SPOILER WARNING: This will be a spoiler free review, but if you have not read A Time of Dread I strongly urge you not to read the Synopsis below as there is a major Spoiler.
Defy the darkness. Defend the light.
Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.
Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill.
As demonic forces multiply, they send a mighty war-host to overthrow the angel’s stronghold. This could decimate the fractured Ben-Elim. And their allies in the Order may be too overwhelmed to send aid – with Fritha and her monstrous beasts closing in. Like heroes of old, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?
“There is much in life that is beyond our control, events that sweep us up and along, actions that wrap us tight in their consequences. Stop raging about the things you cannot change. Just be true to yourself and do what you can do.”
Thank you to Hachette audio for my listening copy of A Time of Blood in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this did not affect my review.
Although it pains me to say it, I did not enjoy A Time of Blood as much as I did the first book, A Time of Dread. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this sequel and am really excited to read the finale, A Time of Courage. I loved and was invested in the plot lines of Riv, Bleda, and the new POV Fritha. However, although I still love Drem as a character, there were certain elements of his POV that just didn’t work for me. Let me explain.
Drem and his companions are on a desperate journey of survival for most of this story. Fleeing for their lives from those who would kill them. The thing is, I never felt like Drem was in any real danger. Unfortunately this part of the book felt like plot armor was being used like a shield wall and I never really feared for Drem’s safety. Maybe it was because of the plot armor, but I felt Drem’s part of the story dragged at times and didn’t feature much character development or other interesting elements to offset that. The one redeeming part about this is that I love Cullen and the huntsman who’s name I can’t seem to remember. They are both great characters and though they do not have their own POV’s they were an integral and fun part of Drem’s story.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to the many things I did like about this book. The rest of the POV’s were excellent. We got to know Fritha a lot more. Her back story was explained bit by bit and her motivations made clear by the end of this installment. Her transformation is one that I did not see coming and really enjoyed. Riv also goes through a lot in this book and has a lot of development as she gets used to her new role. She also learns many secrets and truths about the Ben Elim that change the way she sees and interacts with them and also the world around her. Bleda, however, has to be my favorite character of the trilogy so far. Gwynne has done really well slowly developing Bleda from a somewhat bitter hostage into a courageous man that makes his own decisions by what he believes to be right. Bleda is also about as good as Legolas with a bow and that makes the fight scenes from his perspective a lot of fun to read. Gwynne is so good at making you care about his characters and in A Time of Blood I grew to care about each character even more.
Speaking of fight scenes, my gosh does John Gwynne know how to write a battle. From small skirmishes to full pitched battles, every description was stunningly visual and realistic. We were shown new characters’ battle skills and that was just plain cool to read. I love reading Gwynne’s battle scenes.
Despite the few issues I had with it, this was an overall good book. The characters were superb and easy to care about. The plot was intriguing with new revelations and the battle scenes were incredible.
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