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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

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (11875 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Paul Pearce 01-30-14
    Paul Pearce 01-30-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not as awesome as I was lead to expect"

    This book frequently switched between being somewhat interesting and boring to the point where I almost quit listening to it. I know a lot of people loved it, and it was good enough that I don't regret buying it, but it never really felt either especially beautiful or particularly exciting to me. Unlike many books, I actually felt that this one got slightly worse as it progressed and there wasn't much of a payoff at the end.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 01-22-14
    Jennifer 01-22-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cool World Setup"
    Any additional comments?

    I liked the world the author set up in this book. I enjoyed the different religious orders meant to serve the realm in different ways. I would have liked to have seen more detail given to characters' emotions and inner lives. I found myself wanting to know more about who they were, really. The author did a great job introducing characters I cared enough about to want to know more! I began to feel disconnected with the main character as the book progressed. That being said, it was a great read with a very cool world setup.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greyflood Louisville, KY 01-21-14
    Greyflood Louisville, KY 01-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    162
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    "Impressive debut--mature, modern 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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. McCormick Texas 12-25-13
    M. McCormick Texas 12-25-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story hampered by Narrator's lack of voices"
    Where does Blood Song rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What didn’t you like about Steven Brand’s performance?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Easily. I was eager to get back to it when I had to put it down to attend to life's many responsibilities.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DarthVal Hickory, NC, United States 12-06-13
    DarthVal Hickory, NC, United States 12-06-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Fantastic new fantasy!"
    Would you listen to Blood Song again? Why?

    Yes. The narration was wonderful, doing justice to an excellent new fantasy story. I am very likely to listen again prior to enjoying the second book of the series when it is released.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Vaelin al Sorna was an excellent tragaic hero.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved the scene when just Vaelin and Nortah are not able to go to the festival. The scene when Vaelin realizes what is happening and he rushes to be there for this "brother" Nortah (despite their differences) is both moving and action packed.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was rather long, so I was unable to listen in one setting, but I did have difficulty in pausing the story when necessary.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a vast and truly epic tale. I hope the rest of the series lives up to the standards set so high with the first installment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MissRed Aurora, Colorado, United States 11-04-13
    MissRed Aurora, Colorado, United States 11-04-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes!! Because it is a well wrought story and relatable characters. I felt despair along with the main character as loved characters died, etc.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hmm, since they all were so good in the story, I refuse to answer this one :)


    What about Steven Brand’s performance did you like?

    He brought life to the characters and narrated with emotion that kept me enthralled.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zachary C. Hoskins Saratoga Springs, Utah United States 09-09-13
    Zachary C. Hoskins Saratoga Springs, Utah United States 09-09-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Impressive debut novel"
    What made the experience of listening to Blood Song the most enjoyable?

    Steven Brand's voice is wonderful, his narration was the perfect tone for the book. I read this first as a self published novel on Kindle, and even still I can't imagine the protagonists voice to sound any other way.

    I still am floored that it took so long for a publisher to pick him up. If he can continue this story with the pacing, twists and enthralling characters he will quickly join Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Patrick Rothfuss and George Martin as the great living writers of Fantasy.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Blood Song?

    Several that would be spoilers if shared.


    Have you listened to any of Steven Brand’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but even though his only other work on Audible is WAU outside of my normal reading I am considering picking it up just for his narration.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A dangerous man without malice?


    Any additional comments?

    BloodSong is surely going to be the beginning of a long and glorious relationship with these characters. The world that Anthony Ryan has created should exist. It is cohesive, realistic and functional. The magic reminds of something that Robin Hobb might have produced, the characters of something Orson Scott Card might have created and a world epic and grand enough to rival any George Martin has envisioned.

    When I paid 99 cents for this on Kindle I had low expectations, but after one read and two listens I can say that it stands nearly as high on my can't wait list as the next Way of Kings book or the final book of Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller chronicles. If any of these names are on your hit list then you will not be disappointed.

    Having invoked those names I should mention that the next novel is 100% complete and is only being heald back for a year by his new publisher to give time for this book to sell and the third is well underway according to the author so great writing, without the typical 2-3 year wait between books for this style of fantasy.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Al Edmond Yonkers NY, United States 07-17-13
    Al Edmond Yonkers NY, United States 07-17-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    5
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    "This is a must have"
    Where does Blood Song rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Third after King killer and Stormlight


    What did you like best about this story?

    The telling and the format


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The final song


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

    Not really, but i did feel his pain.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not really good with words but this book is something all audible members should have.

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arjun Thornhill, ON, Canada 07-23-13
    Arjun Thornhill, ON, Canada 07-23-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Epic Fantasy"

    If you love epic fantasy buy this book! Great story and awesome narration. Anthony Ryan and Steven Brand are up and coming stars. With all the crap out there that gets 5 stars, I rarely write reviews. However, this book is so good I just had to.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Uber Femme San Antonio, TX 08-26-13
    Uber Femme San Antonio, TX 08-26-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    130
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    "Yep. Get it."
    Any additional comments?

    I agree with what everyone is saying: this is a complex (but not overly so) novel that scratches all of my Epic Fantasy itches, and then some. Upon completing it, I immediately restarted it to see if the seeds of the ending were present. Of course they were. Nothing in this book is extraneous. It is multi-layered and accessible. I loved our hero almost from the word 'go.'

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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