We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners.
Vaelin Al Sorna is the Sixth Order's newest recruit. Under their brutal training regime, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds, and kill a man quickly and quietly - all in the name of protecting the Realm and the Faith. Now his skills will be put to the test.
War is coming. Vaelin must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.
©2013 Anthony Ryan (P)2013 Penguin Audio
"A new master storyteller has hit the scene" (Michael J. Sullivan)
"Blood Song is a tremendous debut... fast-paced, action-packed and character-driven" (Fantasy Book Critic)
"A top contender for most impressive debut of the year... Blood Song is a powerful epic that, while ending with a sense of closure, hints at more to come" (SFF World)
"An utterly engrossing high-fantasy epic from a major new talent that explores themes of war, faith, and loyalty amidst incredible action scenes and artfully developed characters" (Buzzfeed)
"A mix of The Name of the Wind and The Left Hand of God... I cannot recommend this book enough." (bestfantasybooks.com)
"Blood Song delighted me again and again" (Fantasy Faction)
"This is epic fantasy at its best with action, rivalries, espionage, the promise of future revelations and ever-present twists" (Bookbag)
"An instant sensation . . . an excellent start to this series" (Read Dream Relax)
"Smartly-written coming-of-age story... Compelling" (SFX)
"I still love - and want - that feeling of completely absorbing escapism that good fantasy can supply - and Blood Song brings it in force" (Pornokitsch)
"Ryan hits all the high notes of epic fantasy-a gritty setting, ancient magics, ruthless intrigue, divided loyalties, and bloody action" (Publishers Weekly)
"Well wrought characters, a fascinating world, and crackling prose... Not to be missed" (Kingofthenerds.com)
"Blood Song is unique... The next Epic Fantasy book everybody should read" (Blotted Pages)
"An immensely satisfying and immersive experience" (Dark Matter)
"One of the next master storytellers" (Fantasty Book Review)
The first half of the book is pretty forgettable, but it is worth sticking araound as it soon gathers pace into an epic narrative full of interesting & unique characters. The second book is even better.
At first I really struggled to get into this book due to the narration.
I found Steven Brands voice to be heavily accented, and with an inability to use different voices for different characters. The story was delivered in monotone and I began to suspect that he may have had a cold when he read this book due to a raspiness in his voice.
I did persist however and after eventually getting used to the narration enough to be able to engage with the story-line I found the book itself to be a half decent read. Not epic by any means but very readable.
"Best audio book i have listened to"
Action, drama, swords
Any joe abercrombie book
I grew to love the characters
Brilliant book, well worth a listen.
"Enjoyable - ticks the boxes"
Another promising trilogy....
It's cut from similar cloth as other novels of this genre - good old sword swinging battles, edged with a bit of magic and mystery, warring realms, gifted hero, nasty baddies....the usual ingredients, but well put together and an enjoyable tale to get into. Reminds me a little of the Wheel of Time.
I'm two books into the series, and now sit patiently (not!) waiting for the final instalment (Amazon has the hardcover version scheduled for June 2015 - hopefully audio version would follow shortly thereafter)
As to the narrator...many reviewers have already commented, and I don't disagree with them. When it comes to narrators, you get two types - those who PERFORM the book and those who simply read it. Stephen Brand falls into the latter category. He does read well, in that he's clear, his pronunciation consistent, and his tone is easy enough on the ear...but that's all; no characterisations. There were occasions when I wasn't clear who was speaking. I believe that the really good "performers" (eg Steven Pacey; Rupert Degas) take an audiobook to a different level ...........how much better would this book have been had it been performed rather than simply being read?
Unfortunately my lifestyle means I only have time to listen to audiobooks - sitting still in order to read is not an option - therefore I will probably choose to listen to book 3 even if it has the same narrator. But perhaps this might be a trilogy which would be better tackled in the traditional manner - a good old paperback. If you're a fan of this genre, don't let the narrator put you off; it's not so bad as to ruin the story, you just have to concentrate a little more than normal.
"Superb debut novel"
Vaelin Al Sorna, prisoner of war relates his story to chronicler and historian Lord Verniers, as he is transported by ship, to answer for his crimes.
The story then takes us back to the young Vaelin, and his entry into the Sixth order of The Faith, and so the story begins. We learn of the strict training regime within The Order, the friendships he builds, the trials he endures, and the secrets he begins to uncover.
This is a wonderful novel, with a complex plot, interesting secondary characters action,political intrigue, and interesting take on magic. A book that answered so many of the questions that it brought up, that it could be a stand alone novel. But also left enough that. Yup! I'm gearing up to listen to the next book in the series.
If you only get one book this year this one would not be a bad choice.
My only issue was with some of the narration. Although I loved Steven Brands voice, and yes I thought he was perfect for the voice of Vaelin. I was just a bit disappointed with his lack of distinction, when he was voicing the other characters, there was a few times when I had to do a quick rewind to double check who was talking. I had to really pay attention or would lose track of what was going on. Just a small niggle. But felt it stopped me getting totally absorbed into the story.
"Magnificent - truly epic!"
Imagine an amalgam of a cleaned up Logan Nine Fingers, a straight Ringil Eskiath and Jorg Ankrath with morals. Vaelin Al Sorna is an extraordinary character: inspiring, charismatic, deliciously laconic, delightfully enigmatic and just... well... all over competent. There's a dab of Left Hand of God in there, too. For all those comparisons, this is a unique, enthralling fantasy. It's truly epic.
