Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht

Just finished reading Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht.  I read this book as part of my Worlds Without End Women of Genre Fiction reading challenge.  I’m posting my review now because this is my August book and if I don’t get on with it – well, it will be my September book instead!  But, to be honest I think I would have liked a little more time to reflect on this particular novel and I will confess that it took me awhile to complete and I also did put it down for a time.  That being said I’m glad I finished.  This is very well written and certainly captures a certain sort of mood.

Of Blood and Honey is a book set in Ireland in the 1970 during the ‘Troubles’.  The story focuses on Liam who comes from a less than conventional parentage with a very mysterious father.  He seems to go from one traumatic experience to the next.  At the same time the story has a parallel story of conflict between fallen angels and the fey.

The aspects of the story that I thought were really good were the scene setting.  This was a grim time and it certainly comes across here.  The Troubles were not frivolous, a lot of people lost their lives and many families were affected and the melancholy within the book is a suitable reflection of this.  It’s not a subject to be treated lightly.

I thought Liam was very well depicted.  He was also a little bit unfortunate usually managing to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I did have a degree of sympathy with him in that he suffered from a dreadful lack of knowledge from his mother, father and priest.  All of the other main characters, in some desperate bid to protect him or keep his life as normal as possible, conspired to withhold knowledge from him which ultimately might have been a lot more beneficial had it been shared – however, that would have shortened the story somewhat!

However, I think I had more issues with the book than I would have liked.  I find it hard to read a book about a conflict like this mixed in with fantasy. I think I would have preferred to read Liam’s story without the supernatural elements attached – and to be honest the fantasy was very limited compared to the urban.  I don’t mind that in a certain respect but it feels as though the fantasy/fey elements were a little tacked on to appeal to a certain audience.  There are however further instalments planned so it just could be that the scene has been set with this novel and the fantasy elements will be much stronger in future editions.

The other issue that I had was that, as I mention above, the author has dealt with this subject in what I consider to be the right way, but, it makes for fairly melancholy reading.  If I read a fantasy novel based on non existent people in a non existent place I find that the author usually injects some humour or snark into the story and this helps to break the mood a little when you’re reading.  I don’t think this would have been appropriate in this novel and so as a result it is a fairly intense read.

I can’t deny that I did struggle to finish this one.  I think it’s probably too near the knuckle and consequently is too grim for me personally.  I would have preferred to go into this knowing that I was reading about the conflict in Ireland rather than thinking it was urban fantasy then I would have been able to make a more balanced judgement if that was the story I wanted to read.  I am glad I finished this but I’m not sure I will continue with the rest of the series.

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4 Responses to “Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht”

  1. nrlymrtl

    I have heard a lot about this book and keep meaning to read it. Maybe I am waiting for winter when things are a bit more somber around the farm (no singing birds or bright colors, etc.).

    • lynnsbooks

      I didn’t dislike it. It’s well done. But, it is a little bit gloomy on the whole. I think maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Redhead

    Of Blood and Honey is a really, REALLY dark book. There’s a particular scene that’s very hard to get through. but if you can get through the darkness, Liam’s journey is incredible. I wish the 3rd one would come out already!!!

    • lynnsbooks

      I was almost thinking I wouldn’t continue with No.2 but I read your review of it and so will probably do so. It is very dark and I’m glad I finished it – I think I was expecting it to be different when I first started, a bit more fantasy and less about the troubles but after reading your review for the next one I can see the fantasy elements come into it a bit more. She’s a good writer. Very good at building characters – well, particularly Liam.
      Lynn 😀

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