that "hey Rob must have really liked this one". I don't exactly have a metric for what pushes a 4/4.5 star book to 5 star rating. It just sort of by feel.The easiest way for me to quantify it though is that it's a book that I hate to stop and can't wait to pick up again. This book was easily that. It was also an easy add to my favorites shelf.This book didn't grab me immediately, but pretty close. Once it did it never let go. It's hard to say why I loved it so much. It's a typical chosen one story. It's also got a bit of the school trope to it, though that's only part of the book.At first it reminds me a lot of The Name of the Wind. Our main protagonist is an infamous man whose collected numerous names over the years, and is recounting his life story to a chronicler as a flashback, with occasional interludes back to present day. Sound Familiar?However this basic structure is really where the similarity ends for me. Vaelin is a paladin (or maybe warrior monk?), where Kvothe is a bard (at least in my mind). He's far from perfect, and was instantly more likable to me.I think what really hooked me in the story is the mystery and lore. There is a lot to discover in both the history of the Order that Vaelin is now a member, but also surrounding magic, regarded with superstition, anger and fear and referred to by most as "The Dark". The magic is sort of not that prevalent for most of the book, nor all that well explained, but I enjoyed how Mr. Ryan incorporated it into the story.The other thing I really enjoyed is all the politics and religion. Religion and politics are tightly coupled and "The Faith" of the Order is embedded in the rule of the Unified Realm. Like the real world arguments over religion and politics lead to conflict and war.King Janus is determined to leave a legacy for his son, and will use Vaelin how he sees fit to accomplish it.The cast of characters felt well developed and balanced. Coming from different backgrounds and parts of the realm, Vaelin and his brothers make for an interesting group, each excelling at certain skills honed through training rather than just excelling at EVERYTHING. We also have a few strong female characters, although they don't really take center stage in this book.Overall I think this book just put a lot of my favorites parts of fantasy tropes together in a way that just hits my buttons in the right way and made it a great read for me. The writing seems really polished for a first novel. I'm sure there are things that can be picked apart about the story or the writing, but I just don't want to hear them. I will end my ramblings hoping that I have I have convinced you to check out this series. I had people telling me over a year ago to pick this book up, and I wish I had listened. It took getting a review copy of Tower Lord to finally pick it up and I've eagerly jumped right into that book.You made it through my ramblings? Why are you still reading this review? You should be reading the book instead. Seriously. Go now.

  • Liz* Fashionably Late
    2019-01-04 09:06

    Re-read: July 2015 5 StarsEven better than the first time. -------------------------4.5 StarsThe song is me, my blood, my need, my hunt.Blood Song is the promise of a seriously kick-ass trilogy. Rich storytelling, beautiful prose, fast paced, amazing character development, among other things.First time we meet Vaelin Al Sorna he's a 10 year old kid who's just lost his mother and is sent to the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith, to be trained in the art of war. The last time we see him, he's a strong, loyal and brave man who's been through war, hunger, massacre, schemes and lies, Darkness and Faith, someone who's loved and lost and now as a prisoner of war, is not even near the end of his journey.The narrative Mr Ryan choose was so good. The little breaks we've got with Vernier's POV were a breath of fresh air. He had kindled something in me, the desire to write another story, grater and richer...The trainings and tests were incredibly compelling and those scenes were very well executed. The bond between Vaelin and his brothers is one of the strong points in this book, Frentis being one of the most interesting additions. The evolution of their relationship from little kids just playing with wood swords to skillful warriors looking for each other was impressive.The funny and heartfelt scenes were magnificently balanced, the tragedy and fantasy elements tangled in a captivating way. I really enjoyed his story with Sister Sharin but can't wait to see him working with Princess Lyrna. I think there's so much more about her to discover and it's exciting just to think of the possibilities."She raised her face to the sky, closing her eyes as the sun warmed her skin. “I am.” “You speak dangerous words, Highness.” She smiled, her eyes still closed. “Only to you.” And of course, the mystery behind the Aspect's Massacre and the legends about the Seventh is something I'm so eager to learn. “There’s something growing. A threat, a danger, something that threatens us all. I’ve felt it for a long time, although it’s only now I realise it."As I said, this book said nothing but everything at the same time. The multiple layers of mystery absorb the reader's attention since page one and it continues till the very end. It's the best way to introduce us in a wonderful world with the legendary presence of the Hope Killer."Wanting is nothing. Destiny is everything.""I'll chose my own fate.""Choice is a lie. The greatest of lies"Amazing buddy read with Tanya (: We did it!

