Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: Blood's Pride

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

This thrilling new epic fantasy is set in a quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region, drawing together the warrior culture of Vikings, the wanderlust of desert nomads, and the oracles of ancient Greece.

We all know I love my epic fantasy tomes.  Melanie Rawn, Michelle West, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks...seriously its hard to convince me that the more pages there are the less interested I'll become.  World building is one of my favorite things to read about, I mean come on I have countless companion books for the shows and books I love.

This may be a good example folks can hold up from now on however.

Its not that this was bad exactly.  I just felt as if Manieri crammed things that may have served themselves better by being spread out throughout several books.  Character revelations, character motivations, even relationships all seemed to shove each other around.  They jockeyed for position like shoppers during Black Friday and in doing so fell short on development.

I realize this is part of a larger series, but Manieri seemed dead set on wrapping up some plotlines in that book instead of letting them come to a natural conclusion maybe later.  I'm not sure if it was because she had all these great ideas and was so excited by them she couldn't figure out what to cut and save or if this will be a trend throughout.

She also treated every plot as super important to the overall series plot, but were really character stories that probably aren't necessary to the larger whole.  It seemed to me that at times Manieri took side stories--interesting tales about the soldiers' interactions, curious asides between the conquered people, discussions about religion and faith--that a lot of authors are now putting out as 'between' book novellas/novelettes (or are used in anthologies) to flesh out the world and inserted them into the whole of the book.  Quite a few of the asides could be left out or trimmed without affecting the overall book.  It would have made the pacing faster and the book's focus tighter overall.

Can I recommend this?  Mot so much.  I'll be picking book 2 up, just to see if Manieri continues the trend of too many stories, but this won't be my go to example when trying to convince people of the benefits of epic fantasy.