"When I finish a good book, I feel like I've lost a friend." -- My Mom
We are being totally, knowingly, happily taken for a ride. Anthony Ryan has The Talent. He creates questions, histories, personalities and knows how much to reveal and what to leave unanswered. His characters are likeable, easy to relate to and I worry about them when I’m not listening. The world he has created is similar enough to know but different enough to be interesting. Steven Brand is the perfect voice for this story and these characters.
We are addicted. We are being played like a fiddle. We are enjoying every minute of it.
The narration is dull, you can not distinguish between characters and even scene transitions. I found myself lost in several areas, rewinding to hear portions over again to figure out what was going on. I am hesitant to purchase Book 2 but want to find out what happens to the characters. Might purchase a hard copy instead.
Third after King killer and Stormlight
The telling and the format
The final song
Not really, but i did feel his pain.
I'm not really good with words but this book is something all audible members should have.
I really have to quit falling for these high-rated sword and sorcery series. No offense to the people that rated this book highly. To each their own.
There are some sword and sorcery series that knocked my socks off, like Joe Abercrombie's First Law series, Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards series, and Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. (All of these are available here with Audible and I highly recommend them).
But I'm finding the ones I just cited are exceptional and relatively rare. They are at the vanguard. And then, there is a legion of other series following in a distant, distant second. All of them well-reviewed, but I'm finding it's because they just intrinsically resonate with a certain class of reader.
As I said, that's wonderful. Nothing to deride there. I have certain genres/motifs that hit me the same way. This just isn't one of them.
The story was really good. I enjoyed how the whole story took place across most of his teen years and some adult. At first, I was worried that it was skimming too close to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (for the sake of originality), but was quite pleased that it took on another light early on.
As for the narrator... there were times that I found it difficult to discern which character was currently speaking. He has little-to-no difference with the pronunciation from character to character. A woman would be speaking with a man and I'd have no idea who was currently talking. No voice lightening, no changes. Though, he has an excellent reading voice, for sure. I never found his narrative boring or dull, so there is that.
All in all, good book! Check it out.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Anthony Ryan's epic fantasy novel Blood Song (2011), first in what I hope is only a trilogy in progress, begins with Lord Verniers, the Imperial Chronicler of the southern Alpiran Empire, recounting the time he met the legendary war hero of the northern Unified Realm, Vaelin Al Sorna. Among Vaelin's many names is Hope Killer, for in battle he killed the Hope of the Empire, the Emperor's chosen successor from among his people and Verniers' best friend (at least). For that "murder," Vaelin has spent the last five years in an Imperial dungeon, and has only now been released so that he may face certain death in a duel against the champion of the Meldenean Islands. For their part, the Meldeneans want to watch Vaelin ("the Spawn of the City Burner") die because when his father was Battle Lord of the Realm he torched one of their cities along with its men, women, and children. Verniers' italicized first person narration beginning each of the five parts of Ryan's novel reveal the Chronicler's scornful view of Vaelin's "savage" culture and his hatred of Vaelin. Verniers is also fascinated by the man with "an innate inability to be diminished" and can't resist asking Vaelin to tell his life story so he can write it down as they sail towards his impending doom.
The five parts of the novel, then, narrated in third person from Vaelin's point of view, appear at first to be Verniers' version of Vaelin's story, but the farther the novel progresses, the more it becomes apparent that Vaelin is hiding things from Verniers. . . This raises uncomfortable questions the novel may not answer: why does Ryan begin by making us think Verniers is telling Vaelin's story and then suddenly reveal that he's not, and if he's not, who is?
Be that as it may, the bulk of Blood Song is the account of Vaelin's life from age 11 when he was put by his father into the monkish Sixth Order of the Faith, the Order dedicated to smiting the enemies of the Faith and the Realm. Vaelin is shaped like tempered steel into a Brother of his new "family" (the Brothers are supposed to sever all ties to their former biological families), undergoing harsh martial training, bonding with his fellow young initiates, and gradually learning more about his biological family, about the seven Orders, about the Faith (based on ancestor worship), about its "heretic" Deniers, about realpolitik, and about his "blood song," a gift or a curse that warns him when something bad is going to happen and helps him read people. Vaelin is a compelling protagonist, a person of courage, sensitivity, empathy, morality, and kindness, as well as an instinctive, skilled, and fearsome fighter, able to kill unthinkingly and then to feel his soul soiled by the act.
