Book Review: Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan

About the Book:

Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1)

“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.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a friend. I must admit that I was completely blown away.

The story is spell-binding and very well-written, a tale like no other. It begins with a present day account of the goings-on. We are introduced to the main protagonist, Vaelin Al Sorna, who is being taken to the Meldenean Islands as a prisoner. After this account, we are given a glimpse into his childhood and how he came to be a brother of the Sixth Order. This is followed by the story divided into parts, with each part telling the tale of a specific plot line. The reader is introduced to a myriad of characters, a Realm known to follow the Faith and those who do not and the King of the Realm. The characters are interesting, very well crafted and play vital roles in this story.

At the beginning, the story was a little confusing and difficult to follow, but on continuing on, the plot slowly became clearer and clearer. The author tells us tales of war, of power and of plans that seem to be so intricately woven, that noone can understand them. Something is at play in the shadows and not even the reader is privy to what it is. The author handles this intricate plot very well, revealing just enough information to ensure that the book is a page turner until the end. Be prepared to deal with the gore of the battles as they are brutal and the author does a lot of justice with his descriptions.

This is just the first book in the series following Vaelin as he plows through the Tests of the Order, a place that trains and brings up assassins, deals with the battles, all the while trying to understand what his true purpose is. Some of it is indeed revealed in this book, but only enough to ensure that the reader is left hungry for more. With such a strong plot line, I cannot wait to see where the story goes in the next books!

This is definitely a must-read for fans of fantasy fiction!

Book Review: The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

I was provided with a review copy by Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review. Read on to know what I thought of the book.

About the Book:

The Family Gathering (Sullivan's Crossing #3)

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

My Thoughts:

The Family Gathering is the third book in the Sullivan’s Crossing series. It focuses on Dakota, bringing out his story and relationship with his siblings. As complicated as his life has been, we are given glimpses into the past of the siblings’ which helps us understand their personalities. The romance that develops slowly between Dakota and Sid, seems to change both of them slowly, forcing Sid to start trusting again.

The story consists of a number of mini plots, focussing on each of the siblings and their lives at that moment. This takes away the focus from the main plot and reduces the impact of the whole story. Though the characters are developed, some of their personality traits come off as annoying, like how Dakota is initially rather cocky and arrogant and then miraculously he changes. Though the story is a decent read in the romance genre, there seems to be too much happening with no specific plot line being given more importance. Somewhere along the way, we find that Dakota is on a path of self-discovery and understanding, developing a better relationship with his siblings and making the effort to understand them and just be there for them.

I found the book to be alright, not exceptional, but a light read that helps to pass the time.