Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Military
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Number of Pages: 624
Source: ARC from author (THANK YOU!)
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Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus’s vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more.
Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus’s grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm. But those gifted with the blood-song are never destined to live a quiet life. Many died in King Janus’s wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target, not just for those seeking revenge but for those who know what he can do.
The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries. Something moves against the Realm, something that commands mighty forces, and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.
Let me tell you a story.
Around December 2012, a good friend of mine, Kureha, approached me to say that there was this book on Amazon that was getting huge attention. She told me I should check it out especially since I was starting to read more epic fantasy. Yup, you guessed it: that book was Blood Song by Anthony Ryan. I got myself a copy and read it in two sittings, and was in a huge hangover for days after that. It was one of the best epic fantasies I’ve ever read, and very few have come close to it. That’s why I was ecstatic when he finally found publishers willing to print his book and spread it far and wide. I’ve never been so happy for an author before. Anthony is very talented; I love his storytelling skills, and I love the characters he creates. It’s only fitting for him to be given the chance to share his story with more people from other countries and cultures, who, I hope, will also relate to Vaelin al Sorna.
After that, all I had left was the waiting game. I waited TWO YEARS to read the second installment.
Alas, the wait is over…
…FOR I NOW HAVE THE ARC IN MY HANDS!!!
I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. I just HAD to brag.
Look! I even got a sweet message!
“Propaganda”?! Man, I’m so touched. That’s legit one of the best names to call my fangirling. Mehehehe.
The author has been such a cool guy. He sent me this ARC even though he didn’t have to (I… I may have nudged him a little~), but in any case, I read it as soon as I got it and you wanna know what I think?
IT WAS AWESOME!!!
One thing to look forward to here in Tower Lord is the introduction of POVs of new (and old!) characters, something that I welcomed warmly. Blood Song could be likened to a chronicle of Vaelin al Sorna, depicting events at different intervals of his life when he was in the Sixth Order, serving as more of a laying of the foundation and backstory of what will happen in the second installment. If you’re expecting Tower Lord to be the same way, you’ll be disappointed, as it’s more fast-paced (with a slow beginning), especially with a lot of POVs showing different angles of the story, but somehow I thought they were all fitting. I loved the new perspectives. I mean, yes, I missed Vaelin, but it was awesome getting to know other vital characters intimately too, and not just from a distance.
Obviously, we get Vaelin’s POV. I missed him a lot and it was so nice getting reacquainted with him again. It was like meeting an old friend for the first time in a long while and seeing how much he has changed. And Vaelin did change. The events at the end of Blood Song has made him think and see things differently, and we see a different side of him here. Nevertheless, I still loved him, and I thought he was easier to relate to in this installment. He struggles with a lot of things, one of them being his reputation as a Darkblade and how it molded other people’s expectations of him. It was also really nice seeing him ponder about the boundaries of morality, about what must be done and what could have been done, while also maintaining this aura of leadership that attracts people to him. Suffice to say, he remains as my favorite character.
We also see things happen in Frentis’ POV, and man, his situation really made me sad. Out of all the characters, you can see that he’s the one who changed so much. In Blood Song, I pictured him as this merry guy who’s eager to lighten the mood, but because of certain circumstances, he turned quite dark, and I have nothing but sympathy for him. While reading this book, all I ever wanted to do was pat him on the back and whisper things will be okay(although to be honest, with how things went for him for the first half of the book, even I doubted). Aside from Vaelin, I think Frentis will be a favorite among the readers just from the experiences he went through and the steps he took to overcome them. By the end of the book, I just wanted him and Vaelin to team up already!
The last two POVs were from two females – Reva and Princess Lyrna. I also loved these two to bits. They were both strong ladies who were able to overcome various trials and tribulations, situations I don’t think I would have survived myself. I loved how Anthony Ryan gave them so much personality and how he made them so consistent throughout. Like Reva is this person who has been brainwashed and abused as a child, raised to hate Vaelin, and you can really see the internal conflict happening within her as she experiences kindness from him. Princess Lyrna, on the other hand, finds herself in the hands of her enemy, and she becomes really bad-ass later on, which I appreciated. I loved seeing her grow out of her shell, to be thrown in a shitty situation and come out of it like a real queen.
All in all, I loved how polished each of them were. I loved how they never felt like filler, and how they contributed so much to the storyline – not just the different sides of their personalities but also the different angles of their common enemy, as each of them had to fight them in their own ways.
Of course, while there were many awesome stuff, there were also really… sad ones as well, especially when it came to the secondary characters. I mean, we got to meet a lot of the old ones, and many of them will come to Vaelin’s aid especially with the impending war, but just like our own historical wars in the real world, not everyone survives to tell the tale, and this book really devastated me in that aspect. But, at the same time, I welcomed it, too. I loved how realistic war was portrayed here. It’s shitty, it’s awful, and not everyone is immortal, despite how much we want them to be. I applaud Anthony Ryan for recognizing how horrific wars can be, and how everyone is vulnerable and at risk, and getting out there meant putting your life on the line because so much is at stake.
AND THAT ENDING. ARGGHHHH. I WANT THE NEXT BOOK NOW.
Overall, this book was awesomesauce. I wish I could say more, but I don’t really want to risk spoiling you guys, because books like this are meant to be read, enjoyed, and appreciated to the fullest. But if there’s one thing I can assure you, it’s that this book was an awesome ride from the start to the very end. You will get to see new and old characters, and you will be able to appreciate them more because of the switching POVS (which were nicely done, I promise). Anthony Ryan really puts the “epic” in “epic fantasy” because this was epic as epic could be.
And now, the wait begins once more for book three…
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