Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review: Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Title:         Blood Song
Author:   Anthony Ryan
Genre:      Epic Fantasy
Rating:     ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I’m taking Maria’s introductory remark: I Highly Recommend Blood Song.

Apparently, I’m having this High Fantasy read-a-thon recently thus my taste on the said genre has just come back, albeit, my purpose was for preparation for our Book Club’s Monthly read which, unfortunately, I failed finishing reading it before the discussion. Anyway, it cannot be denied that I feel so fortunate stumbling upon this book.

Vaelin Al Sorna, Son of the King’s Battle Lord, at the age of ten, he is left by his father at the Sixth Order to be trained to fight and is only provided by his father with his “Loyalty is our strength” belief. But to what point shall he stand his loyalty to his family if entering the Order means leaving and forgetting everything he has?

Mad at his father’s confusing decision, he faces the Order with all it requires even it implies wiping out his past. Upon training he faces trials, gains friends, and even earns recognition but threats to his life linger. How can he be a fully Brother of Sixth Order and servant of Faith if hindrance aren’t just the difficult Order’s tests but emanating death attempts on him brought by assassins. But the question is, who wants him dead?

IF Science Fiction has a military SF novel Ender’s Game, I would like to think this is High Fantasy’s answer to its call. Blood Song – one of the best Epic Fantasy books, in fact Best Military Fantasy piece so far, this century has ever created. It starts with Vernier’s Account. Disorienting at first since it always happen to new books, but once Vaelin’s life story started, you’d be able to spell out UNPUTABLEDOWN.

It is hard for me to shrug off the apparent fact that Mr. Anthony Ryan is a great story teller. He knows when to pull the reader with evocative emotions. He started the story with innocence of a boy and gradually leads me to complex, yet wonderful world. Moreover, he knows where and when the reader regards and disregards what he reads and so he make advantage out of it by giving off very subtle motives and clues that eventually blows out at the very end of the book. Thus, after reading the book, a realization may come that the whole story is just delicately stitched from the very beginning to give way for its explosive ending.

The world building may not as exceptional as it should seem but its contents such beliefs, religions and cultures are nonetheless, flawless and concrete. The countries are strongly discerned and tied with their respective religion and beliefs that could be seen in real world. This is quite of a few books that successfully convert depiction of real situation to the fictitious Fantasy one. The names of the characters may sound odd but distinction among respected people is distinguished through the earned additional name on its Family name. It is one of the unique ways of the book that caught my attention.

The story rotates around brotherhood. Truly, I am impressed by how the word brother exploited without the bond of blood of those who used it. Every time I read the said word among the five main characters, trials, bonds and concern to each other flashbacks. The book indeed not just focuses on World building development but more on Character development. Vaelin Al Sorna is not a genius character but he’s clever enough to be likable. Lastly, Blood Song possesses strong meaning of friendship that seldom books could do.

Yes, this book is no other than an Epic Fantasy. It is a coming-of-age story like other works being compared to it. But one thing I am certain and I can assure you, Blood Song can stand on its own and Blood Song is unique on its own way. It is indeed the next Epic Fantasy book everybody should read.

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