Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

Series: Lharmell (#1)

Pages: 290
Publisher: Random House Australia
Published: September 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9781742750965

I wanted to turn but I was held captive by the song on the wind. I’m coming, I told the voices. Please, wait for me. 

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?

Zeraphina is being lured northward and she thinks there could lie the answers to why she has such strange cravings for blood, so when the chance arises to travel there with her sister, she ignores her misgivings and takes it up -- but on arrival, she realises her misgivings may not have been totally unfounded.

If you expect anything even close to a clichéd vampire story from the synopsis, you're completely off. Blood Song proved to be incredibly imaginative and unique. It had all of the best parts of fantasy without all of the worst (and yes, by worst, I mean the cumbersome names. They just roll off your tongue in this one: Lharmell, Amentia).

Zeraphina was a great character to read about. She was strong; she could (and did) hold her own in an argument, and when faced with a challenge, she dealt with it head-on rather than avoiding it. Part of her appeal was in how she realistically stood apart from the other women in the high fantasy setting, and wasn't moony and obsessed with men. Her relationship with Rodden was realistically developed, and their romance never became her number one priority. It was an appreciated sub-plot, a complement to the main plot.

On the topic of setting, the world-building was excellent, and the otherworldly backdrop to the story was vivid and portrayed in an apt light. For instance, Lharmell's creepiness felt tangible in every moment our characters spent there. The setting was richly imaginative and the tone suited it brilliantly.

Written expertly, you wouldn't guess this was Rhiannon's debut. The story was told in compelling prose, constantly foreshadowing and maintaining a tense and eerie tone. The plot took many turns, always unpredictable and exciting.

Blood Song was amazingly imaginative and atmospheric, definitely a welcome addition to the Aussie fantasy scene. I look forward to Rhiannon's future books!

I give Blood Song a 5 out of 5.

I'd recommend it for fans of: Graceling and Burn Bright.