Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a very satisfying, well-plotted book. It could use some editing (more on that later) but had a lot going for it: some well-drawn characters with their own arcs, an interesting world with a sufficiently complex group of societies, an engaging main character, and both major and minor conflicts that keep a reader turning the pages. I liked the framing technique, using a final plot point (a voyage to a probable execution, with him telling his story to a historian) to reveal his life story. As is so often the case, I could have used less of his training as a young boy, but it's pretty well integrated with the more exciting middle and end. There is mystery and romance and very entertaining action.
What I hated was the lack of editing--specifically, the run-on sentences. From a random page: "Nortah quickly abandoned attempts to teach the men the bow, none of them had the muscle or the skill for it..." There are examples on almost every page, and sometimes two or three close together. "He was always like this before a fight, for some reason the impending violence seemed to calm him." Once is a stylistic choice, but hundreds of times is beyond sloppy. It marred the novel for me, and forced me to re-read whole passages time and again. Here's the irony--it's dead simple to fix.
Good novel, though. I'll look for the next one--but I'll peek at it first to see if it's edited.
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