Princess of Blood (The God Fragments #2) by Tom Lloyd

princess of bloodPrincess of Blood (PoB) is a strong second edition to the series that develops the characters and magic used and brings to us an Indiana Jones style adventure played out in a labyrinth beneath a city.

The story starts in Su Dregir where Toil, the assassin from Stranger of Tempest, now a fully fledged member of the Cards, has taken on a mission to escort an important dignitary across the waters to Jarrazir.  The Cards are unhappy because Jarrazir has strict regulations controlling alcohol – or more to the point, a complete prohibition – which with a gang of mercenaries who spend a good deal of time chucking alcohol down their throats as though there’s no tomorrow, doesn’t really sit well.  However, there are more pressing issues that will take their attention once they reach Jarrazir.

The City of Jarrazir sits on a labyrinth of ancient tunnels that have remained impenetrable for as long as anyone can remember and then some.  Of course everyone remains fascinated about what lies within and inevitably people try to break the magic that seals the tunnels oftentimes forgetting to consider that sometimes things are sealed to protect what lies within, but also sometimes they’re sealed to protect what lies without.

I don’t think I’m giving away too much of a spoiler to say that the story commences with an ambitious magic wielder, one who has been studying the inscriptions on the entrance to the tunnels and has finally come up with a way to crack them open.  From there a deadly race ensues to reach the heart of the maze with the hope of finding precious God fragments.  Dangerous things have been disturbed that threaten the peace of the city and the threat doesn’t just lie within the tunnels.  I won’t say more of the plot at this point but leave that for you to discover.

I enjoyed PoB.  It’s a strong addition to the series although it did have something of a feel of two halves – which I’ll get to shortly.

Lloyd is an impressive writer, persuasive and with the ability to portray convincing action scenes that spring to life in the imagination.  He uses this second book to bring more colour to the characters, particularly Toil.  We delve into her past and get a much stronger feel about her history.  An adversary from her past pops up in PoB and almost causes her to lose the cool demeanour that she projects so well.  Lynx also plays a strong role which I was pleased to see as he’s definitely my favourite character.  Much to his dislike he’s once again forced to play out a good deal of the story in the tunnels that he so dislikes.

The Cards are a very entertaining bunch of characters.  They’re rough and ready and bring a lot of relief to the story in the form of their banter that definitely helps to bring something a little lighter to a story that could otherwise become overloaded with battles, death and brutality.  I confess that I like a strory that brings an element of snark along with the dark.

In terms of the plot, there’s a little bit of jumping back and forth here, not just in terms of flashbacks for some of the characters but also in terms of how the journey commences and that’s an element of the story that at first caused me some issues as I didn’t feel that those elements were always clearly defined (probably I wasn’t concentrating enough tbh).

Criticims.  Well, I mentioned above about the ‘two halves’ feel to the book.  At the start more attention is given to the characterisation and that’s an element of any book that I particularly enjoy but obviously this takes time and can slow the pace down.  To be honest, although I love character building for me the first half of the book felt a little slow.  It certainly got off to a good start, practically bolting out of the stalls, we then had a more measured pace as we got a feel for what was really going on and things were going strong, however, at some point I realised that I was dragging my feet a little bit and wasn’t perhaps as anxious to pick the story back up.  This changed as multiple threats hit the City and the Cards and we moved onto the puzzle of the labyrinth.  From there the pace was like a maniac, the plot was convincing and there were some really enjoyable developments.

Overall PoB is a strong addition to the series with plenty of imagination and a gripping finale that leaves lots of promise for the next instalment.  It does suffer a little in terms of the pacing during the first half but not enough to spoil the read for me or to stop me wanting to pack up the next instalment.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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4 Responses to “Princess of Blood (The God Fragments #2) by Tom Lloyd”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    The paperback of book one is finally going to be released this side of the Atlantic on September 19 (or so Amazon says)! The Kindle version is actually available already for $2 but with such gorgeous covers I won’t want anything but the physical editions. Jealous you got to read this already 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s turning into a good series – the first is my favourite of the two, this had a little bit of a pacing issue in the first half for me but it redeemed itself once we entered the labyrinth. And those covers!
      Lynn 😀

  2. sjhigbee

    I like his writing and haven’t read the first book in this series, so I need to get hold of it when I’ve caught up a bit on my TBR pile… Thank you for a well written, thoughtful review:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s turning into a very good series – the first one was my favourite, this has slight issues with pacing in the first half but overall a good instalment.
      Lynn 😀

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