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3.6 out of 5 stars24
3.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 13 February 2009
All fantasy stories come in three books right? The Blood King sure felt like middle chapter material with the extended character development that results of army building, journey making and companion saving antics. The group splits in to two, offering parallel plots which are expected to merge at the final fight. However, as the final third of the book opened it was clear that the second book in the series was to include the conclusion to the Necromancer Chronicles. Ultimately the finale almost seemed rushed, quite odd since the rest of the book is so slow. It's not tedious at any point, just not offering any sustained excitement until the final chapters. The Blood King is an unremarkable, easy going and light fantasy read. Rainy day material.
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on 2 January 2013
`Book 2 in the chronicles of the necromancer' continues with Prince Martris Drayke's personal journey with his discovery and practicing of potent magic. Having narrowly escaped being murdered by his brother Jared, the Prince is under pressure to learn to use his magic to summon an army of the dead- for time is running out. The only way he is able to reclaim his father's throne is confrontational combat, against not only Tris but also Foor Arontala who is a dark mage of great and terrible power. Foor Arontala plans to raise the Obsidian King and in doing so would cause a significant imbalance within the currents of magic, thus causing such a change in the world as to cast a dark shadow over The Winter Kingdoms...

This exciting book is a real page-turner, as the story continues with even more electrifying suspense and heart pounding moments that will leave you breathless. The believable, distinctive characters pull you into the most extraordinary world and intense saga of raging enmity, tyranny and powerful magic that is wielded for both good and evil. The rich, detailed descriptions add to the atmospheric quality of the setting that is so exquisite, hence one is able to clearly envisage this fantasy world before your very eyes. Fast-paced with many unexpected twists and turns, this terrific read is so absorbing and tantalizingly tempting that you will be hard pressed to equal it within this genre. To include other creatures such as Ghosts and Vampires is totally inspired alongside great warriors and evil enemies (that you cannot help but loathe), including other remarkable characters that are so `real' through their emotions (such as the feisty warrior-princess Kiara Isencroft for example). The healer Carina, the bard Carroway, the soldier Ban Soterius and the mercenary Jonmarc Vahanain are just a few other characters whom I liked and who added to the depth and realism of the complex story.

This epic fantasy tale is a labyrinth of interconnecting threads that are delicately interwoven and layered on top of one another, making this something so interesting and detailed as to astonish and amaze! I was really able to `stick my teeth' into this series and loose myself within a fantastic world where you constantly are learning more about the different creatures and characters, the magic that holds such sway over the direction of each individuals' future and Prince Martris' quest of a lifetime. As an avid reader of this genre I was so impressed by Gail Z Martin's writing, which epitomizes everything you desire within great, masterful fantasy - such as bloodthirsty brilliant battles, raging rifts between mighty realms and a concoction of cleverly crafted characters and creatures that bring this tale to life!

This book is just fantastic and not only do I highly recommend it, but I also urge you to add it to your bookshelf if you have not done so already.
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on 13 February 2009
I like this series so far, both The Summoner and Blood King are good additions to the fantasy genre. However Martin's work is nowhere near the top of the list of great Fantasy authors, while her work is good there are some major flaws with both of her novels, especially Blood King. With Blood King it seems that this novel particularly at the end was very rushed, to me it just seemed as if a large amount of the story was missing and sadly that has turned what could have been a great book into only a good book. That being said I still think that this book and series are still well worth reading.

The story starts of straight after the end of The Summoner with Tris and his friends seeking refuge with King Staden of the Principalities from this base of operation Tris and his friends plan for the the coming war against his evil brother Jared and his puppet master the fire mage Foor Arontala. Along the way Tris will meet unsuspecting allies and fight ancient enemies, he will discover the full damage his brothers evil reign has done to his country as he witnesses the devastation and misery of his people. With fighting to control his power, will Tris and his friends manage to win the day against overwhelming odds? Only one thing is for sure the King in waiting must do whatever it takes to free his country from the tyrant and his mage.

A book well worth reading, even with it's many flaws. I've just ordered Martin's third book, lets hope that she can turn a good series into a great one.
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on 22 January 2009
I gave the first book The Summoner (Chronicles of the Necromancer) three stars for being an enjoyable read with some nice twists on the usual fantasy stereotypes, but slightly by the numbers. This book continues in the same vein but I jolly well enjoyed it!

I think this series has a bit of a heart versus head thing going on. Any fantasy fan will pick up on the shortcoming in the book(s); rushed storyline, slightly shallow characterisation, details and sub-plots brushed over. However, on the positive side it's very well written, the story is tightly controlled, and the characters are likeable (which is quite an achievement given the light back-story).