Ryan writes many great lines. Pithy ones: "War is always an adventure to those who have never seen it." Humorous ones: “The smell was enough to make Scratch get up and slink away.” Ultra violent ones: "[Vaelin] heard rather than saw the geyser of blood painting the ceiling and walls, as the headless corpse continued for a few steps before collapsing." Numinous ones: "He wondered if he would dream of wolves." Sublime ones: "It was the strangest and most unfamiliar landscape he had seen, a broad expanse of mostly bare rock pocked by small pools of rainwater and rocky tors rising from the undulating surface like great deformed mushrooms." And one recurring line of intense pathos, when Vaelin protests too much: "I have no father."
Stephen Brand has an appealing and affecting slight northern England accent, by which the "o" in words like love, up, and some becomes "oh," which expresses Vaelin's "barbarian" speech as heard by a "civilized" Empire listener like Verniers. In general, Brand's voice is quite appealing, intelligent, raspy, British, and sparse, a perfect match for Ryan's text. He modifies it for different characters, as with Frentice's street cockney, but never egregiously, not even when doing voices of female characters or children.
Blood Song has plenty of elements typically found in the heroic epic fantasy genre: different histories and cultures in conflict; small-scale and wide-screen graphic violence; supernatural abilities or gifts; a natural born leader hero with prodigious fighting ability, strong moral code ("I'll kill but I won't murder"), sensitive conscience ("I am a murderer"), and vital destiny; a brilliant and beautiful princess chafing in her role; a mysterious evil entity with occult evil minions; a melting pot world (no elves, dwarves, or orcs, but plenty of hunter gatherers, pirate captains, European-esque knights, British-esque longbowmen, Chinese-esque merchant princes, African or Arabic-esque nobles, etc.); and so on. But Ryan tells his story with such humane conviction, complex characters, spare prose, skillful revelations, exciting and horrifying violence, modern political vision, bracing imagination, and unsentimental pathos, that reading Blood Song was a page-turning pleasure I didn't want to end. Ryan's world creation, fantastic imagination, and narrative approach are not as weird and unique as something like J. M. McDermott's Last Dragon, but Blood Song is authentic and compelling, and fans of heroic epic fantasy should enjoy it.
Hi, I'm an alumi of NYU and I'm also huge into MMA. I love books I read a lot and review the stand outs. I'll give you guys the goods.
I took a chance on this novel and it paid off big. I simply couldn't put this one down, if you like epic fantasy this is a must have.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
The story starts pretty weak in the fashion of a child view of a spartan style education - one could wish that the author had spend some time around children and teenagers because the skills the student have are WAAAY to advanced for their age.
Once the book breaks out of the schooling story it gets more interesting about the last third of the book decided me to buy the second book.
The "magic" isn't very well explained or detailed in the book however the story handles it reasonable well. There are no vampires - which some people I talk though it would be based on the title nor is the book grim with split blood. The battles are quick and descriptive (and thankfully) vague about corpse or guts.
It's a reasonable start to a good set of books.
Yes, it's a great story, robust characters, interesting mysteries, good world building.
In some ways, the narrator has a good voice for this kind of epic: A bit gravelly, as if the story is being told by an old soldier.
But there's no attempt to give voices to the different characters, and at some points the narration gets monotonic. Depending on the text, the narrator will recite sentences in the same cadence and inflection. There are moments when you find yourself anticipating the rhythm of each sentence as the narrator repeats the same cadence.
It was distracting at times, but ultimately didn't interfere with the enjoyment of the story itself.
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
Read with great skill and subtlety, excellent job.
To be honest this was an accidental purchase, and I thought I'd give it a chance before returning it. Yep, it is in the vein of Game of Thrones, but it stands just fine on its own, not at all the disappointment I expected it to be. Very well-written and engrossing, this book got better and better as it progressed and left me wanting more. I was ready to move on to the next entry in the series right away, and was sorry to see that it hasn't been released on audio yet. Will be on the lookout -