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Publisher's Summary

Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus' vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more. Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus's grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm.

But those gifted with the blood-song are never destined to live a quiet life. Many died in King Janus' wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target, not just for those seeking revenge but for those who know what he can do. The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries. Something moves against the Realm, something that commands mighty forces, and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.

©2014 Anthony Ryan (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    5,178
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    522
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    112
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Great Story but performance had oddities

Performance had the occasional odd editing where the tone of voice changed sudenly. It waz distracting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Second half was amazing!!!!

I think the second half of the book was one of the best. Getting a little more used to the narrator's voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love this New Series

Any additional comments?

Finally, some stand-out new fantasy. It checks all the boxes for traditional epic fantasy without feeling formulaic. It's well-written, intelligent, and introduces its own flavor of the mystic. Highly recommended to the seasoned fantasy reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Second book just o.k.

The second book started out o.k. but seemed to mesh into a kind of soup in the middle. At times it was confusing. When you really get into a series you know the characters, their names and even emotions. I found this book hovered on the edge of all of this although some descriptions of individuals were easily transformed into the mind and stayed as you saw them all the way through both books. I feel it was written with the ending not known at all before the beginning was even started. Some characters were well fitted in while others should have been left out as the confusion with names and their closeness to other names made it hard to visualise who the author was talking about for awhile. The ending was the biggest shock as I thought it was only a two book series. Perhaps the next book will make you a part of it more than this one. It was still a good book to listen to but I think only on audio.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DarthVal
  • Hickory, NC, United States
  • 11-26-14

A great follow up to Blood Song

GAH! After so many pages (or, in my case, hours of listening to the audio book) of rapt attention, it ends on a cliff hanger! One of the things that I so admired about Blood Song was that it left options open, but concluded with what I felt to be a complete story. However, Tower Lord builds and builds in delicious tension and excitement and then it ends.

This is not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. I enjoyed it immensely. While the story takes us through new adventures and intrigue, Ryan uses the same formula of changing perspective and intense battle scenes to weave his tale. We see a return of our favorite characters that did not die in the previous book, as well as meet up with new and interesting characters.

My favorite new addition to this exceptional cast of characters is Reva. She is a tortured soul, fighting to find herself after being abused, manipulated and being used as a pawn in the schemes of others. In this character, I think that Ryan has created a female heroine who is truly the equal of men. Amazingly, for a very patriarchal world, the author has a large cast strong characters of both genders.

The action in Tower Lord is just as well-written and intense as Blood Song. There is a still a heavy militaristic slant that works well for Ryan's writing style. The book offers a variety of fighting styles, this time adding a lot more skill in the archer class, without backing off on the swordplay. The battle scenes also range from small skirmishes to broad battle sequences.

This book is a great read for fans of epic fantasy. While it incorporates magic, the focus is by far placed on martial skills. The world building is centered mostly around politics and intrigue, rather than creating a world vastly different from any we've seen in history. The result is a well-balanced story in which the reader can easily get lost the plot. I am looking forward to the next book.


A note about the narration: The tone and quality of Steven Brand's voice was quite pleasing. However, there was not really any distinction in vocal inflection to denote different characters. This presented a challenge when listening to a book with so many characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Even more compelling than the first book!

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

Absolutely! I loved listening to this book and the plot and story is so well written and narrated that I would recommend it to any friends who would enjoy the fantasy genre.

What did you like best about this story?

How it captured me and made me listen to it almost non-stop until the end.

What does Steven Brand bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He gives the characters a better voice and more life than reading it ever would and guides you much better into the story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many, though my favorites would be Frentis' reunion with the characters of the previous book. I'd elaborate, but I don't want to spoil anything.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Still very well written and narrated but wavers

Warning: Lightly touching spoiler territory

I enjoyed both the writing and narration almost as much as the first novel. The enduring eventful journeys of Vaelin and those he meets continue to entertain. I particularly enjoyed the plot arc of Reva; although, was a bit disappointed when it strayed dangerously close to current day LGBT politics. I have no problem with characters having different sexual orientations; only when the story veers into 2014 advocacy territory on any subject. Hopefully, this won't continue to be a defining characteristic of Reva who is a much, much more interesting disruptive force to place too much focus on that.

Princess Lyrna continues to be as beguiling as she is interesting and Ryan's use of her for a book-ending cliff-hanger ensures my impatient waiting of his next installment in the saga.

Speaking of which, I was pleased to find that Frentis still lives and is destined to play a key role. Ryan's plot arc with him and his encounter, and forced affair, with the witcher-woman is very poignant.

