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The Blood Knight: The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Book 3 Audio Download – Unabridged

4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 19 hours and 30 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 20 April 2010
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003IDMVRG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what to make of this instalment. I'll start with the criticism:

First, I was a little bit peeved to see that it was the first in the series to come out as a hardback (which I refused to buy) then peeved even more when the long-awaited map (which featured in the hardback) was not included in the paperback. Secondly I was under the impression this was a trilogy until about 20 pages from the end of this book. Of course I'm happy that there's another book, but Aristotle might have had a point about drama and three acts. Third point of criticism I take from my review of the Charnel Prince - the characters know more about the setting than the reader which can be confusing if you're balancing lots of fantasy novels, even though it makes for good dramatic effect (especially since he deftly avoids dei ex machinis).

However, these are all minor points and don't seriously detract from the quality of the novel. Anyone who likes the GRR Martin approach to individual chapters for individual characters will feel at home with the approach Keyes takes here. Moreover, he seems to have lifted an element of his own background and grafted it in detail on to some of the characters making each of them very believable. This really comes through, with the fencer, the musician, the scholarly monk all being very individual in their behaviour and language.

Because I thought it was a trilogy I anticipated all the plot threads being tied up as the book progressed, but this is certainly not the case as they diverge and twist and turn. I'm not even sure who's on who's side or where they'll be heading next - which makes it rather difficult to guess how the next book will shape up. I'd still love to know more about the Roanoke connection... but presumably that's something he'll drop in right at the end.

Roll on book 4.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The third and penultimate book in The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series, The Blood Knight resumes the story where we left off in The Charnel Prince. Robert Dare, the late king's brother, has usurped the throne of Crotheny. He has imprisoned his brother's wife, Muriele, but has been unsuccessful in capturing or killing her lackwit son or youngest daughter, Anne. Meanwhile, Anne has overcome numerous obstacles and returned to southern Crotheny, which she begins the difficult task of winning some of the noble lords to her cause and raising an army. The monk Stephen's path leads him into the east to find knowledge that will aid in combatting the rising evil in the land, whilst the former royal holter, Aspar, will likewise find his destiny taking him into the wilds to a final confrontation with the mystical Briar King.

From the start, The Blood Knight feels a little uneven. The story takes a while to speed up again as we are, at length, reintroduced to characters from the previous books and what they are up to. This takes some considerable time. Once the plot gets going again, things get more interesting, paticularly as we get to the biggest battles in the series so far (although these are mere skirmishes rather than large set-piece engagements, which I suspect will be held back for the final volume). However, the writing feels a little less confident than in the first two volumes. Things are not as tight and sloppy, whilst the inexplicable need to end every chapter on a cliffhanger gives the book a juddering pace which makes reading it at times mildly frustrating. Also, the extreme passivity of characters such as Aspar and Stephen becomes grating. They are both carried along by events outside their control, constantly second-guessing themselves and the people they need to trust.
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Format: Paperback
"The Blood Knight" is the best book to date of what is a good - but not great - fantasy series. There are a few revelations to move the plot in new directions, and there is LOTS and LOTS of action to keep it all moving at a fast pace.

Pretty much all of the parallel plotlines are interesting, and Keyes intertwines them excellently, finishing each chapter with a mini-cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more, reading several more chapters just so you can get back to where your favourite character left off. My main complaint character/story-wise is that I'm still not buying the strand about Leoff the composer - to me it just doesn't seem necessary or exciting. No doubt it will tie in well with the overall story in the fourth and final book, "The Born Queen", but I haven't been won over by it thus far.

I also have to say that I am becoming increasingly annoyed by the Briar King, who seems more and more to be becoming entirely pointless in the overall scheme of things. In the first book he was a harbinger of doom for the world; ever since then he has just faded to obscurity and beyond, and at this stage I don't have much hope that he has a purpose at all. One would think that a writer of Keyes' stature could pull something out of the bag with it, but I am skeptical, to say the least, about where he is planning to go with the Briar King.

The book is also slightly windy, and comes to a bit of an anti-climactic conclusion. The promised final battle isn't really a battle but a series of semi-exciting skirmishes, and Keyes conveniently rushes its conclusion by having one of the protagonists knocked out during the fighting, waking up after it's all over and having the outcome reported to him. I found this to be a cop-out.
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