BLOOD SONG by Anthony Ryan

I really liked BLOOD SONG and I’m looking forward to reading TOWER LORD when it comes out this summer, but I’m not sure I love this book the way so many other reviewers do.

The beginning of the book describing Vaelin’s coming of age is my favorite part of the book. It’s well-worn territory, but Ryan does it well. Vaelin is an interesting character, with depth and shades of gray that become apparent as the story moves forward, but I don’t know that I related to him as well as I’m probably supposed to.

After a strong beginning, I wasn’t as interested in the final third of the book. The story is framed by Vaelin telling his life story to a chronicler, similar to Rothfuss’s KINGKILLER CHRONICLES, on the eve of his battle against a legendary warrior, but after his storytelling is complete, the resolution of his current-day predicament seems far too easy.

The world-building, storytelling and pacing are all excellent, and Ryan handles the difficult task of developing different personalities for Vaelin’s fellow members of the Order, which isn’t an easy task. While Ryan does an excellent job with these, his punctuation threw me off quite a bit — his use of commas created some run-on sentences that threw a grammar nerd like me out of the story too many times.

I’m looking forward to reading TOWER LORD and seeing how Ryan progresses as an author — it’s certainly an incredible debut, but I would put BLOOD SONG half a step behind Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch. I think Ryan can get there (something I can’t say about most authors), but I just don’t think this was it — yet.

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