Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

This thrilling new epic fantasy is set in a quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region, drawing together the warrior culture of Vikings, the wanderlust of desert nomads, and the oracles of ancient Greece. Blood's Pride is an intricate, lush book full of taut action, gut-wrenching betrayal, and soaring romance.

4 Stars, 2 Flames

Twenty years ago, the Shadari were betrayed by one of their religious leaders, an asha, when he revealed the mystical properties of a black ore found in their land. The Norlanders attacked Shadar to mine this valuable black ore for use in their weapons. For when the black ore was combined with the warrior's blood he/she could control the weapon with their thoughts and hands. The people of Shadar waited for a signal or help from their powerful leaders, waited for them to descend from their temples and beat back the invaders. Instead, they were abandoned by them as every asha leapt to their death.

Now every able bodied citizen is used to mine the precious black ore, and the more comely are sent to work as servants to the Norlanders who live in the temple. Norlanders are pale, luminous people who communicate telepathically and are empathic as well. Their skin cannot stand the kiss of the sun, as it burns there skin, and if they burn long enough, their blood becomes a poison in their veins. The Shadari are one of the few races unable to "speak" the Norlanders native tongue. They also do not read or write as only the ashas could do so for prayers to their Gods. The ashas also used a secret elixir that gave them the ability to see into the past and future. The board is out, the pieces set and the Mongrel is the catalyst that sets the game in motion.

Outstanding book! I stayed up WAY too late to finish reading Blood's Pride, but as many readers would agree, it was totally worth the loss of sleep. The first thing I like about this book is how there is no main character, but multiple story lines told from many different characters' voices. As the story progresses the separate story lines slowly merge for the ultimate finale. Yes, the names are not mainstream, but what do you expect from fantasy books? John, Bob, Jane? The names fit the world, and if they really annoy you, just make up a nickname instead. Speaking of worlds, Ms. Manieri did a wonderful job creating a stunningly visual world to wrap around her characters. While I am not usually a fan of description overkill, like a Charles Dickens book I had to read in high school, the author left enough up to the reader's imagination. There were a couple of spots where the pace seemed to lag a bit, but not unexpected when reading a 500+ page book, and not enough to make me put the book down! The book is the first in a three part series, and Ms. Manieri sets the second story up nicely. The major points in this book are resolved, but new dangers arise and....you'll have to wait for book two! Awww!! I give this book 4 stars and 2 flames. If you are a fan of Maria V. Snyder, Patrick Rothfuss, Jacqueline Carey, and Terry Brooks I think you will truly enjoy Blood's Pride.

I requested this book for review on Netgalley.com

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