The Bloodsworn (Bloodbound #3) by Erin Lindsey

BloodswornThe Bloodsworn brings to a conclusion the Bloodbound series by Erin Lindsey and is a tense and action packed ride to the final gate post.  Reading the last book in a series you’ve enjoyed is always sort of bittersweet.  Part of you desperately wants to rush headlong into the story to see how it all ends but part of you just wants the series to go on a little longer.  Then of course you have that problem, when reviewing the last book in series, of not giving anything away!

So, all that being said here goes…with, of course, a quick customary warning that this review may contain spoilers for the previous two books.

The Bloodsworn gets off to an immediate start picking up where Bloodforged left off with a rather jaw dropping revelation about The King of Alden, Erik White.  His closest family and friends are forced to come up with a desperate plan that involves secreting Eric away to prevent news of his ‘condition’ from leaking out.  Why is this plan desperate??  Well, Erik hasn’t helped to form the plan and the main thrust of the plan involves abducting and locking him away in his own kingdom, against his will, which is basically treason.  On top of this Liam is placed in the dubious position of taking up the reins and making excuses for Erik’s absence during a period of time when, with war looming, he is needed more than ever.  We have a suspicious court and a proxy king living on his nerves over a plan with little chance of success, execution hanging over his head and on top of that he’s frantic with worry about his wife Alix.  Alix meanwhile is about to sneak behind enemy lines looking for a remedy to the situation. The clock is ticking, she has to find a needle in a haystack and all the while she knows that if anything unravels back at home Liam could be facing execution. To make the tension even worse the two of them parted on bad terms.

The three main characters, Alix, Liam and Erik are split up for most of the book and this leads to some very intriguing storylines.  As usual Alix is rushing headlong into the fray and facing impossible danger.  Along the way she visits her brother, General Rig for advice and as a result winds up taking his lover Vel along for the ride, which of course adds another dimension of danger as Vel is a Priestess not a warrior!  Liam is forced into a position where he really must overcome his own self doubt and step out from the shadow of his big brother.  This is a time of war and the people need somebody to make sound decisions and to act with confidence and belief.  Liam has his work cut out of course because half the court already dislike him which leads to a lonely position – in fairness he finally gets a real taste of life in Erik’s shoes.  Erik meanwhile is far from absent from the plot.  Locked away he feels betrayed and thoughts of revenge dominate his waking moments.  His story takes a very dramatic change of course that was quite fascinating.

On top of all of this, lets not forget we have the enemy on the doorstop preparing for war, we have an underground movement of renegades who have their own agenda.  We have General Rig holding the frontline, undermanned and weary and we have a traitor in his midst.  There really is plenty going on in this final story – and to be honest I’m keeping a couple of things back to maintain the mystery.

What I particularly enjoyed about this whole series is the characters and their development.  It’s been wonderful and emotional reading about their exploits. Yes, of course, there’s a great plot, a wonderful historical setting and no end of action but the characters really pulled on my emotional strings – I think even more so in this book than the previous two.  Strangely, and in spite of the fact that at the back of my mind I expected the author to give us a feel good ending, I became oddly emotional during the final stage of the book, probably because of the overwhelming odds that everyone faced and also because a couple of the characters really do get put through the wringer!  As it is I think that the author has given us a perfect ending. The characters grow and all have moments of revelation but on top of that they remain true to themselves which I really like.  And, I think the conclusion still leaves a couple of very tantalising threads for further stories from both Erik and Rig – and I for one would certainly welcome more from both of them.

A winning series with a very satisfying conclusion.

