Blood's Pride (Shattered Kingdoms, Book #1)
by Evie Manieri
Release Date: February 19th, 2013
2013 Tor Books
Hardcover Edition; 528 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher
3.5 / 5 Stars
Rising from their
sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste
to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful
fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former
trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope
Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion
gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of
Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their
fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a
frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution,
or for a more sinister purpose all her own?
Blood's Pride is one of those very intricate novels that sort of fell short for me as it focused so much on cramming as much as possible into the pages but lost a lot in character development along the way. I did enjoy it, but on a superficial level, as I felt like I didn't really connect to any of the characters.
First of all, I did find the story line to be quite enjoyable and some parts were quite unique. The world building was somewhat different and I enjoyed learning about the different societies and how they interacted. I also found it interesting how the author incorporated some of the Nordic legends and mythology into her writing as I am somewhat familiar with some of the them and recognized some of them in here. Naturally, there are the usual stereotypes such as the slave who is really a king, the lord who falls in love with a slave, the mixed blood analogy, and so on, but I sort of expected that pretty early into the novel as I don't feel like there are too many real surprises in fantasy anymore. And yes, it does take some of that excitement away that I remember getting from earlier fantasy novels that I've read, but I found the pacing to be rather quick and interesting and because of that, I enjoyed it; I didn't have to read through pages and pages of description as the author got right to the point all of the time. The focus is on a people forced into drudgery and slavery fighting back against their oppressors and trying to win back their land and their freedom. It is also about their heritage and relearning things they were taught to forget and this is what I found interesting. I wish the author had spent more time on this aspect of the novel, but perhaps more information will be forthcoming on the history and culture of the Shadari and what happened to curtail their knowledge.
With all this being said, I did find the author's focus on the storyline and the events curtailed the growth development of the characters and I found myself reading with no connection to their personal feelings whatsoever. It was always about the events and the intricate details so when things happened to the characters, I read with a detachment that should not have been there. With more emphasis on the characters and the bond with the reader, this novel would have been richer in scope and definitely would have resonated better with the reader. There were also some other problems, more logical problems that didn't make sense to me, but these were minor in scope, and included things like agriculture and about their flying animals.
Blood's Pride was an enjoyable and entertaining novel, and there were many parts that I thought were quite fascinating and different. The author's tendency to jump from point of view to point of view was somewhat distracting in this novel as each jump brought the action forward and this was slightly disconcerting. I also thought that there was perhaps too much information in this novel at the expense of character development, and for me, no matter how many twists and turns there are in a novel, if I don't feel anything for the characters, the rest simply doesn't matter. Because I did enjoy this novel, I will probably read Fortune's Blight when it is released as I am curious to see what happens next.