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Raven's Shadow Book One: Blood Song (Raven's Shadow) [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Ryan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,630 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An epic fantasy exploring themes of conflict, loyalty and religious faith. Vaelin Al Sorna, Brother of the Sixth Order, has been trained from childhood to fight and kill in service to the Faith. He has earned many names and almost as many scars, acquiring an ugly dog and a bad-tempered horse in the process. Ensnared in an unjust war by a king possessed of either madness or genius, Vaelin seeks to answer the question that will decide the fate of the Realm: …who is the one who waits?

Blood Song is the first volume of Raven's Shadow - a new epic fantasy of war, intrigue and tested faith.

"Anthony Ryan is a new fantasy author destined to make his mark on the genre. His debut novel, Blood Song, certainly has it all: great coming of age tale, compelling character, and a fast-paced plot. If his first book is any indication of things to come, then all fantasy readers should rejoice as a new master storyteller has hit the scene." -- Michael J. Sullivan, author of The Riyria Revelations

"Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song is a tremendous debut; it has a fast paced, action packed and character driven story. Qualities to admire in any genre story and most of all in an epic fantasy." -- Fantasy Book Critic blog


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The first of a trilogy, Blood Song is this British author’s first fantasy novel, and the first one to be printed. It was originally an e-book, as were three science-fiction novels Ryan has also written. The plot is standard: a young boy’s father abandons him at the door of the Sixth, or fighting, Order of the national faith. He is raised to be a warrior, and becomes one of the most effective in the forces of his king, Janus, of the Unified Realm. But a number of vital questions arise as the story progresses, starting with why his father cast him out of the family and into the Faith in the first place. While the plot is standard, it is deftly and originally executed, as are the characters. They are complex characters, not archetypes. The setting is medieval-based, but with a number of original differences (especially the religion!). Ryan’s style makes Blood Song a page-turner. Apt turns of phrase, descriptions that linger, questions answered at unexpected times all make the story definitely superior to much of the genre. It should please a wide audience, but those who do not care for gory fantasy adventure are hereby warned. --Frieda Murray

Review

"Ryan hits all the high notes of epic fantasy—a gritty setting, ancient magics, ruthless intrigue, divided loyalties and bloody action."—Publishers Weekly

“Just impossible to put down…I had to read it ASAP and to reread it immediately on finishing, as I could not part from the wonderful universe the author created.”—Fantasy Book Critic

“Anthony Ryan is a new fantasy author destined to make his mark on the genre...A new master storyteller has hit the scene.”—Michael J. Sullivan, author of the Riyria Revelations series

Product Details

  • File Size: 1054 KB
  • Print Length: 592 pages
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0070NSPCU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,538 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
329 of 365 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOAH!! March 15, 2012
By Se
Format:Kindle Edition
So I just spent the entire day (starting at 10:00 am and now it's 2:00 am) reading this book and it completely blew me away!! I'm not very good at writing comprehensive reviews, so I'll just highlight two things that I really loved about this book that I think is missing from a lot of other really good fantasy works (the ingredients that make it go beyond five stars).

1) I really hate the endless pages of self-loathing that many fantasy authors feel compelled to write whenever heroes need to kill. It's a very important point to carry across that killing, even in the name of "good", is sometimes necessary, but never without an incalculable price. Necessity cannot alchemize an evil act into something other. The heavy handed way in which this is usually done in fantasy fiction is when the hero rails ceaselessly against their own actions, decrying themselves as monsters, at which point they are embraced by some love interest who tells them that they are really a good person after all. It just always seemed to me that such self loathing is unbecoming in a hero since it's purely a selfish feeling that doesn't help anyone else. I can usually put up with this for like 20 pages but when it becomes a recurring theme, I get really annoyed. There's none of this in this book. I'm not sure exactly how the author managed to convey it, but there's a certain sense of dignity about Vaelin that tells you that he feels the weight of the lives he's taken without him resorting to whining (so he actually whines for about 2 paragraphs before he essentially gets slapped and told to stop feeling sorry for himself).
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147 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written coming-of-age fantasy January 23, 2012
By Fate
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is in a class of its own. Engaging, fast-paced, an epic that doesn't bog you down with a hundred different point of views or side story arcs.

The story itself follows that of Vaelin Al Sorna, a scared young boy who grows up to be a natural born leader and strategist, feared and respected throughout the world. He reminded me of Inda from the Sherwood Smith books, destined from birth to be of great import to the realm, bonded to his brothers through shared hardships, denied satisfaction and relief to fulfill his duty. Cunning and intelligent, with enough compassion to walk the line between warrior and murderer, he fights with ruthless efficiency to make a difference, to try and do the right thing when all it seems his actions accomplish is more suffering, all the while battling his own inner demons and self-doubt. There are some strong themes present, of growing up and of lost innocence, of sacrifice and of betraying your morals and beliefs.