 

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Bloodsworn by Erin Lindsey

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : The Bloodsworn by Erin Lindsey.  Bloodsworn is the third and final conclusion of what has turned out to be an excellent adventure.  This series manages to combine, fantasy, romance and war and has an ace protagonist that you can’t help but love.  Need I say more?  Plus, check out this cover, it’s absolutely gorgeous:

BloodswornThe bonds of family, love, and loyalty are pushed to their limits in this thrilling conclusion to the epic saga started in The Bloodbound
 
As the war between Alden and Oridia draws to its conclusion, the fates of both kingdoms rest on the actions of a select group of individuals—and, of course, the unbreakable bonds of blood…

Unbeknownst to most of Alden, King Erik, in thrall to a cruel bloodbinder, is locked away in his own palace, plotting revenge. To save her king, Lady Alix must journey behind enemy lines to destroy the bloodbinder. But her quest will demand sacrifices that may be more than she can bear.

Meanwhile, as the Warlord of Oridia tightens his grip on Alden, the men Alix loves face equally deadly tasks: her husband, Liam, must run a country at war while her brother, Rig, fights a losing battle on the front lines. If any one of them fails, Alden could be lost—and, even if they succeed, their efforts may be too late to save everyone Alix holds dear…

The Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey (Bloodbound No.2)

I only recently read and enjoyed The Bloodbound and so was looking forward to seeing where Erin Lindsey would take us with book No.2.  I’m very pleased to say that this book surpasses the first in scope and execution, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was completely hooked.  (If you haven’t read The Bloodbound then you may want to stop reading for fear of potential spoilers.)

At the start of The Bloodforged King Eric is forming drastic plans to try and protect his kingdom.  HIs enemies are again rallying and being greatly outnumbered Eric needs to come up with other measures and allies need to be found.  In order to fully utilise his available forces Eric decides that he (and his bodyguard Alix) will head in one direction to try and persuade their neighbours in the Capital of Harram to join forces with them.  This will involve a perilous journey over dangerous mountains populated by tribes who forbid any sort of trespass.  Meanwhile Prince Liam will head in the opposite direction.  The King awaits the construction of a naval fleet that seems to have been experiencing inordinate delays.  Unfortunately there seem to be a number of different forces at play between the people of Onnan and Liam is ill prepared to deal with the political web he’s found himself stuck in.  Nevertheless he must make the best of the hand he’s been given.  Meanwhile (back at the fort) Riggard (Rig) Black (Alix’s brother and Commander of the Army) is preparing for war at the front – greatly outnumbered and with spies running amok he’s going to need his wits just to keep the enemy at bay.

Whilst I enjoyed book 1 the second instalment definitely has the wow factor.  I particularly enjoyed the fact that we follow three different storylines and povs.  Rig is a very welcome addition.  He already made an appearance in book No.1 but his character is further developed here and he kind of puts me in mind of a big grizzly bear.  I really like this chap I must admit.  He’s clever, witty, impulsive and frankly very easy to read about.  Liam also shares more page time in this story and I thought this was also a good ploy.  I loved getting an insight into his character and also taking a look at his inner thoughts, particularly the turmoil and insecurities he feels since having been thrust into the limelight.  I found myself a little ambivalent towards Liam in the first story and in fact Alix’s decision puzzled me slightly.  This instalment banished those doubts completely.

On top of the additional point of views this story is packed with action.  Seriously, there was never a dull moment and even though we followed three storylines the plot was clear and concise.  There are no long winded history lessons about the different cities and politics, in fact I thought all the information supplied wove seamlessly into the story.  The action scenes are easy to visualise and the author manages to create a level of tension that makes the read absolutely compelling.

There is still an element of romance to The Bloodforged but not as much as The Bloodbound.  In No.1 we were getting to know the characters and get a feel for them, there was plenty of romance mingled with intermittent battles.   No.2 goes to the next level and the romance becomes much more a peripheral element to the story so that you’re aware of the feelings that the characters share but they’re no longer central to the story.  There’s a lot at stake here and frankly there isn’t as much time for distraction!

Then of course we have the ending with a perfect twist and set up for book No.3.

Being a second in series can sometimes result in that horrible middle book syndrome.  Fortunately The Bloodforged doesn’t suffer in that respect.  The story is good, the pace is fast and the characters have come along in leaps and bounds.

