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Blood Ties: A Modern Tale of Na Fianna (The Modern Tales of Na Fianna) (Volume 1) Paperback – February 16, 2016
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The world is a mashup of modern appliances and medieval weapons, but it worked! How awesome are Irish guys with swords and leather breastplates speeding around in sports cars? Speaking of said Irish guys, I loved Ciran. He narrates the story and I found him to be a tremendous character. I loved his relationship with his family and his "sword-brother". As for Caitlyn? I'm a huge fan. I appreciate how she's a warrior but she doesn't try so hard to be a guy. She fits right in and jokes right along with the guys and they all respect her for it. And can actually take care of herself. It was so refreshing in a female character. And Killian and Eoman? They kept me in stitches. Can't wait to see more of them. Their bromance is truly adorable.
I really enjoyed the world that Ms. West created and can't wait to return to it. The story was well paced and kept me turning pages with plenty of twists and setbacks to keep the characters busy. I did feel like I never really got a good picture of what the Goblins look like, but that's a minor thing. The ending felt a little neat, but I might be proved wrong in another book.
Highly recommended to anyone who loves fast paced adventure, stories about family, and strong characters!
I really don't see why anyone would need any reasons beyond that to read it . . . but I shall continue, in any case, since I'll take any excuse to fangirl over this delightful book. ;)
My two favorite things: the setting and the friendships.
It perfectly blends a modern Irish setting with medieval warrior clans and a dash of Faerie, which may sound like an odd mix, but it WORKS. I was simply in love with this world! Like... aside from the danger, can I just live there, please? I really enjoyed getting to learn more about the setting and how it all fit together. The whole thing came so alive for me! I don't usually read much modern fiction, but I loved this -- so even if you're not one for a contemporary setting, this one's still worth giving a try!
Just the idea of these Irish warriors, who are a mix of medieval and modern, descendants of Finn Mac Cool, still working for a High King of Ireland; and being part Fae as the hero and the other Fianna are, they have faster reflexes and more instincts; they're basically like ninjas, only cooler and faster and Irish. (Our narrator, Ciran, even mentions that it's been proven that ninjas can't beat them. XD How cool is that?)
It's so fun how the characters will one moment be in a motorbike/car chase with some goblins, the next having a sword fight, and the next be hanging out at home at their castle with a brother, eating ice cream and cheese balls and watching a movie late at night . . . and then off on an epic journey across the rolling green hills of Ireland, having to watch out for the tricks of the Fae. I just love it! The mix is a ton of fun.
The characters leapt off the page. They are all awesome and I am very fond of them! *hugs them all* They're mostly teens (or early twenties) and a fabulous bunch. Their interactions and dialog and how they bounce off each other and fight and make friends is just wonderful. It's the best.
Our hero Ciran, who is awesome and my favorite; his best friend Tierney (their relationship is the best!); Caitlin, a warrior maiden who is both maiden and warrior and not stuck up about it, and goodnatured, who I loved a ton; Deaglan, lady's man and archer and always with perfect hair; Riordan the very calm (licensed!) Berserker who knits; and his flashy troublemaker little brother Keevan. Then of course there's High King Eamon, who is simply fabulous; and his captain of the guard/best friend Killian -- the antics of those two together, especially, simply had me in stitches with laughter. But all of them together were so great!
I loved the relationships in this book so much. Family is very strong, but also friendship. The main theme is one of brotherhood -- whether they be sword brothers or brothers born. This best-friend buddies kind of story is one of my favorites, and for sheer amount of awesome bro-ness, it's likely the best I've ever read. The love of family, brothers, friends, and what they'd all do for each other, while teasing and fighting a bit... I just LOVED it! ^_^
I'm not the biggest fan of books told in first person, so it's a high compliment coming from me that I loved how this story was written, and the narrator, Ciran, is my favorite character of all. I just loved his dry witty way of putting things. Seeing the story through his eyes was awesome. I love his determination and how he tried his hardest and learned to be a leader. Just... Ciran! He's great. :)
The book also has a more serious and darker side to it, with some deeper themes and emotions, touching on family, loyalty, betrayal, coming of age -- it's about a group of mostly teenage warriors, after all! The content is clean, although sensitive readers might want to know there's mention of torture; and of course a bunch of fighting, because that's a given with this sort of epic adventure. ;) On that note, I have to make a special mention of the fight sequences -- sword fights and otherwise -- which were amazingly well written! I could see them all so well. The fight descriptions and the humorous bantering dialog attest to this author's skill.
I'll admit that from the way it started out, I expected it to have more emphasis on the modern aspect, like in a city... with roads and things; and on the specific friendship between the hero and his best friend, Tierney. But that relationship, while still present, fell somewhat in the background with the onset of several other (awesome) characters and all of their interactions, and once the story got underway, it was much more a medieval fantasy adventure quest type of thing (though the modern showed its head from time to time). But all of that is right up my alley, so although I expected something a little different, you will definitely not find me complaining. ;)
Do I have any complaints, then? Mainly that I wish it wasn't over and need the next one!
Overall: I definitely recommend Blood Ties! I loved this book and just want to hug it, and/or go live there, and I'm excitedly awaiting the sequel! (It's going to be from Eamon's point of view and I could. not. be. more. excited. EEP! When is that releasing, again??) I can't wait to return to this world! <3
[I received a copy of this book from the author in return for my honest review, and all opinions are my own.]
Overall this is a rollicking journey with heart that is absolutely worth reading.
Most recent customer reviews
Blood Ties is a story about brotherhood, the gray area of war, and what happens when a bunch of sassy young men go questing together!Read more