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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

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  •  
    Zachary C. Hoskins Saratoga Springs, Utah United States 09-09-13
    Zachary C. Hoskins Saratoga Springs, Utah United States 09-09-13

    zchance

    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
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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

    I am a writer from Toronto. I am 34 and hooked on audio books.

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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
  •  
    Ryan CA, United States 10-26-15
    Ryan CA, United States 10-26-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Must quit fallin for hi-rated sword-sorcery series"

    I really have to quit falling for these high-rated sword and sorcery series. No offense to the people that rated this book highly. To each their own.

    There are some sword and sorcery series that knocked my socks off, like Joe Abercrombie's First Law series, Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards series, and Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. (All of these are available here with Audible and I highly recommend them).

    But I'm finding the ones I just cited are exceptional and relatively rare. They are at the vanguard. And then, there is a legion of other series following in a distant, distant second. All of them well-reviewed, but I'm finding it's because they just intrinsically resonate with a certain class of reader.

    As I said, that's wonderful. Nothing to deride there. I have certain genres/motifs that hit me the same way. This just isn't one of them.








    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 10-14-14
    Jefferson 10-14-14 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""I wish to learn many things.""

    Anthony Ryan's epic fantasy novel Blood Song (2011), first in what I hope is only a trilogy in progress, begins with Lord Verniers, the Imperial Chronicler of the southern Alpiran Empire, recounting the time he met the legendary war hero of the northern Unified Realm, Vaelin Al Sorna. Among Vaelin's many names is Hope Killer, for in battle he killed the Hope of the Empire, the Emperor's chosen successor from among his people and Verniers' best friend (at least). For that "murder," Vaelin has spent the last five years in an Imperial dungeon, and has only now been released so that he may face certain death in a duel against the champion of the Meldenean Islands. For their part, the Meldeneans want to watch Vaelin ("the Spawn of the City Burner") die because when his father was Battle Lord of the Realm he torched one of their cities along with its men, women, and children. Verniers' italicized first person narration beginning each of the five parts of Ryan's novel reveal the Chronicler's scornful view of Vaelin's "savage" culture and his hatred of Vaelin. Verniers is also fascinated by the man with "an innate inability to be diminished" and can't resist asking Vaelin to tell his life story so he can write it down as they sail towards his impending doom.

    The five parts of the novel, then, narrated in third person from Vaelin's point of view, appear at first to be Verniers' version of Vaelin's story, but the farther the novel progresses, the more it becomes apparent that Vaelin is hiding things from Verniers. . . This raises uncomfortable questions the novel may not answer: why does Ryan begin by making us think Verniers is telling Vaelin's story and then suddenly reveal that he's not, and if he's not, who is?

    Be that as it may, the bulk of Blood Song is the account of Vaelin's life from age 11 when he was put by his father into the monkish Sixth Order of the Faith, the Order dedicated to smiting the enemies of the Faith and the Realm. Vaelin is shaped like tempered steel into a Brother of his new "family" (the Brothers are supposed to sever all ties to their former biological families), undergoing harsh martial training, bonding with his fellow young initiates, and gradually learning more about his biological family, about the seven Orders, about the Faith (based on ancestor worship), about its "heretic" Deniers, about realpolitik, and about his "blood song," a gift or a curse that warns him when something bad is going to happen and helps him read people. Vaelin is a compelling protagonist, a person of courage, sensitivity, empathy, morality, and kindness, as well as an instinctive, skilled, and fearsome fighter, able to kill unthinkingly and then to feel his soul soiled by the act.

    Ryan writes many great lines. Pithy ones: "War is always an adventure to those who have never seen it." Humorous ones: “The smell was enough to make Scratch get up and slink away.” Ultra violent ones: "[Vaelin] heard rather than saw the geyser of blood painting the ceiling and walls, as the headless corpse continued for a few steps before collapsing." Numinous ones: "He wondered if he would dream of wolves." Sublime ones: "It was the strangest and most unfamiliar landscape he had seen, a broad expanse of mostly bare rock pocked by small pools of rainwater and rocky tors rising from the undulating surface like great deformed mushrooms." And one recurring line of intense pathos, when Vaelin protests too much: "I have no father."

    Stephen Brand has an appealing and affecting slight northern England accent, by which the "o" in words like love, up, and some becomes "oh," which expresses Vaelin's "barbarian" speech as heard by a "civilized" Empire listener like Verniers. In general, Brand's voice is quite appealing, intelligent, raspy, British, and sparse, a perfect match for Ryan's text. He modifies it for different characters, as with Frentice's street cockney, but never egregiously, not even when doing voices of female characters or children.

