Friday Face Off : Chaos

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

I just would mention that I’ve not been very active blog hopping this week.  I have a problem with the internet and have someone due out to try and fix things in the next couple of days.  I’ve been managing to post by simply using my mobile data but it runs out so quickly so I’m being careful.  Anyway, hopefully, fingers crossed, wi-fi will be back to normal shortly.

This week’s theme:

Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one?

Okay, I’ve gone for a cover that I really like for this theme which seems contradictory.  Veil of the Deserters is the second book in the Bloodsounder’s Arc series by Jeff Salyard.  I haven’t read this one yet even though I really enjoyed the first and do own a hard copy of this one.  The cover I was recalling is crazily chaotic and really stands out.  There are only two covers for this one.  Take a look:

My favourite:

Veil1

I just love it – the colours, all the action, there’s such a lot going on here but in a good way.

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next Week : The Motel

2021

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards(Bloodsounder’s Arc #1)

Scourge of the BetrayerScourge of the Betrayer is the first of the Bloodsounder’s Arc series by Jeff Salyards.  I really enjoyed this I have to say although when it comes down to writing a review I confess it’s quite difficult.

The story follows a relatively small band of characters, soldiers, on something of a military adventure.  We get off to an immediate start and learn in relatively short order a few of the key characters and what they’re about.  Arkamondos (or Arki) is a scribe.  Having lived the majority of his, albeit short, life in relative comfort chronicling the narratives of merchants and other people lacking in excitement he takes a job that he believes will make his name.  His new employer is the head of a bunch of Syldoon soldiers who are about to embark on  a mission and Arki is about to go on an adventure.

We start the narrative in an inn where a number of the key characters are introduced as they exchange banter.  And, let me just say that these are a bunch of lively characters who are not shy of a bit of creative cursing – you have been warned!  Now, I understood on picking this up that this was going to be dark fantasy but after the first couple of pages I was wondering just how grim and dark this would really become, in fact I momentarily had doubts as the start of the book really does set its stall out quite early.  However, a few pages later I found myself pretty much intrigued and compelled to read.

I can tell you absolutely nothing about the plot whatsoever and the reason for this is twofold.  First, and most obvious, I don’t want to give away spoilers.  Secondly the plot is revealed as the story progresses.  Basically we learn what’s going on through Arki and as he’s kept in the dark by his new boss then we are also pretty much kept in the dark too.   When Arki learns something – then so do we and sometimes it’s a while before the information is forthcoming.  That isn’t to say that nothing happens however – in fact far from it.

This is a very character led story and for the length of the book I would say it packs in an incredible, not to mention surprising, amount of worldbuilding.  The characters primarily consist of the following.  Arki – and I must say what a clever device for an author to use!  Arki is bookish, well read and studious.  He’s setting out on an adventure with a bunch of reprobates but in actual fact he’s far from rough and ready himself.  How cool is that really.  It feels like, as a reader, I almost have an affinity with this guy already!  Don’t get me wrong, I love to read about action and adventure but in this respect all the events are chronicled by Arki and in such a way as to tell you how terrifying it all is in vivid detail.

We also have the surly and little spoken Captain Braylar Killcoin.  Braylar is a fascinating character who I really enjoyed reading about.  He’s a no nonsense, surly, rude and quite violent character.  He carries a flail (although it isn’t naturally his first weapon of choice and the reasons do become clear as you read) and this flail seems to be, well, I’m not sure how to describe it really – magical? Possessed?  Anyway, let’s just say that this weapon seems to lend Braylar certain abilities.  However, it certainly doesn’t make him invincible and it’s a bit of a double edged sword as it also ensures that he’s haunted by his memories.  The compelling thing about Braylar – well, you’re sat on the edge of your seat waiting for him to tell you something and he shares information quite grudgingly.  Also, he’s written in such a way that you like and dislike him, then like him again, etc, etc, as the story progresses.  On top of this we make the acquaintance of some of the other soldiers but for me the other character that really stood out was Lloi.  Lloi has a lot of mystery in her life and I really enjoyed the scenes in which she took part – she just has a way of looking at things that is quite refreshing.

To be honest I would say that this book is more about the journey than the destination and I really do say that in a good way.  We spend quite a bit of time in the company of Braylar and Arki with the occasional appearance of Lloi and during that time we really get to see the characters develop.  This is particularly true of Arki who ends up surprising himself towards the conclusion of the story.

I think the writing is very enjoyable and the author manages to throw mystery, battles, strange creatures, shrines and other encounters along the way.  The final reveal is definitely intriguing and actually incredibly gripping.  In fact I reached a point where I actually wondered if anybody was going to survive!  Anyway, enough of that – no spoilers.

I think my only criticism was that the ending felt a little rushed compared to the rest of the story.  That being said I have No.2 lined up already and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes next.