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on 16 September 2005
September 8, 2005
Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess
Set in a terrifying Britain in the near future Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess portrays a time when science and industry have gone mad and power-crazed warlords bestride the land, wreaking havoc and violent death on all opposition. They are armed with potent cyber tools including 'womb tanks,' which can clone any living creature, and blend humans with animals, extracting parts from both. They can also repair bodies, and improve them by adding and subtracting qualities such as compassion and fear. Into this ruined, former industrial landscape strides the young hero, Sigurd, descendant of the ruling house of the Volsoms, favoured by the god Odin. Armed solely with a knife ground down to dust Sigurd's destiny is to rid the land of a fiercesome dragon and fight for his place as King of a united Britain.
Bloodsong is peopled by heroes and villains and virtually indestructible cyber robots. Burgess' powerful imagination has created entirely convincing scientific advances just waiting to be invented. The story which abounds with treachery, evil and violence, is based loosely on the old Volsunga saga and is over 300 pages long. It reveals the best and the worst in human beings but is still the stuff of nightmares with its blood-drenched cover an excellent pointer to the violent contents. I couldn't bear to put it down until I'd finished all the twists and turns of the remarkable story so I stayed up all night reading it. If you enjoyed Bloodtide you'll love Bloodsong, but like me you'll be begging Burgess to write another and make it a trilogy.
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on 9 March 2006
Burgess continues his awesome, flesh-creeping and blood sodden reworkings of Icelandic sagas set 200 years into a post-apocalyptic future. This and its predecessor Bloodtide are amongst the most terrifying and challenging books to appear on the young adult bookshelf in years. They are superb but deeply unsettling. I read Bloodsong in a single breath-held marathon and ended the book drained and full of sorrow. All human vanity, frailty, deceit is on intensely provokative display. I hope Burgess's own family life is a little jollier than his fictional worlds. Both books would work equally well for teens of either sex (and on which subject - Burgess is a master at dealing with sex in his books). But expect some disturbed sleep for the whole family afterwards.
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on 9 February 2012
The story of Sigurd really does begin quickly and Melvin doesn't waste too much time going over what's happened since Siggy became King Sigmund in Bloodtide but the basic gist is there is still great evil in the former United Kingdom. That comes in the form of a mutant being sterotyped as the dragon Fafnir and his hoard of gold is not just gold but all the many bizarre and sinister technologies of this dystopian world set in the future.
Over all it is a thrilling adventure story, the action never really stops although I did feel it lag a bit during the time Sigurd spent in 'Hel' with Bryony (aka Brighild the fallen valkyrie) right up to when he met the Nibblong siblings. Melvin did manage to keep the wicked mother-in-law in the plot which ultimately leads to the tragic love triangle.
Yet the only real difficulty I had with the story was the way he portrayed Sigurd's character from half way through to the end, it almost became Jesus-like with the millions of people crowding to see him and the way Sigurd kept questioning his own life, his feelings, his past etc. It just didn't seem much like a dragon slaying warrior king-reborn to me but perhaps like Jesus was in the garden before he was betrayed.
But either way yet again Melvin has managed to reinvigerate with fresh gore and woe this tragic norse legend of family betrayal, love and misfortune all because of a cursed ring.
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on 6 July 2013
Not as good as the first book bloodtide but still a good read, interesting characters a few twists and turns
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on 11 April 2016
Fine, just what I was looking for, perfect.
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on 28 July 2015
Gripping read
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on 29 June 2006
Tell you what, Bloodtide was fantastic (the old cover is better than the new wierd footprint one, by the way).

Perhaps this is why Bloodsong was a slight letdown. Yeah, it was diverting and entertaining. Crayley was a great idea, and I like Hogni for my own reasons (read the book), but it wasn't as exciting ang fast-paced as Bloodtide

Burgess, Sigurd seems slightly-too-perfect. You are sure you don't fancy him or something? :)
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on 26 December 2007
I wasn't sure which of the many terrible examples to choose to illustrate how bad this book was. I settled on the part of the story where the hero finds the love of his life trapped in a fire protected underworld, gets her pregnant and sets out on a quest to find a way of rescuing her from her prison. Two days on and he's sleeping with a half-man half-dog who tried to have him killed in a pub with machine guns, flamethrowers and a mortar!

Poorly written and desperately unoriginal at times, as well as making the hero into a post-apocalyptic saviour molded on Jesus, here are a few ideas in the story that you might recognise from elsewhere:

- The hero being bathed in a fluid that totally protects their skin, apart from one area of weakness that gets missed
- A ring covered in markings that brings ill fortune to the wearer
- A knife that only one person can remove from the material it is lodged into (although in this occasion the author swaps a stone for a modern-day lift as the object of choice)
- The knife can only be wielded by one person and can cut through anything, and even be used to cut through people/objects from other dimensions.

Maybe it's just me, but if any of the above sounds bad, then don't make the mistake I made.
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