Blood Song: Book 1 of Raven's Shadow Paperback – 20 Feb 2014
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Blood Song is a tremendous debut . . . fast-paced, action-packed and character-driven (FANTASY BOOK CRITIC)
A top contender for most impressive debut of the year . . . Blood Song is a powerful epic that, while ending with a sense of closure, hints at more to come (SFFWORLD)
An utterly engrossing high-fantasy epic from a major new talent that explores themes of war, faith, and loyalty amidst incredible action scenes and artfully developed characters (BUZZFEED)
A mix of The Name of the Wind and The Left Hand of God . . . I cannot recommend this book enough (BESTFANTASYBOOKS.COM)
Blood Song delighted me again and again (FANTASY FACTION)
This is epic fantasy at its best with action, rivalries, espionage, the promise of future revelations and ever-present twists (BOOKBAG)
An instant sensation . . . an excellent start to this series (READ DREAM RELAX)
Smartly-written coming-of-age story . . . Compelling (SFX)
I still love - and want - that feeling of completely absorbing escapism that good fantasy can supply - and Blood Song brings it in force (PORNOKITSCH)
Ryan hits all the high notes of epic fantasy-a gritty setting, ancient magics, ruthless intrigue, divided loyalties, and bloody action (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)
Well wrought characters, a fascinating world, and crackling prose . . . Not to be missed (KINGOFTHENERDS.COM)
Blood Song is unique . . . The next Epic Fantasy book everybody should read (BLOTTED PAGES)
An immensely satisfying and immersive experience (Dark Matter)
One of the next master storytellers (Fantasy Book Review)
A powerful, action-packed epic fantasy debut from an exciting new British talentSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What I will say is that I am a picky so-and-so and, as an example, I recently read Mark Charon Newton's first book (Nights of Viljamur)- didn't like it (dull characters and too many quotes lifted directly from 'The God Delusion', etc) despite other rave reviews, and have given up on various other traditionally published books over recent years despite the time, effort and money spent on publishing them. There was a time I would finish a book even if I found it dull or hated it, I can't do that these days. I just don't have the patience for bad writing or stories that I don't like or don't grip me.
This is self published and is the best fantasy read I have had this year - though Mark Lawrence's Prince & King of Thorns is a close second.
It's not all constant action, it's a slow burn novel (like Robin Hobb and others) but you're always kept interested and the depth of character achieved and the nature and strength of the bond between the 'brothers' is great stuff. There's plenty of intrigue and the authorial 'reveals' along the way as the story unfolds have been paced very well indeed.
Ok, there are a few typos (names spelt wrong and a coma or two missing ...IMHO) but those issues are irrelevent and I forgive the author 100%. This is an amazing effort and a fantastic story.
Thank you, Anthony you have given self publishing a good name!
EDIT - I have the self published version. I see that Mr Ryan has quite rightly been picked up by a traditional publisher now. Quite right too. Well deserved. Comparison to David Gemmell though is something I don't understand. Ryan has his own voice. DG was indeed an Legend and while Ryan might quite enjoy the comparison, I think he stands up perfectly well on the strength of his own efforts.
The first quality of this book is the world-building, and the way it is done almost incidentally, in a seamless way as you read through the book.
You do not get “treated” with pages and pages of glossaries, because the author has accumulated so many characters and names of places that you would be simply lost and confused in the absence of such glossaries. You do however get a few maps: a general one at the beginning, and one blown up section of this general map that corresponds to each of the main parts of the story.
The story of Vaelin Al Sorna is told by one Lord Vernier, a historian and a noble of the Alpirian Empire and each part of the book begins with his account and comments on the events as told by Vaelin. However, each part is followed by a much longer piece that tells what really happened, as opposed to the rather “sanitised” version served by Vaelin to Lord Vernier. This is one of the tricks that keeps the reader engaged and interested all along, at least that is how it worked out for me as I looked out for (the many) discrepancies in the two tales.
The world in which the story is set is that of the Unified Realm, a northern continent made up of what were formally four kingdoms which one of the Kings forcefully unified a few decades before.Read more ›
> The Characters - No black and white heroes/villains or run down cliche's here. Just characters that are all too real, with their own unique personalities, world views and faults. And as they go through deep life experiences, they actually develop! For example, when we first met Nortah, I envisioned him being your typical spoilt, petty brat. Very quickly I was disspelled of that impression - by the end of the book, he was one of my favourite characters. People shouldn't be judged solely based on first impressions, and they can change.
> The Pace - Considering the first 300 or so pages are dedicated to the 'training' section, there are a surprising amount of significant moments, many of which foreshadow later events. It nevers gets boring. Mr Ryan finds a fine balance when building his carefully crafted world, never cramming too much information in, yet not leaving his readers hanging either. It kept my interest, left me wanting more.
> The Intrigue - So many mysteries, large and small, are scattered throughout this novel: from the reason Vaelin was given to the Sixth Order; The Witch's bastard, the One Who Waits, and many questions surroundings the plot and various characters goals and motivations. What I especially enjoy is the fact that many of the answers are within the text before the reveals! Mr Ryan has created a consistent world, where every action makes sense within the context of his world. Learn the rules, then pay close attention.
All in all, a fantastic debut and an excellent start to the Raven's Shadow Trilogy. I will certainly be purchasing the next book, 'Tower Lord'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book from start finish kept you riveted and not wanting to put the book down. Hope book two is as good.Published 2 days ago by christopher peter smith
Good story, cross between Cornwall and George Martin Keeps you guessing as to what will happenPublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Blood song has a great vision but for me doesn't hit all the marks, I find where aspects of the book get my curiosity stirring and want me to find out more, it never really... Read morePublished 9 days ago by K Clewley
Started a bit confusing with the names and places, turned out to be a fantastic read.
On to the next book, hope it's at least half as good.
Bought this book on impulse glad I did, great characters decent plot .
Sometimes you just want a book you can relax with and be entertained this was one of those.
I have really enjoyed this detailed exciting book of adventure. It's really worth a read and I recommend it to anyone who wants to lose themselves for a few days!Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
This was fantastic. It has an incredible reputation and I had high expectations but all the praise it has received is fully deserved. Read more
loved it , couldn't put this book down and just had to read all 3 ... very enjoyable if you like to lose yourself in another world .Published 1 month ago by nicola robinson