From "a new master storyteller" comes the beginning of an epic fantasy saga of blood, honor, and destiny....
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 10 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.
©2013 Anthony Ryan (P)2013 Penguin Audio
The best fantasy works because it is original, full of depth and gritty. Blood Song gets full marks in a genre where unoriginal, forgettable YA like penmanship is the norm. Steven Brand is terrific and this listener appreciates the obvious affinity that he has for Blood Song. Well Done!
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.
Thirty-something geek who loves sci fi and fantasy.
I picked up this book after seeing it recommended several times on Audible, and after reading numerous positive reviews here. I was not disappointed. This is a major work in fantasy, and Anthony Ryan will be a name to watch as this series matures and expands.
The main narrative is set within a frame story, similar to that of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles books (e.g., the main character is giving an account of his life to an interviewer). The circumstances of the interview are different enough, though, from Rothfuss, that it still feels original. The similarities to Rothfuss end there, however. This is a fairly dark fantasy, though not so grimdark as Joe Abercrombie or George R.R. Martin. We witness the training of Vaelin Al Sorna in the Sixth Order, an organization that’s a cross between samurai, agoge (the training of Spartan boys) and Jedi knights. The first half of the book, which covers Vaelin’s time in the Order, is fascinating, coming-of-age stuff. Numerous mysteries present themselves right off the bat, and most go unresolved by the end of the book. Vaelin’s camaraderie with his fellow trainees is the best part of the book. The other characters are well fleshed out, especially Norta and Caenis. Vaelin is an heroic character, and it’s very clear he’s got a big destiny, but he is grounded by self-doubts, guilt, and a consistent, genuine humility. He’s a wonderful character, embodying the escapism we crave in fantasy, while remaining a very human character with whom we can easily identify and sympathize. He is a living weapon who accepts his position, but not without regret.
The second half of the book deals with Vaelin’s adventures in service to the Realm. This part of the book was less engaging than the first, I found, if only because the internecine politics of Ryan’s world get tossed around in rapid succession, and are hard to keep straight at times. The focus of the first half of the book is traded for more broad-scoped world-building, and while it’s intriguing, it lacks the fundamental humanity and direction that the training segments had. Still, toward the end it builds some powerful momentum, with suspense sustained by the frame story. Eventually, the frame story and the past narrative merge and many things fall into place. It’s a nicely-designed narrative structure, and is quite satisfying once it reaches its end.
Ryan’s world feels familiar, yet unique. He doesn’t try to subvert every cliché like Martin or Abercrombie, but instead relies on good characterization and believable political/religious structures. One of the main themes of the book is man’s proclivity toward religion and the myriad gods we invent. This is a subject I’ve never seen tackled in such a direct way in a fantasy story before, and it’s a most welcome addition to the genre.
This is, of course, the first in a series (whose ultimate number of volumes I don’t know). The book sets up many compelling plots to be resolved in future books, and raises the stakes by the end to be bigger and more important than the book first promised. I am greatly looking forward to book 2 when it comes out. I highly recommend this book to any fan of modern, mature fantasy. Ryan deserves to be listed among the modern greats in the genre; I look forward to his continued career.
A note on the narrator: Steven Brand does a good job with the text. His husky voice lends itself well to Vaelin’s personality, and his pronunciations and speech rhythms are generally fine. He does stumble now and then (possibly from turning a page?) but these are negligible. The only complaint I have with him is that he lacks range. He has basically only one voice characterization, and while it works for many characters, it does not for all. Moreover, during dialogue between two or more characters, or even internal asides from one character, it can sometimes be hard to tell who is talking, or what is being spoken aloud or in a character’s mind. He is no Steven Pacey, but then again, who is? That said, he still does an adequate job with the story, and because almost all of the tale is told from a single character’s perspective, it gets much easier to tell who is talking as the story progresses. I would have liked a little more variety and emotion from Brand, but I’ve heard much, much worse.
This is one of the best books I have 'read' in a long time. Wish the narrator used different voices for each character like other narrators do. While the narrator did a fine job of reading his lack of voices was irritating and made some scenes confusing. I had to buy the Kindle version and refer to it in order to understand who was saying what during some conversations. This book deserves a better narrator. Michael Page would be fantastic.
By using one voice for all characters (even female characters had the same voice as the male characters) it becaming confusing at times as to which character was talking. I finally had to purchase the Kindle book to refer to in order to make sense of some conversations. The worst was when there were more than 2 characters having a conversation.
Easily. I was eager to get back to it when I had to put it down to attend to life's many responsibilities.
While this is Book 1 it can easily be read as a stand alone book. The story is complete with the possibility for the bigger question to be answered in future books without you being left with a cliff hanger at the end of this one. The story is fantastic. I can't say enough about the world, relationships, and writing style of Anthony Ryan. I eagerly await his next book in this series.
Ask me no questions I will tell you no lies❤️
Top ten. I really like Scott Lynch, George R R Martin, Sanderson, ect but I enjoyed Anthony Ryan on a whole new level.
The Order's different dimensions, fighting for the faith.
Vaelin the main character was the best. I won't get into why I don't write paragraphs on what the book is about, because I believe if you like a book it won't be the lengthy tell all that you enjoy.
Just thrilled to find such an awesome listen.
I have been through so many books with rave reviews and have been a bit disheartened in finding a book I could love. The reviewers of Blood Song are right Anthony Ryan is the best. I don't give five stars as I find most books fall short but Ryan earned it!
Book was very interesting and held my attention throughout the 21 hrs of the story.
Always wanting to know what happens next.
It was hard to be dragged away from listening to do other tasks...
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.
Enjoy the adventure
An excellent medieval fantasy book and entertaining from the beginning to end. I enjoyed the theme of personal sacrifice as the cost of loyalty. Best shown when the main character is mislead by the government to do their bidding vs. pursuing his own plans. Reminded me of the Mark Twain quote - “Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.”
Excellent first book, I'm counting the days until July 2014.
To the point. I enjoy Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Joe Abercrombie, Neal Stephenson (70% of the time), and Mark Lawrence. This is just to give you an idea of what makes me tick. If you enjoy these authors too and are often disappointed in fantasy books then you need to give this a listen. It's a strong book from the first page to the last, it's long but it will leave you wanting more. I was ever impressed by the writing, the excellent plot and the twists that you don't often find in books of this nature.
Give Anthony Ryan a try and I promise you won't be disappointed.
Obsessive book hoarder, and intense audible lover.
Yes!! Because it is a well wrought story and relatable characters. I felt despair along with the main character as loved characters died, etc.
Hmm, since they all were so good in the story, I refuse to answer this one :)
He brought life to the characters and narrated with emotion that kept me enthralled.
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