Bloodsworn // by Scott Reintgen
View my review for Book 1 – Ashlords – here.
Pub Day: February 16, 2021
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Page Count: 400
The Races are over. War has begun.
Ashlord and Longhand armies battle for control of the Empire as Dividian rebels do their best to survive the crossfire. This is no longer a game. It’s life or death.
Adrian, Pippa, and Imelda each came out of the Races with questions about their role in the ongoing feud. The deeper they dig, the clearer it is that the hatred between their peoples has an origin point: the gods.
Their secrets are long-buried, but one disgruntled deity is ready to unveil the truth. Every whisper leads back to the underworld. What are the gods hiding there? As the sands of the Empire shift, these heroes will do everything they can to aim their people at the true enemy. But is it already too late?
When I first saw this cover on NetGalley, I knew I had to read the book. I mean, I didn’t really have a choice of course. I was THRILLED when my request was approved and promptly used it to buy the first book of the series, which has a cover that is just as amazing. I can’t wait to eventually have both of these on my shelves.
I already said it in my review for Ashlords but I have really struggled with YA books this year so while I was very excited about reading this series, I was also a little nervous as well that maybe my expectations were a bit too high going in. Thankfully that was not true at all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both books and having them available back-to-back was a great plus. Neither one is extremely long, which made for a few fun low-stress days. While I generally like sweeping epics with highly detailed descriptions, it was also a nice breath of air to not have that in this series. Just like book 1, Bloodsworn was packed full with action. There was enough description to easily be able to picture the worlds above and below, but not enough to slow you down and keep you in one spot for too long. Most of the chapters are relatively short, which has you feeling like you’re moving at a crisp pace as well. This is not to say that anything feels rushed but rather that this is a book that has constant movement and never leaves you yearning for more action.
While there was not a whole lot more that we learned about the magical system, we did get to see a few more applications of it that were really fun. It did surprise me that sometimes the opposing side was surprised and unprepared for certain attacks as you would think that after having phoenix horses for multiple generations, their utilization would be more studied and prepared for. But overall, the battles were still interesting and fun. While sometimes situations seemed a bit too easy to get through, once you think about it more deeply, it does work well with the history of the populations to work out the way it does.
The multiple point of views continued the same way as in book 1 and I thoroughly enjoyed the cleverness of the author in this later on. While I struggled a bit with the 2nd person POV in book 1, it really ended up growing on me and I did not have any issues at all with it this time. I loved being able to see the war from each character’s view, especially once things got a little more heated and delicate. Several times did I find myself doubting what I was reading because I couldn’t fathom the characters acting a certain way but eventually, everything came together perfectly. I am impressed at how well Reintgen played the characters off each other and kept me guessing throughout again and again.
While I personally would have loved to find out much more about this world and especially the phoenix horses, this series is a solid 4 star read for me. I find this a fun read for adults and also very appropriate for YA readers as it has some great themes that can encourage great conversations. I’m not a huge fan of perfect endings and love that this one leaves room for imagination and growth for its characters. Since this is a duology and we won’t hear how the characters fare beyond the ending, it does show that things don’t always have to be perfect down to the last little detail to be better than before.
If you think you’ll enjoy this awesome book, I would appreciate if you consider purchasing it here.
I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here, at no extra cost to you, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to support independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.
About the Author:
Scott Reintgen (pronounced Rankin) is an author of science fiction and fantasy books.
He wrote the Nyxia trilogy, as well as Saving Fable, Escaping Ordinary (Fall 2020), Ashlords and Bloodsworn (2021). He began his career as an English and Creative Writing teacher in North Carolina. He strongly believes that every student who steps into the classroom deserves to see themselves, vibrant and victorious and on the page. It’s his hope to encourage a future full of diverse writers. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife Katie and his two boys, Henry and Thomas.
About the Publisher:
Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. A division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.