I very much look forward to No.3.  If you like action, adventure, historical settings, battles and political intrigue, a little romance and fairly light fantasy this could be for you.  I definitely recommend this series.

I received a copy from the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

Posted On 7 September 2015

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The Bloodbound is one of my backburn books.  I’ve had it waiting for quite some time after picking up a copy following glowing reviews.  Why I waited so long remains a mystery but I’m very pleased to have finally started this series.  How would I describe Bloodbound – I would say it’s the perfect beach read for fantasy lovers!  There’s action, blood magic and romance and, yes, I would say that the romance does play a fairly central role but I enjoyed it.

The Bloodbound gets off to a fairly intense start.  We begin the book as a bloody battle rages.  Alix is a scout.  At the start of the story she watches the battle from afar and realises with horror that her King (Eric) has been betrayed on the war field.  The aid he is expecting is not going to arrive and he stands on the brink of massacre.  Completely disobeying orders Alix rushes to King Eric’s aid dragging along with her Liam, another scout.  What you must remember is that these are scouts and don’t normally make up part of the fighting contingent but Alix is bloodbound to her blade which does help to give her ferocious
precision with the sword.  Unwittingly, Alix becomes the saviour of the moment and although she’s never sought any particular attention or regard finds herself newly elected to the position of bodyguard to the King.  Eric has been betrayed by his own brother, who, expecting that Eric is dead has returned home to claim the crown effectively making Eric an exile.  In order to regain that which is his right he must bide his time and form a plan, all the while trying to keep the enemy at his door from swooping through his kingdom and massacring everyone.

That’s all I’m going to go with in terms of plot.

World and characters.  The world has an Arthurian feel to it almost.  Knights in armour, heavy warhorses and swords.  The difference here is that women go to war in this kingdom as well as the men.  In terms of the fantasy elements these are fairly thin on the ground and are mainly related to the blood magic that binds weapons to their owners.  This also plays a huge part in the dark magic that is used by the enemies in the story.

The main characters are of course Alix, Eric and Liam with a few peripheral figures that make up the King’s advisors and such like.  Alix is a very easy character to like.  She stands behind her own beliefs and isn’t afraid to speak up and make her thoughts known.  She’s certainly not perfect and very capable of making mistakes – particularly where her love life is concerned!  What I particularly like about the way Alix is written though is that she isn’t dainty or meek and mild (and let’s face it – it wouldn’t do to be so when fighting on a battlefield).  She’s tall and strong and has a fiery character that matches her hair.  Eric is also a character that I found easy to like – in fact truth be told I probably felt a little bit sad for him in more ways than one.  And then we have Liam, who yes, makes up the love triangle that develops.  Liam and Alix have a strong friendship developed over time that has forged something strong between them.  They’re in a little bit of denial about their own feelings at the start but things are beginning to change.

Now, I’m not usually for love triangles but I do think that this story is well executed.  I think my biggest problem with love triangles is that it makes me all judgemental (sorry but it’s true) about the person who is stuck in the middle.  I confess I don’t like it, probably because I wouldn’t want to be played like that.  That’s not to say that I don’t have sympathy for how the situation could occur it just tends to make me cross at the pinnacle character (that being Alix) and sad for the eventual character that will be left out in the cold.  (And, can I just say, I would have chosen differently than Alix – there, I said it!)

All that being said though, it would be difficult to not like Alix and like her I did.  It’s great to have such a tough female character who isn’t weak, can stick up for herself and isn’t afraid to play her part – even if it could mean a one way ticket to a tea party with the grim reaper.

So, in summary.  This is a fast paced, fun read with plenty of action tempered with a little romance.  I very much look forward to No.2.

This counts as one of my backburn books.  This is a theme run by Lisa at Tenacious Reader.  The idea being to try and read and review some of those books that you’ve let sit around looking all sad and gathering dust.  Time to show them some love.