Tris and co. move along quite swiftly through various amounts of peril towards the showdown on the eve of the Hawthorn Moon when the Obsidian King will rise. A couple of the secondary characters get sidelined along the way, but this just seems to accelerate the main storyline. The speed of the story lends a sense of inevitability about the outcome - that all will be well in the end. There's little room for doubt or fear for the characters, which eliminates any suspense from the proceedings.

Despite all that it's a fun read that entertains and is engaging. I want to know what happens next and where the author will take the series and/or the characters. I feel that Gail Z. Martin has written an accessible and enjoyable series that nicely fills the gap in waiting for the nth book in the must-read epic series. Actually that sounds like faint praise, so I'll say that it's four stars are for achieving what it sets out to do. Not an epic but never tries to be.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2008
Last month, I reviewed The Summoner, which although quite full of generic fantasy tropes, and clearly aimed as a stable, core-market book, (though with nicer than usual artwork) was nevertheless fun to read. The Blood King is, essentially, more of the same.

Which is not to say that's a bad thing, but with this sequel, and Tris' return to Margolan to defeat his murdering brother, Jared, and the suitably mad/evil firemage, Foor Arontala, there was the opportunity to do something a bit different. Instead, The Blood King unfolds with a (admittedly fun) inevitability, and everything I expected to happen, particularly towards the end of the book, happened.

While The Blood King, as with it's prequel, doesn't do that much new, it is still a fun read, and Martin improves her characterisation a lot in this book, particularly with regards to the sellsword, Vahanian, as we learn more about his past, and why he's such a cynic. The pacing is a bit slow in the first half, though this is countered by how much we learn about the Summoner's powers, and all the pieces being put in place for the final conflict to stop Jared and Arontala raising the ancient evil, The Obsidian King, to destroy the world. Which, as I've said before, everybody, be they mad bad guys or not, should realise is a bad thing.

One of my favourite scenes in this book was the meeting of the Blood Council -- the vayash moru (vampires, if you remember). While they are basically still your typical vamps, learning a bit more about their history within a fantasy setting was interesting, and book three, Dark Haven, should hopefully build on this. However, the unexpected romance between the good guy, Tris, and the good girl, Kiara, worked better in The Summoner, in my opinion. Then, they realised something was going on, but were too busy preparing for war ... now they're at war, and deciding it's time to announce their feelings. Still, I suppose they were expecting to die...

Overall, The Blood King isn't a bad read. It's not wildly inventive, it ends just as you expect, but it is good fun, and it's a good-fun enough read that I'll be back for more.
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on 25 February 2011
A promising start to a fantasy series. Unfortunately, the characters lack individuality and the different points of view all appear samey. Very predictable plot and too hero-driven for my liking.

Gail Martin has attempted to mix a fantasy story with a romance novel, which just ruined the fantasy story. Describing at great length how there are no less than 3 love-of-my-life type relationships forming in a small group of adventurers gets old real quick. She should have stuck to the main story line, and kept the romance to the one relationship that has a direct impact on the story line, and in less detail.

While I enjoyed parts of the story, I ended up skipping large sections. Had hoped that a lot of the "mistakes" were limited to book 1 and that book 2 would focus on good story telling. Unfortunately book 2 was no improvement on book 1, if anything it shifted further towards a romance novel. Am only glad that I did not buy book 3 and book 4.
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on 18 November 2010
This second instalment reveals more details about Tris' family history and the magical orb known as the Soulcatcher. Martin explains political background which is meaningful to the assassination of the princes' family and it adds depth and credibility to the story.

It is also interesting to see how two main female characters, princess Kiara and healer Carina are developing. Martin manages to find a clever way to draw similarities and yet to show good contrast between them. An added bonus for me is the introduction of a small hunting dragon called Jae.

I am a big fan of Trudi Canavan's writing and have read The Black Magician Trilogy as well as The Age of Five series. Gail Martin's debut with The Chronicles of the Necromancer is better than I expected.
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on 9 June 2008
If you liked 'The Summoner' then chances are you'll like this one too as it's pretty much just more of the same. I find Gail Martin's writing style to be mediocre at best and the plotline itself, while entertaining, is rather predictable and leans towards the cliche. That being said I still found it fairly enjoyable and satisfying - the protagonists, while stereotypical and a tad underdeveloped, are likeable enough, and despite the obvious padding the book works up some decent momentum for the final confrontation. Overall I would say that it's a good time-waster if you don't want to have to think too much.
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on 4 January 2014
I read this series of books some time ago in paperback. I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them again.. The story is fast paced and involved and Gail Z. Martin has produced an excellent story that allow all of the characters to develop within their world. A great story teller you are Gail & thank you for writing with your usual flair!! I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a really good story!
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on 5 December 2012
This book certainly wetted my appetite for more of the same, very pleased that the series was available on Kindle - full of exciting happenings and not too much romance - just enough.
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