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REVIEW: 'Bloodheir' by Brian Ruckley

   The world has fallen from its former state. The war between the clans of the Black Road and the True Bloods has spread.

    For Orisian, thane of the ruined Lannis Blood, there is no time to grieve the loss of his family, brutally slain by the invading armies. The Black Road must be stopped. However, as more blood is spilled on the battlefields, each side in the conflict becomes more riven by internal dissent and disunity.

    Amid the mounting chaos, Aeglyss the na'kyrim uses his new-found powers to twist everything and everyone around him to serve his own mad desires.

    Meanwhile, the long-dormant Anain are stirring -- and when the most potent race the world has ever known returns, the bloodletting may never stop.


   Bloodheir picks up where Winterbirth leaves off and has the same momentum the first book had built. So far though, Ruckley's writing hasn't used the familiar formula of acts to build his story. It felt more like you just hopped in the midst of this world and got picked up for a ride in the first book and it moved steadily on whether a section was covering a huge battle or minor political argument. Bloodheir does the same for the first half of the story. It's the second half that slowed a bit for me.

   It seemed much of the tension in the story faded a bit as power shifted between the various players in the book and the pieces on the board were being setup for book three. Bloodheir also focused more on characters I least liked verse the first volume. Despite the story not feeling like it follows the typical highs and lows of writing, it did manage to leave us with the expected rather bleak ending the middle volume of a series often does.

   Magic is still handled quite well here. Even with the growing power of the Aeglyss character it still comes across quite mysterious and unknown. Even Aeglyss himself not understanding his own limits.

   The play for power in the story continues to be interesting as well. Though you might label one side of the war the "bad guy" verse the other, within both sides are people made up of shades of gray. Both sides of the battle have their own internal struggles that risk tearing them apart more than the war itself.

   It was quite a bit easier to follow the story this time. My last review I mentioned the confusion with all the family names and more; but it was all quite familiar to me by now. Also the structure of the story was familiar as well. Instead of the typical chapter to chapter layout, each book has been made up of five huge chapters (with prologue and epilogues as well) and then each chapter is broken up into sub-chapters. It was a bit 'different' when I started 'Winterbirth', but works perfectly for the structure of the story.

Bottom Line:

Though I felt the story lost a bit of momentum about 2/3rd's of the way through, it still easily held my interest due to the being already pulled deeply into this world. Ruckley has built to an interesting point so far and I am very interested in seeing how it plays out. My recommendations to read this series from the first book review still stand.

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