Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Books With “Blood” in the Title
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, a weekly meme that now resides at That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme first came about because of a love of lists. Who doesn’t love lists? The original creators also wanted their lists to be shared with fellow book lovers and to ask that we in turn share ours with them and connect with other book bloggers. To learn more about participating, stop by their page dedicated to it and dive in!
This week’s topic: Frequently Used Words In [Insert Genre/Age Group] Titles
I always try to use these lists to feature great reads if I can, which is why for this week’s topic, I’ve adapted the theme to showcase some of my favorite books in Fantasy. And just because I’m feeling a bit macabre, the frequently used word I’ve chosen is “Blood”.
Blood for Blood is the second book of a fantastic duology, picking right up from where the first one ended. The series takes place in 1956, in an alternate history where the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. The story follows Yael, a teenager who had escaped from a Nazi death camp where she was subjected to horrific human experimentation, and the side effects of those experiments left her with an uncanny ability to skinshift. With just one thought, she can take on the appearance of anyone else. This has made her central to the Resistance’s plans. Yael’s mission: to win the Axis Tour, the annual intercontinental motorcycle race, by impersonating Adele Wolfe, the only female to have ever entered. As last year’s winner, Adele was granted an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball. But this year when she wins and dances with Hitler again, Yael plans to be the one behind Adele’s face instead, ready with a blade to sink between his ribs. If you haven’t started the first book, I don’t want to spoil anything for prospective readers, so just trust me when I say you don’t want to miss this series. (Read the full review…)
The Queen of Blood introduces readers to the world of Aratay, a place where humans and nature spirits coexist in a state of precarious equilibrium. Spirits see humans as invaders in their domain, and given the opportunity they would gladly see us all dead. But while the spirits are destructive forces, they are also one with the natural world, and without them there would be no life. So humans have learned to adapt. A Queen holds control over all the spirits in the area and protects her people from harm. To choose a Queen, girls with an affinity to sense and manipulate the spirits are identified and invited to an academy to learn how to use their powers. The most promising students are chosen by champions to be further trained to become potential heirs, so that in the event that the Queen dies there will always be a successor to take her place and keep the spirits in line. Sometimes though, there are accidents. The book begins with a spirit attack on a village, which leaves many dead. Our protagonist, a young girl named Daleina, was only able to save herself and her family when her powers manifested during the massacre, and since that day has vowed to do all she can to prevent something like this from ever happening again. (Read the full review…)
Generally, I find that most second books of a trilogy rarely live up to the first one, but this was so not the case here. RJ Barker has topped his first book with a spectacular sequel containing even more intrigue, more action, and more heart. A handful of years have passed since the end of the previous volume, and our protagonist, the assassin-in-training Girton Clubfoot, as well as his master Merela have been traveling with a band of mercenaries, trying to keep a low profile amidst the conflict in order to escape the bounty hunters on their trail. But despite their best efforts, disaster finds them in the end, and with Merela incapacitated by a deadly poison, Girton has no choice but to return to Castle Maniyadoc at the behest of an old foe. Still, coming back to Maniyadoc has its upsides. Girton is reunited with his friend Rufra, who has not forgotten our protagonist’s role in helping him become king. The problem now is keeping things that way, as rumors abound that Rufra has a spy among his inner circle, and Girton has been tasked to root the traitor out. (Read the full review…)
One of the most under-rated and under-read books I can think of, Mage’s Blood is a sprawling epic that has it all: nations at war, clashing religions, political intrigue, mages and sorcery, and the list goes on and on. Every Moontide, an event that occurs ever twelve years, the seas part to reveal the magnificent mage-crafted Leviathan Bridge, allowing trade and communication between the world’s two great continents. Unfortunately, the passage is also a source of much bitterness and conflict. Now another Moontide is at hand, and as the time draws nearer, the people on both sides prepare for war. Antonin Meiros, a mage of great renown now seeks a new wife, traveling to Lahk to wed Ramita. Ramita, however, is already betrothed to the hotheaded Kazim. In another part of the world, Elena Anborn has pledged her life to protect the royal family of Javon, fighting off assassination attempts masterminded by her former lover Gurvon Gyle, who works for powerful political entities. Meanwhile, Elena’s nephew Alaron prepares for his mage finals, but during the presentation of his thesis, he unwittingly proposes a dangerous topic that could mean the end to his hopes and dreams. (Read the full review…)
