“And yet here they all were: at the edge of the world – each of them vying to be worthy of one another, to protect one another, to prove themselves a part of something to which they already, irrevocably belonged.”
Author: Nicholas Eames
Category: High Fantasy
Publication: August 28, 2018 (US)
I was sent a review copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
We thought the wait for t his book would never end but it is finally (almost) here! Bloody Rose, the sequel to 2017’s award winning debut, Kings of the Wyld, is so close to coming out and I for one love it more than its predecessor.
Unlike the vast majority of sequels and series in SFF, Bloody Rose does not pick up with the same main character cast as the first book. Rather than our POV character being Clay Cooper we join Tam Hashford, a young woman that waits tables in an inn until she gets the opportunity of a lifetime to join the band Fable on their tour fighting monsters in arenas across Grandual as their bard.
But this story is not Tam’s. It belongs to Bloody Rose. Tam is little more than an outsider looking in for a good portion of this book.
The first half or so of this novel actually did the thing I’m not so crazy about where there is no specific plot beyond “follow these characters around.” There is talk of something big happening in Grandual but Bloody Rose is intent on keeping Fable away from it. Since Tam has no fighting experience herself and her role with the band is a bard who is supposed to stay out of the fights, she sat on the sidelines for a good while she figured out her place in Fable.
Still, Nicholas Eames crafts these characters so well that I flew through the first half of this book and into the second half where things really start picking up and I was blown away.
So many scenes caused so many feels It is always impressive to me when an author can convey the emotions behind music being played in a book. As the POV character is a bard, you know that had to come up at some point and it was beautiful. There is a scene toward the end of the Bloody Rose that if I tried to describe to someone what happened, I would not come anywhere close to doing the scene justice, it was so spectacular.
I found it really interesting that this book has Tam as the POV character rather than Rose. Tam has been a fan of bands in general and specifically Fable for a long time but she is a total newbie to actually being a part of a band whereas the book’s namesake, Bloody Rose, is much more experienced and has been at the head of the band for years. But we already saw the experienced band member’s perspective in Kings of the Wyld, so it was a lot of fun to see things from a younger member’s point of view and Tam’s youth and inexperience helped to maintain the same fun tone throughout the book even when the story was emotionally heavier.
Rose herself is a wonderful, conflicted character and it was refreshing to have a female character that struggled with the idea of motherhood. I feel like we don’t see that much in fantasy or any literature really, but there are absolutely women that take time, even well after the child is born, to be ready to be a mother. I really liked Rose’s struggle with this because it made her feel so much more real than just another female heroine that can throw around some weapons (not that she is lacking in that department at all).
Kings of the Wyld was a fantastically fun adventure that kept the laughs and the excitement coming. While Bloody Rose has its fair share of both, the characters felt even deeper and I became so much more emotionally invested in the story. Again, this book is even better than its predecessor in so many ways. If you haven’t read Kings of the Wyld, go find it now and read it and then get ready because as of now there is just over a week left until Bloody Rose comes out!