6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
fun, exciting fantasy tale (3.5 stars),
This review is from: The Thieves of Blood : Book 1 (The Blade of the Flame) (Mass Market Paperback)
Let me start off by saying that I really enjoyed this novel. While the start of a new series it can also be read as a stand-alone. The basic story-line of the novel is fairly straightforward but interesting and well-written. Diran, an ex-assassin who is now a priest of the silver flame, and his companion, the half-orc Ghaji are travelling the land fighting demons and other aberrations as part of Diran's service to the flame. Along the way they encounter Diran's ex-lover, Makala, who is also an ex-assassin. She is then kidnapped by a strange group of raiders (led by a vampire). Diran and Ghaji set off on a quest to rescue Makala and the others.
While the novel started a little slowly in my opinion, it really improved as it went along. In particular, the characters were well-written and had interesting back-stories, which the author did a nice job of laying out using dreams and flashbacks. The issues and emotions faced by the characters felt 'right' in that I could believe they would react in that way. The inner conflicts faced by the characters were another plus.
My only complaint is I would have liked the 'good guys' to be a little less straight-forward and a little more grey (i.e., not always act like the good guys - one is an ex-assassin after all).
In addition to Diran and Ghaji, I thought the villains of the tale were well done. While a little clichéd at times they were still interesting and well-written. At points you really wonder how Diran and co will overcome these foes.
Plus, while the plot is fairly straight-forward, the author executes it very well. He managed to keep me interested and curious about what would happen next. And to me that is what is important. Can the author keep me vested in the characters and their plight? In this case the answer was yes. The book left me wanting to know more about the characters and in particular what happens next.
My only complaint with the book is that a few scenes seemed unnecessary and contrived. One scene has the heroes rescuing a sailor (actually a pirate) from "The Mire". The scene just didn't seem to fit with the story, except to add a new character who in my opinion was not really necessary. Also there were a few scenes where the characters actions didn't make much sense to me. Such as the opening scene where Diran attacks a shapeshifter who he seems to think is a powerful demon which he would have no hope of defeating.
But, as I said, this book got better as it went along and I actually think the ending was just right. In fact I thought it really made the book. The last several chapters are fast-paced and exciting. The author does an excellent job of putting the reader into the action and letting us know what the characters are thinking and feeling. I don't want to give the ending away, but I really liked it and thought it provided a great insight into what type of person Diran is and how far he has come.
I am looking forward to book 2 in this series and would recommend "Thieves of Blood" to anyone looking for a fun, exciting fantasy tale with lots of action.