My Review of Bloodchild by Anna Stephens

Image result for bloodchild anna stephens

Author Bio: https://anna-stephens.com/

Hello, I’m Anna, a UK-based writer of epic-y, gritty, grimdark-y fantasy. The first two books in my debut grimdark trilogy – Godblind and Darksoul – have now been published in English worldwide, with various translation deals secured, and the final book in the trilogy, Bloodchild, is being published on 5 September 2019.

I’m represented by Harry Illingworth of DHH Literary Agency in the UK, and sub-agented by Cameron McLure of Donald Maass Literary Agency in the US. I owe Harry, Cameron and everyone at HarperVoyager, but particularly my editor, publishing director Natasha Bardon, a huge debt of gratitude. I’ve learnt more about myself as a person and a writer since signing with them than I have in all the years before.

Anna Stephens is my maiden name and pen name, or as I like to think of it, my superhero disguise. Anna Stephens is to me what Black Widow is to Natasha Romanova.

Blurb:

In this epic grimdark conclusion to the Godblind Trilogy, heroes, armies, and gods both good and evil will battle one last time, with the fate of the world itself at stake. . . . The great city of Rilpor has fallen. Its walls have crumbled under the siege by the savage Mireces; its defenders have scattered, fleeing for their lives; its new rulers plot to revive the evil Red Gods using the city’s captured, soon-to-be-sacrificed citizens. Now, with the Fox God leading the shattered remnants of the Rilporian defence and the Mireces consolidating their claim on the rest of the country, it’s up to Crys, Tara, Mace, Dom and the rest to end the Red Gods’ scourge once and for all. While the Rilporians plan and prepare for one final, cataclysmic battle to defeat their enemies, the Blessed One and the king of the Mireces have plans of their own: dark plans that will see gods resurrected and the annihilation of the Dancer for all time. Key to their plan is Rillirin, King Corvus’s sister, and the baby–the Bloodchild–she carries. As both sides face their destinies and their gods, only one thing is clear: death waits for them all.

My review:

First of all, thank you to the magnificent Kareem for sending me an ARC of this. Thank you and congratulations to Anna for completing this trilogy. I am reviewing this as a standalone, having not read the previous books, but it took quite a while when you consider’s the book length in itself. It’s hefty, and quite nice to carry around with.

I was quite amazed because this novel of grim-dark fantasy was not what I expected. I expected betrayal, murder and morally grey characters. Heck I don’t like grim dark as a genre, but just observe human history, and tell me when has it not been grim-dark? WWII had the Italians and Germans as allies, after Mussolini was disposed, the Germans turned on the Italians in rapid succession. Napoleon by all accounts was not treated fairly by the monarchies of Europe, but then again his invasion of Spain was a disaster unto itself. Napoleon could well have won the wars but was consistently bad at foreign policy. A great general yes, but not an expert at naval battles for that matter. Corvus definitely had the attitude of a rude King and completely egotistic man.

Tara Vaunt is a true hero of this novel who I felt deserved a better fate. Even her husband was a better man. Valan was a true idiot that needed to be extinguished. Lanta was well…brainwashed? Mace was the unrepentant King, he was like the General Ulysses Grant, terrific in battle but maybe in his reign he wouldn’t be so great.

I won’t lie as it had the usual good vs evil. But it had Crys and his partner who were legends on the battlefield. Although I felt Crys didn’t use enough of his godly powers.

It felt as if I was reading a heavy dramatic play or script of GOT into a three movie epic sequel. The dialogue is great, the prose is great, and the characterisation is on point. At points I was confused with the world-building but this was because I had not read the other two books. I do feel that this novel has defied my expectations. It has heroism, but it is still too brutal for my taste, but then again, was warfare any different? Vikings believed in Valhalla, the Samurai made a whole life about the katana, and whatnot.

My rating, 5/5 solid, go buy it NOW!

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