Just when you think things can’t get any worse for our series protagonists Falcio, Kest, and Brasti, Saint’s Blood pulls out all the stops in this third installment of the Greatcoats sequence, bringing everyone back for another round of epic excitement and adventure. The kingdom of Tristia was already on the verge of tearing itself apart, with its people close to revolt and the dukes still looking for ways to depose their young queen, and nothing the Greatcoats have been doing for the last six months seems to have made any difference. Now a new threat has emerged, and whoever this shadowy enemy is, they’re targeting the Saints of Tristia. On top of that, rumors are also spreading through the countryside that the Gods themselves are displeased with the way things are going in Tristia, further undermining Queen Aline’s claim to the throne. Churches and religious sanctuaries are being desecrated everywhere and thousands of pilgrims are pouring into the capital campaigning for their faith, leading to the return of the Inquisitors, who unfortunately don’t see eye-to-eye with the Greatcoats on a lot of matters. Whoever is orchestrating all these events seems bent on undoing everything the late King Paelis had worked so hard to accomplish, and well, you can bet Falcio’s not about to let that happen. (Read the full review…)
Promise of Blood is aptly named, because it begins with blood, and lots of it. The kingdom of Adro has been badly run for years, and the king has decided to settle its debts by practically selling his people’s freedom to the neighboring nation of Kez. Furious with the decision, Field Marshal Tamas leads a coup to take the throne, rounding up the king and all the influential nobles of the land for the guillotine. The mass executions that follow last for days, but no revolution happens without serious repercussions. During his takeover, Tamas also wipes out the king’s entire royal cabal of Privileged, a group of sorcerers who are loyal to the monarchy. To a one, the words on the dying lips of every Privileged was the same, invoking the name of the one god: “You can’t break Kresmir’s Promise.” Though not a superstitious or overly religious man, Tamas nonetheless hires the services of retired police inspector Adamat to investigate these mysterious words. Tamas’ estranged son Taniel, a powerful powder mage in his own right, is also disturbed when he discovers Kez’s army at their door, preparing for war. The question is, are they simply taking advantage of the political turmoil in Adro to invade, or is this a sign of something bigger and more sinister? (Read the full review…)
Blood of Elves is part of The Witcher sequence, a series of short stories and novels following the heroic exploits of the legendary Geralt of Rivia. As a Witcher, Geralt is part of a society of enhanced fighters and monster-slayers. Taken as children, they are subjected to intensive training and a ruthless regimen of alchemical and mutagenic compounds intended to alter their physiology and prepare them to hunt their prey. Although Witchers are meant to remain neutral in matters of politics, Geralt has taken an orphan princess named Ciri into his protection, hiding her from spies and assassins sent to find her. He believes that she is the prophesied child meant to bring great change to the world, not only because of her royal heritage but also because of the magic that flows in her veins – the blood of elves. The young princess, taught sword fighting and other martial arts by Geralt, learns about supernatural monsters and how to kill them. But as Ciri’s magical potential becomes more powerful, Geralt realizes he will need the aid of some friends and unexpected allies in order to continue protecting her. (Read the full review…)
Tainted Blood is the third book of amazing urban fantasy series Generation V, starring protagonist Fortitude Scott on his first solo mission for his vampire family. Unlike the first two books which both started off with a healthy dose of humor, a dark shroud of sadness hangs over book three’s introduction, because it begins with a death that has shaken up the Scott’s business operations. The loss means more work for Fort, keeping checks on all the supernatural denizens living in his mother’s territory, but he manages with some help from his kitsune friend Suzume. Then everything goes to hell when the leader of a faction of bear shapeshifters turns up brutally murdered. It’s our protagonist’s first time handling an investigation, and of course his family is no help. Still, Fort is determined to bring the true killer to justice. He just hopes he’s not in way over his head on this one. (Read the full review…)
The story of Blood Song is about a young boy who trains and grows up to become a leader and one of the greatest warriors in the kingdom. Opening on an encounter between a scribe and a prisoner who is being transported across the sea to answer for his crimes, this first volume of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy introduces readers to Vaelin al Sorna, also known as “Hope Killer”. Vaelin’s history is recounted by the scribe, who recorded how, as a child, our protagonist was sent to the Sixth Order to train in the martial ways of the Faith. It’s a harsh life fraught with peril, as Vaelin and his peers are driven relentlessly by their instructors to learn everything from doctrine and history, to survival methods or ways to wield a sword. Later, he and some of the lifelong friends he has made will go off to face even greater challenges and become embroiled in political plots and magic that would decide the fate of the kingdom. (Read the full review…)
The Bloodbound is the first book of a fantasy romance trilogy following Alix Black, a soldier and scout in the royal army. She is also a noblewoman of a sort, being a daughter of one of the Greater Houses, but the power and influence of the Blacks have waned over the years, leaving only Alix and her older brother Rig. Alix has left the life of luxury behind, trading in her gowns and lavish balls for leathers and her blood blade, swearing her service to King Erik. But what she didn’t expect was actually becoming Erik’s bodyguard. When the king is betrayed on the battlefield by his own brother Prince Tomald, Alix rescues Erik and is named his protector. However, as the two of them grow closer over time, she also becomes his most trusted confidante. Complicating matters is Alix’s relationship with her former fellow scout and more-than-just-a-friend Liam, but what is a loyal soldier to do when her sovereign ruler requires her protection and the fate of their entire kingdom rests on the outcome of a brutal war? (Read the full review…)