Blood Song: A Raven's Shadow Novel

Ace: Berkley. Jul. 2013. 592p. ISBN 9780425267691. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101622902. FANTASY
Left by his father with the Brothers of the Sixth Order to train as a defender of the Faith and of the Realm, ten-year-old Vaelin Al Sorna grows up hating his father for abandoning him. Developing into a natural leader, Vaelin becomes increasingly involved in the politics and practice of war. But he soon finds that he is the target of assassination attempts by unknown enemies. Ryan creates a fascinating world of conflicting religions and the wars fought in the name of those faiths. Though Vaelin's tale resembles that of many fantasy heroes, the author's skill in character development sets his protagonist apart as he struggles with an inner darkness that threatens to draw him toward its seductive evils.
VERDICT Fans of broad-scale epic fantasy along the lines of Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series and George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" novels should find this debut much to their liking.

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