    Blood Song has plenty of elements typically found in the heroic epic fantasy genre: different histories and cultures in conflict; small-scale and wide-screen graphic violence; supernatural abilities or gifts; a natural born leader hero with prodigious fighting ability, strong moral code ("I'll kill but I won't murder"), sensitive conscience ("I am a murderer"), and vital destiny; a brilliant and beautiful princess chafing in her role; a mysterious evil entity with occult evil minions; a melting pot world (no elves, dwarves, or orcs, but plenty of hunter gatherers, pirate captains, European-esque knights, British-esque longbowmen, Chinese-esque merchant princes, African or Arabic-esque nobles, etc.); and so on. But Ryan tells his story with such humane conviction, complex characters, spare prose, skillful revelations, exciting and horrifying violence, modern political vision, bracing imagination, and unsentimental pathos, that reading Blood Song was a page-turning pleasure I didn't want to end. Ryan's world creation, fantastic imagination, and narrative approach are not as weird and unique as something like J. M. McDermott's Last Dragon, but Blood Song is authentic and compelling, and fans of heroic epic fantasy should enjoy it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Uber Femme San Antonio, TX 08-26-13
    Uber Femme San Antonio, TX 08-26-13 Member Since 2014

    Love epic fantasy, war stories, monsters, and zombies.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Olivia 07-19-16
    Olivia 07-19-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fantastic!"

    the be narrator is spellbinding and the visualizations of language are magical. the plot is enthralling and we'll worth the read!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skipper 01-24-16
    Skipper 01-24-16

    I prefer 3rd person point-of-view, and books with fewer than 500 pages.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid story, fuzzy narration"

    Told in 3rd person through the POV of only one character (except for the opening chapter of each part). Yay!!! No scene skipping. No head-hopping. The reader journeys through a harsh yet hopeful life as experienced by a heartbroken, abandoned youth, Vaelin Al Sorna. Even though he is dubbed "Hope Killer" he grows to be a kind and good (enough) man, striving to understand his peculiar gift and the strange goings-on in his world.

    A wee bit long and occasionally slow, but well-written and quite engrossing for the most part, with heartwarming friendship, poignant growing-up/ becoming a warrior scenes, a touch of romance, bloody battles, grim-dark reality, gods, kings, religions, demons, politics, and some surprising plot twists.

    Characterization is decent. It was good to see the abandoned youths grow into fine young men (but most of the focus was on Vaelin). One wonders how anything good could come from the academy since most of the training masters were crazed and/or cruel.

    Animals added a nice touch. I loved the Volarian Slave Hound, Scratch, and the nasty warhorse, Spit.

    Nebulous magic system. Maybe that will be established in book 2.

    I found some high-res maps on the Web. (The maps in the kindle book are fuzzy).

    Appendix is helpful, but I wanted a description of the Orders in the appendix. What is the purpose of each Order? Who is the Aspect in charge of each one? Where is each one headquartered?

    Narrator has a pleasing texture and cadence, but his voice is fuzzy (not crisp). He mumbles somewhat, making it hard to distinguish some words, and he doesn't differentiate enough between character voices, making it hard to tell when one person stops talking and another starts. I stopped listening and mostly read the book, instead.

    I probably won't read the sequels, based on reviews for books 2 and 3 (and a shockingly high price jump).

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy B from Kansas 05-28-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written and read, just has some language, etc"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    No, I would not recommend it to anyone because of the language and one or two sex scenes (not graphic, just unnecessary). Also, I had a little trouble keeping up with all the characters, all of the cities, and with the timeline jumping around a lot.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was very well read with very likeable characters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed when he met the man and the girl during his "test".


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

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    If I were to listen to it again, I would take notes so I wouldn't get lost in the story and have to back up so much.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve 07-28-14
    Steve 07-28-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story. Okay narration. Bad language."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    There are two things that would have influenced me to rate this audio book higher. 1. The book has some bad language. I feel swear words were used unnecessarily. 2. The narration was hard to follow during conversations between characters. After listening to several hours of the book I was still unable to pick who was speaking during conversations between two people because the narrator didn't change his voice in any way. Every character sounded the same.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I think the narrator should have used more inflection to his voice when speaking as different characters.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Blood Song?

    I would not have cut any scenes from Blood Song, just the bad language.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, I like the story. I loved the idea of the Orders and the world this author was able to create and portray. The bad language and poor narration are what weaken this audio book. I'm sad to read in the reviews of the sequel that the language gets worse... Sadly, I won't be listening to it because of that.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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