Friday, July 22, 2011

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart


A princess with a craving for blood. 

A stranger who knows her secret. 

A land where nothing is as it seems.
When her sister becomes betrothed to a prince in a northern nation, Zeraphina's only consolations are that her loyal animal companions are by her side - and that her burning hunger to travel north is finally being sated.

Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king's advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more.

Zeraphina must be willing to sacrifice everything if she's to uncover the truth - but what if the truth is beyond her worst nightmares?
(what a blurb (!) )

Me + this book: I went to bed around 11pm @ night and thought I’d check out the first chapter of Blood Song before turning out the light. Fast forward 290 pages later and it’s around 3am and I’ve devoured the book in one leaping go. I was so sucked in, so loving everything about this book that I didn’t want to put it down. I spent time over the following week re-reading my favourite passages as I was not ready to let the characters and story go. Just sitting down and writing my review has made me nostalgic all over again :)

The review: Blood Song grabbed me from the start. The thing about this fantasy ~ is Hart writes in such a way that the reading experience was so effortless. Her writing is tight, within pages you have a sense of the world and our heroine. Her world-building is all show (not tell) and Hart masterfully places the reader in the story alongside Zeraphina, letting the world-building evolve as we go along. I marvel at the way she handled it without employing the “awkward info dump” scenario that so often bogs down books in this genre.

I seriously *loved* Zeraphina (& from the first page). She’s spirited without being overly in-your-face-feisty, she’s confident even while aching and confused inside. She’s got a gorgeous persona ~ exactly the kind of character I would love to be friends with. She has a smart sense of humour and she fiercely, spectacularly loves her pets (her cat, Leap, and Griffin, her eagle)

[detouring here to say ~ Leap and Griffin are such fab characters to add to the cast, they’re brought to life with all the nuances of a 3D human character. <3]

The other thing you should absolutely know about this book is it is crazily original. The plot continually heats up and the villains (!) are insanely, genuinely creepy. I had chills even as I couldn’t look away ~ they are fascinating and dark and make for some completely vivid imagery. The stakes are raised and the truth is equal parts creative and horrifying.

Deep into the plot of the book, some of the imagery and scenery depicted reminded me of the way Marianne de Pierre’s crafted such an intense setting in her book Burn Bright. While in Lharmell, the setting was so strongly evoked: ashey and dark and mysterious and incredibly foreboding. There is a kind of cult-esque feel with the Lharmellins which I gave me tiny little sparks of horror (and raised my curiosity ten-fold). Absolutely-deliciously-cannot-look-away-creepy.  

Apart from the all mystery and darkness, there's a lot of fun in the book (including balls, a wedding, and an archery tournament).

So you want to know about the swoon factor ;) ? YOU GUYS. *dies of the swoon* Zeraphina and Rodden have one of those relationships that keep me glued to the pages. Rodden’s 22 years old, dark, broody, effortlessly sexy and impossibly hard to read (oh-so-very-intriguing). He’s enigmatic, charismatic and utterly appealing. And, wow, how he and Zeraphina spar. They have an amazing chemistry even as (okay, especially as) they antagonise each other.

It is the first book in a series, and while it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, it provides a whole bunch of answers while psyching you up for the next installment.

I can feel my review growing with everything I want to say. But I am worried that the more I ramble on, the more you’ll skim and the less you’ll read ;) So to summarise the essence of my review:
oh my gosh, I loved it so.

Recommended: Blood Song is written with astounding talent, stunning creativity and complete heart. It’s thrilling and mysterious and fun and creepy and dark, (with some sexy undertones). It’s on my favourites list, best of 2011 list and tops my list of fave fantasies. I had no idea I would love this so. I cannot wait to see it in stores (in Australia from Sept 1). I cannot wait for you guys to all read it and see what you think!

... in the meantime ... read the first chapter (!)


thank you ever-so-much to Rhiannon Hart and Random House for providing me with the ARC *grins* 

21 comments:

  1. Oh wow, what a review! Is it coming out in North America too? *must research*

    The synopsis alone probably wouldn't have convinced me to read this (blood? blech!), but your review absolutely has. Sounds amazing!

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  2. Nomes, ramble all you want in your reviews because I always read through them<3

    I almost shrieked when I saw Blood Song through blogger's dashboard--and that you had read it already! I hope the book comes to the US; a lot of contemporary aussie YA has been rolling into the states--I hope fantasy and sci-fi come in as well. Eeeee, I'm off to read the first chapter since your glowing review has me so curious!

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  3. Thanks so much for the great review! I was on the fence about this one but now I must read it! I love a creepy bad guy and how books can be dark and fun at the same time. Can't wait to meet Rodden.

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  4. How do you always manage to do this, Nomes? HOW?

    Every time I see a book on goodreads and think "eh, doesn't sound very interesting. I won't mark it as to-read," you post an amazing review about it and make me want to read it reallyreallyreally badly.

    Every. Time. :P

    Thanks for the great review, and have a great weekend! :)

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  5. I finished Blood Song just yesterday, and I completely agree on all counts. So, so amazing! Leap and Griffin were just the coolest.

    Great review!

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  6. I'm glad you liked the pictures! The creepy and wooish one (and all the rest) would be pretty cool to look inside... ( :

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  7. This book sounds amazing, I've been following Rhiannon's blog for a while so I'm so excited to read it - fingers crossed for a US/UK release! I can't read the first chapter it will drive me insane not to be able to read the rest.

    Leap and Griffin sound great, I adore animals characters in books, they usually become my favourites. Takes me back to my childhood when I always wanted a loyal dog, cat or unicorn to follow me around.

    And ramble all you want, I love your reviews :)

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  8. ooh sept 1 is not too far away! I'm really looking forward to reading this one - Yay for Aussie fiction!!!

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  9. I've followed Rhiannon's blog for ages and it was so exciting to hear she had a book coming out! And it's fantasy with princesses and eeep, I can't wait. And girl, what a fantastic review, you pretty much summed up all the reasons I love books! Crazily original: yes please. Awesome writing, mystery, darkness, SWOON, 22 year old love interest (hey, is this upper YA?..) I WANT! @_@

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  10. i've been wanting to read it ever since i found out about it on goodreads a while back! sounds so good!

    great review, nomes!<3

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  11. oooo wow this sounds fantastic Nomes, I can't wait to read it! Am looking forward to the romance and swooning too!

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  12. Sounds awesome Nomes! I just read the first couple graphs (since I'm at work) and ooo it sounds good. I'll watch for it to come out in the US. :)

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  13. You've once again managed to make me feel desperate, Desperate to find this book stateside!

    I want to die of swoon!

    *runs off to hunt for Bloodsong*

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  14. This sounds so, so amazing. I LOVE how you've described the relationship between Zeraphina and Rodden. *must pick up a copy*

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  15. I loved the sound of it just from reading the blurb but now i'm excited for September. I will adding this to my list.
    And.. Great review Nomes! I'm glad you liked it :)

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  16. wow! That cover grabbed me but then your review.... I need this book!!! thank you for the awesome review!

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  17. You already know that I think this review is amazing.

    And that I can't wait to swoon ;)

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  18. Another book added to my wishlist because of your review!

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  19. I really enjoyed this book :)

    Ace Review :)

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  20. Just read the first chapter online. You're absolutely right – it is addictive. Will definitely check this one out. Thanks for the review

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  21. OMG got to get this one, you're killing me with the faves lol. Absolutely awesome review Nomes :)

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Thanks for the commenty love :)

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