A quick synopsis: a warlord's son is handed over to a religious order for training as a warrior. Vaelin comes to realise it's for his own protection and forges deep bonds with his brothers. It soon becomes clear that there are forces at play - an unknown order, leeching evil and the ambition of ruthless people. There are many threads winding through the story - you'll be jumping up and down for the release of book 2.
The mystique of the Brotherhood is beautifully depicted. The brothers' training is fascinating and the resulting super warriors are captivating. The characters are complex, compelling people and Ryan handles relationships with a sure but delicate hand.
I’ve been itching to finish this audiobook as I was anxious to post my review and help spread the word. It’s always pleasing to find a new author who can go straight into your own personal A-list. Happily Anthony Ryan falls into that category. His debut novel is a fantasy of the epic order. The main protagonist, Vaelin Al Sorna, is an instant classic fantasy hero and the book is full of other interesting and engaging characters (neither too black nor too white, as befits modern tastes).
The world created will seem comfortably familiar to aficiandos of the genre but with plenty of blank spaces to be uncovered in later novels no doubt. The plot moves along at a cracking pace and I was never less than fully engaged. The storyline was pleasingly familiar whilst being individual enough to render any idle moment an opportunity to reach for the audio-player, which is always a good test of its merits. The framing device used worked very well and I was very quickly drawn into the novel even before the main arc of the story started. I was reminded of Bernard Cornwell’s “Arthur” trilogy, still one of my all-time faves
If you insist on criticism, perhaps the story was a little generic and perhaps the underlying heart of the central conflict was a bit under-developed, but the ending of the novel hinted greatly of an opening-out of the themes in subsequent volumes. Needless to say I am already started on volume 2 “Tower Lord”.
Having seen some negative comments on the narration I have to say I thought Steven Brand was excellent and his voice really fitted the mood of the novel.
If you’re a fan of gritty fantasy and haven’t read this yet, well lucky you, a treat awaits...
"An epic in the making"
Religious nut jobs reminisce of the Templar / Hospitilar knights in a Spartan style academy producing the "Faith's" ultimate warriors. the story follows one of the new brothers on his story
The bond of brother hood portrayed and sustained through the book. was a pleasure to listen to.
there wasn't one scene that stood out to me in this book. It was a god overall listen with many great scenes.
If I could stay up 24 hours I would of considered it.
If you like name of the wind, or the magician/ wheel of time /sword of truth series you will enjoy this book.
"Why ruin a good story with a poor narrator?"
This is a very good story and had I been reading it myself then yes it would be 5 stars. I love "The Name of the Wind" and heard this was similar so rushed to buy it with a valuable credit as soon as it was released as an audiobook. Now here is where the problem starts. Its an audiobook and as such is different to just buying a book and reading it yourself. Part of the beauty of an audiobook is the performance given by the narrator. For example, everyone has probably read the Harry Potter books to themselves but the audiobook brings a totally new perspective on the story with the superb Stephen Fry providing excitement and numerous amazing voices for the characters. Nick Podehl does this really well with "The Name of the Wind" and Michael Page does an amazing job with "The Lies of Locke Lamora". Now unfortunately Steven Brand does NOT do a good job here. How people can give him a 5 star rating I do not know. Where are the different voices for different characters? Where is the change of tone, tension and excitement for the action scenes? His voice is also too soft for this genre, I expected him to cough at any moment and all to suddenly be OK but alas no. Steven reads this book to you but doesn't perform it. A meeting between Vaelin and one of his brothers is read exactly the same way as a description of a battle. These audiobooks are not cheap if you don't use a credit and it baffles me why the author would allow his hard written book to be ruined this easily. I struggled through to about the last hour then realised I was not going to buy the second part of this story with the same narrator and so stopped - huge shame. If you are happy with someone just "reading" to you then fine buy this audiobook. If you would rather be entertained look elsewhere now, buy the book in hard copy and read it yourself!
Absolutely amazingly good.
We get to hear the true story.
He narrated it really well. Looking forward to hearing more of his work.
Looking forward to Tower Lord and a massive thank you to Anthony Ryan for sharing such a fantastic story.
"Loved this book"
I rank it behind the Patrick Rothuss and Joe Abercrombie books due to the narrator. Steven Pacey and Rupert Degas have me spoiled.
I got lost in the story and fell in love with the people, they felt real to me.
Not by choice, it was hard to tell when he had moved from the past and the present which spoiled the flow of the reading. I got totally absorbed in the story and it was like stubbing your toe. Narrator was also limited in the 'voices' he used making a lot of the characters sound the same. It didn't put me off listening though as the story is stronger and carried me along. I will buy the next part of the series.
I listened to this book in 4 days as I couldn't wait to get to the next 'page'.
"Old style dark fantasy"
This little gem is a bit of a slow burner but well worth the wait. Taking us from the early years of a young, confused boy growing up in a religious order of warriors, the author slowly but masterfully paints a picture of a fractured land steeped in war with many religous factions willing to fight and die for their beliefs.
Throughout the book we are teased with broken pieces of information about an ancient order of men thought lost to the centuries. Our anti hero travels across land and sea to try and uncover the truth, fighting countless battles and forging new friendships along the way.
The main thread of the story in underpinned with intriguing subplots and facinating characters making this, on the whole, a great listen.
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