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: Her Sister’s Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1) by Ashley Farley

About the Book:

Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)

Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Packed with Southern charm and memorable characters

Her Sister’s Shoes is the story of three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.

Samantha Sweeney has always been the glue that holds her family together, their go-to girl for love and support. When an ATV accident leaves her teenage son in a wheelchair, she loses her carefully constructed self-control.

In the after-gloom of her dreaded fiftieth birthday and the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, Jackie realizes she must reconnect with her former self to find the happiness she needs to move forward.

Faith lacks the courage to stand up to her abusive husband. She turns to her sisters for help, placing all their lives at risk.

In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior?

My Thoughts:

My Sister’s Shoes focuses on the lives and relationships of three sisters and their mother. A story about love, family, secrets and trust, the three sisters are forced to be true to themselves and each other as they try to balance their careers and families. They learn to lean on each other and connect with each other like they never did before. As we encounter the problems each one of them face, we come to know a little more behind some of the carefully constructed masks. We learn to love and hate the characters, as we connect with them a little.

Added to the mix is their mother who seems to be a little odd. As they start noticing, each of the sisters refuse to take responsibility claiming that their life is more important. As time passes, they are all forced to accept that something is wrong, but none are willing to take proper decisions, and if someone does, the others do not agree. Amidst the bickering that is normal among siblings, the sisters learn to trust each other and lean on each other for support. Not everything is perfect and the whole idea that each one builds up in their mind about the other is re-constructed and a they learn to see things in a new light.

A story of togetherness and family, there are some strong messages in this story. Sometimes it feels as though it is all over the place, with the focus always shifting from one to the other, but as the story progresses, a lot of plot points come together. The story is decently written, and while i would not call it awesome, I do think that it is a compelling read and it touches upon some relevant topics.