Top critical review
One person found this helpful
Good but anti-climactic...
on 10 December 2007
"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. For the amount of time the plot of the re-capture of Eslen was given in the book, it really didn't pay off for me.
But despite all the flaws laid out above, I still think this is the best book in "The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" so far, largely because of the developments in the story which are revealed in it, particularly towards the end, with at least one quite surprising revelation coming to the fore.
Now comes the long wait for The Born Queen to be released.