Half a star off for threatening to diminish Reva's character role; otherwise another fine piece of work.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • Silver Spring, MD, United States
  • 08-15-14

Solid Sequel

As sequels go, this is a good second effort though I will not say it sure that if you liked the Blood Song one you'll like the second. I very much liked Tower Lord, for its creative narrative rhythm, the focus on relationships and the texture of the characters. However, there are things that could throw you for a loop.

There are four perspective characters, five if you count the historian who is sort of telling the story. The perspective changes every chapter and is clearly delineated, but four is too many for some people. Also, those who are interested solely in the story of Valen will be disappointed.

The pattern is the same as the last book where the interludes are the present and the perspective narratives are in the recent past culminating in the present time as marked by the historian's timeline. Unfortunately, this gives the book an air of inevitability. You know after the first chapter where the final battle will be and who will be involved. I think this doesn't spoil the ride, but the outcome doesn't really feel in question.

This book is dark; lots of rape and murder. It is abject and often creatively done. I applaud Ryan's ability as a dark storyteller he really knows how to twist the knife.

The narrator is nowhere. He's a blank slate. No characterizations, barely any accents, no tonal differences between genders. It is difficult to tell who is talking. They should replace him. They have nothing to lose.

I know this sounds like I am mostly down on this book. I am not. I genuinely liked it. It had seldom used elements like characters who were homosexual or dyslexic like people sometimes are and it colors the story without making the whole world about it. This lends it a maturity that fantasy sometimes goes without. Its dark parts are creatively dark and well described and its characters are relateable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A bit of a letdown

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was Ok, but not brilliant the way that Blood Song was.

Would you recommend Tower Lord to your friends? Why or why not?

Probably not, as this time around the story was weaker, the main character was mostly absent, and the some of language was excessively offensive in ways that really detracted from enjoyment of the story.

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

Vaelin continues to be my favorite character, so it was a shame that we did not get to see as much of him as before. I actually like Lyrna as well - I like her growth. I always thought she was better than Vaelin gave her credit for being.

Do you think Tower Lord needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

It will definitely need a follow-up, as this one leaves you dangling over a cliff. I don't want to give up on the story, but if it continues the way the second book went, I'm not sure I will stick with it.

Any additional comments?

I have been anxiously awaiting this sequel since I finished Blood Song, which was ABSOLUTELY brilliant! This, however, fell flat in comparison. I really like the "Band of Brothers" that we got to know in the first book, and was particularly invested in Vaelin, so I was looking forward to seeing how his story would develop. Instead, I saw very little of Vaelin, Canis, & Nortah (though at least we got to see a good deal of Frentis) and spent (I thought) way too much time with Reva and Lyrna. (Though it was good to get a chance to see Lyrna grow.) Also, I was OK with a few swear words popping up here and there (these are soldiers in the heat of battle, after all), but this book seems to have pushed the boundaries for crudeness WAY over the line. It felt more like it was done just for the sake of being able to do it. Some of the words and phrases are so bad that I definitely don't want my teens to read it (these are older teens - almost adults.) <br/><br/> I hope that Mr. Ryan will write his next book in the brilliant style of writing that made Blood Song so great!

16 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Hal
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 07-03-14

Common epic fantasy mistake of too many viewpoints

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, because it is the sequel to a very good book, and there is hope for future books in the series being as good as the first. The prose is also great.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader makes absolutely zero effort at doing voices to distinguish between characters, and between characters and the narration of the plot. While his voice is pleasant, this makes it once of the worst audiobooks I've listened to. It is especially difficult as there are sections where conversations are written jumping between different characters without stuff like "said character x", "exclaimed character y". Because of this, with this narrator, it is next to impossible to know which characters are speaking which lines

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Sure

Any additional comments?

Blood Song was the breakout hit for Anthony Ryan. Unfortunately, it seems that this has gone to his head a little. In order to make sure he can pump out these novels for quite some time, the pace of the book has slowed down dramatically in comparison to the first book. Much worse though, is that we now suddenly have a million different viewpoints. This is a common trap that fantasy authors often fall into on the success of a first book, even when that success and book are based primarily around a single viewpoint.People liked the first book because Valen is an interesting character. It is a massive mistake to go from 80% Valen, 20% other in the first book to 25% Valen in this one. It's a bildungsroman, and should focus on Valen. people don't care much about the other, much less interesting characters.It's Wheel of Time/Sword of Truth all over again. The authors realise the series may be the only one people ever really read, so they need to make them much bigger and with more books than originally planned. Unfortunately this comes at the cost of quality, with so many viewpoints introduced that we barely see the characters (in this case, character) we came to see.

26 of 43 people found this review helpful