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Blood Song: Book 1 of Raven's Shadow Audio Download – Unabridged

4.7 out of 5 stars 724 customer reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I won't bore anyone with another summary. I'm just here to point out a few of the reasons why I enjoyed this novel so much and to add my own 5 star rating to the masses.

> 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'.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a rather superb piece of “heroic fantasy”, especially for a first novel, and it is indeed well worth the five stars that so many other reviewers have given it. It is not perfect, but then no book really is, and it all depends upon what is meant by “perfect” anyway! However, it has just about all the ingredients that make a piece of “heroic fantasy” outstanding: world-building, plot, characterisation, action, and talent in keeping the reader engaged.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
WOW, an astonishing first book in the series and most definitely its high point. I have cracked through most of the big and smaller names names in the fantasy genera and this one has fallen under my radar until now. I am writing this review after having read the whole trilogy back to back over a span of a week (yes my eye's hurt now) and this book is top stuff.

This book follows Vaelin Al Sorna, and his growth through a order and eventual fights. As the blurb may indicate he is inducted into the apex group of leaders / worrier order and to this effect we see him grow from a young boy into a leader towards the end of the book. The initial part of the book is all about growth and this is fleshed out in tantalising detail, yet unlike many other books, they details do not feel weighed down or unnecessary padding, it works well. The training regime and brutality of it also serves to create bonds between Vaelin and other member's of the groups which feels genuine and also develops throughout.

Throughout the book you see morality in plenty of shades of black and white and everything in between and this is written very well, with plenty of characters motives not becoming apparent until the book is fleshed out. We also see the elements of a larger overarching story and while it does finish sooner then I would like, it does transition well into the second book.

Overall, this book is amazing and a smashing entry in the Trilogy. Sadly however this is the highlight of the trilogy with book two being slightly weaker and book three being absolutely shambolic that I nearly cried and had to read other reviews part way through to ensure I was not going mad.
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