The structure of the book was reminiscent of "The Name of the Wind" in that it's told from the perspective of a scribe/historian chronicling the deeds of our protagonist as he narrates his tale in the present. This device does not detract from the story and break the immersion, rather it serves to set the scene for each consecutive portion of Vaelin's life, bringing the events that take place full circle; it does not in fact reveal the plot, but only adds to the suspense.

The world-building was solid. Never did I lack for any visual representation of the lands discussed, magical/religious/cultural systems mentioned, or felt confused about how things came to be.

The fact that this enormous tome could be purchased for the price of a soda astounds me.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
NOTE: This is the same book which was earlier being sold for $2.99 however it was sold by the author. Now that it has been picked up by Penguin, they have set the price and its still not that much. This is still a 500-plus page story with a slightly different cover & of course the author mentioned this would be happening nearly 9 days ago on his blog.

ANALYSIS: Blood Song is another of those books that I discovered a few months earlier, thanks to Amazon's cool algorithm for suggesting titles I might like based on my previous "Buying and Search" history. Previously I had stumbled upon Zero Sight by B Justin Shier the same way and the way that book turned out to be, I have learnt to keep an eye out for such Amazon recommendations.

Blood Song begins with a first person narrative featuring Lord Verniers Alishe Someren, a chronicler that has been chosen to write about the main character Vaelin Al-Sorna and about the journey that they both will undertake. The story then begins Vaelin's past as when as a child he's commanded to join the Sixth Order of the Faith of the Unified Realm. Thus begins Vaelin's journey wherein he will learn to wield weapons and become a famed warrior of the unified realm that will also earn him many names all across various nations and regions. Friends and foes alike will be drawn to him in differing amounts. But when all is said and done, Vaelin's journey has only begun as the reader will learn more about his past as well as that of his realm.

One searches for the next best thing in fantasy, often going through many books in search of the book that will enthrall you completely. I almost missed on this beauty by buying it but then never getting around to reading it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Read
Defenetely a story that catches you in its plot. The main character is well made and the details in his inner struggles are amazing.
Published 6 hours ago by Miguel
4.0 out of 5 stars that is the best testament I can give on a story
An interesting read. It was just different enough from many others of this genre that I wanted to see where the story would go. Read more
Published 19 hours ago by Bryan Aumiller
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
First half great second half a little boring and the song ability is kind of pointless
Published 22 hours ago by erez baron
5.0 out of 5 stars worth the read
Excellent read if you are remotely interested in fanatsy but could use a change from elves dwarves and wizards.
Published 22 hours ago by Jacob Kvacky
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Sequel
While a much slower paced book than Blood Song, it's still an excellent sequel. Where Blood Song was devoted solely to Vaelin's remarkable journey and the molding of the man, Tower... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Surya Pasupuleti
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very nice change from my usual reading. I will follow this series and Anthony Ryan.
Published 1 day ago by T. Coggins
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant new author
I have read most of the popular fantasy fiction authors out there. This has the same excitement level for me as when I first picked up Wheel of Time, Song of Ice and Fire, or Name... Read more
Published 2 days ago by ZeusandApollo
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, pacing was good
Excellent read, pacing was good, character development was strong. The reader builds an affinity for the characters, and the narrative switches are a good touch. Read more
Published 2 days ago by AK Ben
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!!!!!
Vaelin al Sorna is an exceptional protagonist, one who is empathetic and heroic at the same time...we watch as the may facets of his character develop (not all of which are praise... Read more
Published 2 days ago by J. L. Noble
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody good yarn.
My favorite type of story, action, romance, sort of, a nasty warhorse and a not quite so lovable hound. Aces in my book.
Published 3 days ago by Bossmare
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More About the Author

Anthony Ryan writes fantasy, science fiction and non-fiction. He works full time as a researcher, has a degree in history, and lives in London. For news and general wittering about stuff he likes, check out Anthony's blog at: anthonystuff.wordpress.com.

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Topic From this Discussion
Volume Two?
Check out Anthony Ryan's blog at: http://anthonystuff.wordpress.com/.

He submitted the finished draft of the second book to his publisher on October 16th. I would expect the second book to be published late 1st quarter or early 2nd quarter 2013.
Oct 31, 2012 by M. Spencer |  See all 4 posts
980 - 5 stars reviews?!?!?
A lot of people loved it. Which is fair since it's a good book. Personally I barely pay any more attention to 5 star reviews than I do to 1 star reviews. Why does it bother you? Just leave your rating and move on.
Nov 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer |  See all 2 posts
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