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Blood Song Audiobook

Blood Song: Raven's Shadow, Book 1

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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

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4.6 (11324 )
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  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 07-01-14
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 07-01-14 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Familiar but gripping epic fantasy"

    There’s virtually nothing in Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song that fantasy readers haven’t seen before. Vaguely European medieval world? Check. Protagonist with a special magical gift? Check. Walled-off academy wherein a young protagonist learns many diverse arts? Check. A set of religious/mystical Orders that safeguard the realm and its affairs? Barbarians in the north? Hidden secret Order? Check, check, check.

    Yet, this is a confident, unapologetically traditional novel that will likely please fans of military and warrior epics. Ryan, to his credit, doesn’t go in for a lot of world-building or the potential flab of multiple character perspectives. Other than the framing device of introducing the story from the perspective of a scribe from a southern empire, who interviews the now-legendary captive, Vaelin al Sorna, much of the narrative follows the experiences of the man himself. As we soon learn, Vaelin was left as a boy by his father at the gates of the Sixth Order, which trains warriors to serve the faith, a sort of medieval Army Ranger battalion.

    Roughly the first third of the novel is taken up by Vaelin’s training, an increasingly harsh series of lessons and tests. It’s a little comparable to events in Patrick Rothfuss’s popular The Name of the Wind, but this school is much more martial than university-like. It’s stuff we’ve seen before, but I enjoyed watching Vaelin and his fellows grow in skill and maturity, with glimpses of the outside world and its issues, which occasionally intrude on their training.

    Most good military fiction involves the hero learning, over many bloody battles, that the purity of the warrior’s ethos doesn’t always align with the slimy nature of realpolitik. This is true here. As he graduates from his final test, Vaelin finds himself falling into the favor of a manipulative, ambitious king, who sends him on sham missions against an insurgency of heretics in the north, then into actual set battles against the empire to the south, for reasons that sound worthy on paper but reek of the king’s self-interest.

    While the too-noble-for-this-war-too-dutiful-to-stop-fighting-it themes are familiar, Ryan does a great job with the savage crunch and clamor of battles, and capturing the many small details of a warrior’s life and its hard disciplines. There’s a bit of droll humor, too. There’s even beauty in the writing, in the depiction of a primeval northern forest, or in a pod of orca whales pacing a ship. Fantasy can so easily crumble when modern sensibilities or glibness creep into it, but Ryan seems to recognize the importance of a believably mythic world, of keeping the basic themes simple and clear.

    That said, there are weaknesses. The story suffers from a few cliches, and only a handful of characters are more than a sketch. The Princess, whose calculating nature makes it unclear whose side she’s on, is interesting, but there wasn’t very much to distinguish Vaelin’s brothers-in-arms from one another. I was a little disappointed that the Faith, so central to what the Order does, was never explained in much detail, and that the magic-related side of the plot, while seemingly important to the larger series Ryan has in mind, felt a little shoehorned into the story.

    Still, such issues are to be expected in a debut and I think much of the praise from readers is warranted. If this isn’t quite the next Game of Thrones, it takes many ideas that worked well in that series and channels them into one hero and his reality. Audiobook narrator Steven Brand doesn’t do a wide range of accents, but he has a confident, unpretentious voice that fits the text. While some readers have complained about grammar issues, they weren’t evident to me in this format.

    29 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Windermere, FL, United States 08-27-14
    Michelle Windermere, FL, United States 08-27-14 Member Since 2012
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    "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.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Stone San Diego 09-17-13
    Andrew Stone San Diego 09-17-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Good Read."
    Any additional comments?

    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...

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-23-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book!"

    I loved the story of Vaelin's young life. Very well done.
    The portrayal of a young warrior of the faith is weirdly inspiring. Maybe it's because he's so humble and not blood thirsty. Great story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 07-17-16
    James 07-17-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Gripping within the first 5 minutes!"

    I was instantly captured by this story. So much so that I didn't want to do anything but listen to it all day long. Now, onto book two.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. B. Little 07-12-16 Member Since 2016
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd 10-29-13
    Todd 10-29-13 Member Since 2010
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    "WOW,, much better than i expected"
    Any additional comments?

    In my top ten books. . and one of the biggest surprises. I have over 100 audible books. I got this one for a cross country road trip and was totally sucked into it, , almost ran out of gas cause i was so engrossed. Looking forward to more from this author.

    I highly recommend this book.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    veruka. 03-29-14
    veruka. 03-29-14

    Ask me no questions I will tell you no lies❤️

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Anthony Ryan Rules his Genre"
    Where does Blood Song rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top ten. I really like Scott Lynch, George R R Martin, Sanderson, ect but I enjoyed Anthony Ryan on a whole new level.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The Order's different dimensions, fighting for the faith.


    Which character – as performed by Steven Brand – was your favorite?

    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.


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

    Just thrilled to find such an awesome listen.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Lakeville, MN, United States 09-23-13
    Mary Lakeville, MN, United States 09-23-13 Member Since 2009

    "When I finish a good book, I feel like I've lost a friend." -- My Mom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "We are being ‘played’"

    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.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Gerber Kansas City, MO. USA 01-13-17
    Aaron Gerber Kansas City, MO. USA 01-13-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a great origin story..."

    ... it's a shame the rest of the series isn't better... or even as good as this one.

    I am currently in the third book of the series. I felt the need to go back, and do more than select stars to communicate what you should think of this book, as this book stands or falls with the series since it pulls you into the next book in the series: it must be viewed within the series whole...

    For a great example of a book that doesn't pull you into the series but stands on its own, see Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (on Audible... check it out).

    I quickly realized this was an origin story. Origin stories are rarely amazing, as they share the background to a bigger story that is usually skipped. If, however, the characters are interesting before they become more interesting it can be excused... or if you see what they become you want to find out how they got there (see Name of the Wind). So I gave it a try. There was lots of exposition due to how the author formed this story, but it worked and worked well.

    That said... I didn't get some of the motivations for the characters in this book and found that when they were revealed in later books I was not impressed. Things explained that were so odd and interesting had lacking explanations. So... I would say this book is very much like J.J. Abrams and his series... It gives you all the questions that keep you going, but you don't like the answers it does share later.

    I think this writer spent a lot of time on this book. I do. I was believing he could be my next Brandon Sanderson... but he isn't.

    I honestly cannot recall most of the plot of this book now and it's been less than a month since I listened to it. There were a few high moments I won't explain since I don't want to spoil it for you. If you can stop with this book, I would recommend it.
    Look at my other reviews in this series to see why this series disappoints.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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