  • Penny
    2019-01-09 10:50

    Simply put, this book is awesome. It's hard to believe it's a debut novel as it lacks the tell tale signs. It's well written with a great set of characters, an interesting world with many interesting belief systems and a great magic system. These all come together with great pacing to tell a fantastic story that spans years and leaves you desperate for more. I had to start the second book the second I finished it :)I couldn't put it down and was late to more than one engagement, but happily I have friends who understand what it is to be unable to leave the world of your book. I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking to read an excellent fantasy book.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-01-12 05:05

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum story of Blood Song is about a young boy who trains and grows up to become a leader and one of the greatest warriors in the kingdom. It's a tried-and-true formula in epic fantasy which by all rights I should be sick to death of by now, but Anthony Ryan manages to pull it off without making me feel like I'm getting the same old, same old.Take how the book starts, for example, opening on an encounter between a scribe and a prisoner who is being transported across the sea to answer for his crimes. A duel to the death is the only end left for Vaelin al Sorna, also known as "Hope Killer". With a sobriquet like that, I couldn't help but wonder at his character, but I was also intrigued by his soft spokenness and eloquence. More puzzling is the fact that everyone seems to be treating him with respect and deference, in spite of his chains.Vaelin's story is recounted by the scribe, a mode of storytelling which is not uncommon even outside other mediums of fantasy, but in this case it is deftly executed, providing a deeply immersive experience for the reader. As a child, the main character is sent to the Sixth Order to train in the martial ways of the Faith. It's a harsh life fraught with peril, as Vaelin and his peers are driven relentlessly by their instructors to learn everything from doctrine and history, to survival methods or ways to wield a sword. In general, I'm not a big fan of this trope. More often than not, I find the training and "growing up" phase of the hero's story to be the most tedious part, and so I'm usually looking forward to getting it over with. Not so with Blood Song, though. Imagine my surprise when these sections of the book turned out to be the most rewarding aspect. I loved reading about Vaelin's experiences in the Sixth Order, especially some of the more challenging trials. I very much enjoyed the bonds he shared with his fellow brothers of the Faith, the fact that any conflicts between the boys are negated by the knowledge that they are all in this together. In fact, I liked this section a lot more than the later parts of the book, in which we see Vaelin go off to fight big battles and become embroiled in political plots and magic. Normally that would be the kind of stuff I live for in my epic fantasy, so you can see just how much I enjoyed the first half of the novel to consider it my favorite. Not that the second half is a slouch -- I think most people would find it more interesting, actually. For myself, I just couldn't help but develop a soft spot for Vaelin back when he was just a boy, when he still retained some of his innocence.As you've probably guessed, I have nothing but good things to say about the portrayal of Vaelin and the other characters in this novel. You will see the relationships forged early on between him and his brothers evolve as they face their hardships together year after year. And when enemies become friends or friends become enemies, the transformations are both a surprise but also believable. Vaelin himself is a good and honorable person, and his desire to transcend the expectations of his order and be a better person for those around him is an engrossing study into the themes of sacrifice, morals and personal beliefs. Highly recommended. I can just imagine the thrilled reactions of readers who picked this book up back when it was still independently published. A gem like this doesn't come along every day, and I'd say it stands out even beside some of the major epic fantasy novels today.