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Blood Song

Raven's Shadow, Book 1
Narrated by: Steven Brand
Series: Raven's Shadow, Book 1
Length: 23 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13,984 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    9,545
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,015
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator: be warned.

Steven brand does a great job reading with a pronounced and clipped voice, but do not expect to be pleased by emotionally invested dialogue. Unlike many other narrators, he reads every line in the exact same voice leading to many complications and misunderstandings of the text. during intense and emotional moments, he continues to read along at the same exact clipped page and tone: no difference between describing a door or a close friend being killed in front of his eyes.

81 of 84 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua
  • mcleansville, NC, United States
  • 08-21-13

Best Fantasy Debut I've Read!

This is yet another independent e-book that through sheer momentum got noticed and picked up by a publisher. I had seen huge ravings about this book and had to check it out. So does this one live up to the hype?

Absolutely!

This is possibly the strongest fantasy debut I've ever read. It's better than Elantris, it's better than Name of the Wind, and it's a lot better than Promise of Blood. He gets right what those books didn't, and I can't really find a single complaint about it. I have no idea where this author came out of, but this guy has the total package when it comes to writing.

The first of the book starts with modern-day Vaelin, condemned prisoner and living legend. Setting out on a voyage where he must fight to the death in gladiatorial combat, he begins relating the story of his life to a skeptical scribe. The book continues on this pattern of long-flashbacks, interspersed with short interludes back in the modern day. It really reminded me of The Name of the Wind, only this book was a lot better. There was never really a dull or boring moment in the book; in fact, this is one of those rare books that I actually didn't want to end. Usually I'm hurrying it up near the end, already thinking about what I want to start next. But this one had me hooked all the way through.

This author writes like someone who's done it for years and years. I simply can't believe how well-written it is for a new author. The characters come alive. They feel so much more real and sophisticated than those books mentioned above. The plot carries you along, and you can feel the complexities and undercurrents even as they are revealed a bit at a time, with many more mysteries yet unsolved. The elegance of the writing is at times astounding; there are moments that blew me away or made me laugh in delight simply because of HOW they were written. The prose and dialogue are top-notch. This is a genius of storytelling.

And the action? Absolutely second-to-none. It's intense, it's bloody, and it feels like you're actually THERE. Usually authors slack off in this category, but so much of this book revolves around a life of violence and combat. The fights never feel cheap or stereotyped. The main character is awesome and he lays down the law with his blade. There's no random goof-ups that authors use to try and be different or "realistic". This guy is bred to fight, and everything he does is purposeful and effectual. And the magic system, revealing itself slowly one bit at a time through the lore of the world, adds that extra element that brings it all together.

I didn't think it would happen, but this book really blew me away. I can't wait to see what comes next.

124 of 135 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story, but the narration did not live up to it.

The narrator had a good voice and read well, but he made almost no distinction between characters. Everyone pretty much sounded the same. It was hard to keep track of who was saying what...the concentration on deciphering the speaker, took away from the story at times

40 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book.

Wonderful book. Most people rave over Brand's performance, however I found his lack of individualized characters frustrating. Most of his male characters sound exactly the same, making the conversations between two confusing at some points. I had to press the playback button several times simply due to this. Otherwise, amazing book and I highly recommend. I'm about to begin book 2 now.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I REALLY LIKED THIS STORY...!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

My friends don't really get into fantasy/sci-fi but if they did I would certainly recommend this to them.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well Vaelin of course. He makes the tough choices throughout the story, a very admiral and likable character/hero(?).

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Not really... I read the reviews and people seemed to like the narrator but I did not. He made no effort to distinguish between characters and I found it very hard follow the conversation when I could not figure out who was talking. It surprises me that people liked him after listening to all the others.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes... there were a couple places to laugh and many places of sadness especially at the end. Heartbreaking but I won't say what because I'm not a spoiler... just read it!

Any additional comments?

I can't decide whether to listen to this once more before moving on to the next book because I feel I missed a lot because of the narration. I may end up buying the books and reading them if I find the next piece as hard to follow. This really is a good story and I hate that I feel this way about the narrator. Usually I can acquire and ear for them even if I don't like them but I could never seem to do that with this guy.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ron
  • Basehor, KS, United States
  • 08-21-13

Great Epic Fantacy

This was a great start in an epic journey Anthony Ryan is sure to take us all on. I found myself making comparisons to Michael J. Sullivan, Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss (his first book The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1). If you have ever read any of their works and enjoyed them then this should be on par and I am sure you will enjoy this as well.

Since this is the first book it contains your classic world building experience, who everyone is and their relationships with each other. Ryan has painted a wonderful picture of this new world and his characters have some depth to them.

As far as narration goes Steven Brand brought these characters to life with his performance and range of character voices. I can only hope they bring him back for the sequels.

120 of 134 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful Epic! Mature and well-written.

This is the kind of work I'm looking for. Written for adults, with rich characters, epic sweep of events, complex layers of intertangled personal, political, and mythical story-lines.

A rare book in the category of, and perhaps even better than, Game of Thrones, Name of the Wind, Warded Man, or The Way of Kings.

Can't wait for the next book.

The narrater was great--not one for forcing a variety of voices, but providing a solid, pleasant, and effective read. Like hearing a fireside story read by a master story teller.

Great Book and Performance!

94 of 106 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle
  • Windermere, FL, United States
  • 08-27-14

Great Story, Performance bad

Any additional comments?

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.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Complex but could be more compelling

This is a very detailed start to an epic series. The coming of age part is the strongest. I felt that after while the hero became practically superhuman, which made me less interested in him. There certainly were some great scenes and action sequences that kept me listening, but the whole didn't always come together. The narration was also good but not outstanding. It wasn't that easy to tell the various characters apart.

Maybe it's that I'm not as much of fan of military/macho fantasy, preferring some whimsy or humor, and more central female characters. I see there are some sequels coming but I don't feel compelled to listen to them.

53 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable

I enjoyed this book. I will most likely get the second book. I have two complaints. First the world wasn't as vividly described as what I am accustomed to. I could picture the evens but had difficulty picturing the surroundings with clarity compared with other books. Maybe it's because I started this one right after finishing Dawn of Wonder. Second complaint is with the narrator. He uses the same exact voice for all characters and I often lose track of who is speaking and on top of that there is little emotion portrayed through the voice. I often find my mind wandering from the story as I mentally complain about the bland way the narrator portrays the discussions. However don't let my complaints prevent you from listening to this book. I have no regrets and believe it is worth the time and credit.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful