ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Emotionally gripping and enthralling, Blood of Heirs will leave a mark on character-driven fantasy fans.
I have rejected a lot of ARC and review requests (Sorry authors and thank you for the understanding) over the past three months due to my commitment to thin my TBR pile. I knew literally nothing about this book when the author approached me; there wasn’t even any reviews or cover art yet. Regardless, my gut told me to accept it and I’m gratified I did. I finished the book in less than 24 hours due to how addictive it was, and now I’m hoping that this review will be able to convince more readers to give this book a go.
Alicia Wanstall-Burke’s debut, Blood of Heirs is the first book in The Coraidic Sagas, and the story focuses its narrative on two main characters: Lidan and Ranoth. This debut was dark in tone, a highly character-driven book that packed a lot of punches. There may not be anything new for the fantasy genre here; if you’re looking for something revolutionary and epic in scope, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you want a familiarly magnificent story or just an incredible book with three-dimensional characters—both main and side—that features a lot of vividly thrilling scenes accompanied with great prose? Look no further, this stunning debut is a jackpot. The storyline in Blood of Heirs may be relatively small in scope but it’s bloody huge in impact. Wanstall-Burke expertly demonstrates how a well-written book can make any kind of conflict—no matter how small or large—tremendously intense to read. One small example: a debate between parents in this book felt incredibly tense and more pulse-pounding than some war scenes I’ve read. Full of twists and turns, unpredictable, and wonderfully paced, there was simply never a dull moment within this debut.
One of the main factors behind the addictive nature of the book was how well-written and developed the two main characters were. Lidan’s story, which imbued the themes of family and defiance to subservience, was empowering to read. Ran’s story, which centered around war, survival, and magic, was equally immersive and engaging in a different way. Their feelings, thoughts, and motivations were clearly delivered to the audience. Plus, the dialogues and interactions between the two main POV and their respective side characters were a constant page-turning experience.
Greatness encapsulated every single action scenes; all of them were brimming with tension and crucial to the plot progression or characters’ development. It was almost as if both the characters and action sequences were dancing to the dark tune the author has orchestrated; resulting in dramatically memorable scenes that will stick with readers. Wanstall-Burke’s way of handling the characters’ development, their environment, and the bad situations they were in was utterly well-composed that it felt like I was truly there with them. As a matter of fact, I was so invested and engrossed by the characters’ respective journeys that I forgot that there was a map of the world for me to observe, one I ended up checking only before starting and after finishing the novel.
Excluding a few repetitive wordings—specifically “bile/vomit burning/boiling in her/his throat.”—that I found to be a bit distracting within the first half of the book, I was fully hooked by the narrative due to Wanstall-Burke’s well-polished prose. Honestly, the book really didn’t feel like a debut effort. Wanstall-Burke did her world-building efficiently; although the main characters’ stories took place far from each other without converging in this installment, the feeling that they’re still part of the same world was always there. There are four or five other fantasy series I’ve read that tried the same Daenerys POV treatment—putting a character in a completely different land with their own story—that felt completely disjointed from each other because their respective stories didn’t feel like they belong in the same book. I didn’t get that feeling here. To elaborate upon my point, Lidan’s POV took place in the South Land; swords and iron are extremely rare to find in this region but they’re common in the North, which is where Ranoth’s story took place. Additionally, judging from the ending of the book, it certainly looks like an expansion to the magic, politics, and history of the world will be coming in the sequel.
I’ve been having one of the greatest months of reading in my life this September; I’ve rated recently read books 4.5 stars four times in a row, and this impressive debut serves to increase that streak to five. Blood of Heirs is a superbly written, pulse-pounding, and evocative debut that’s designed to effortlessly pull readers into Wanstall-Burke’s imagination. The book isn’t even officially out yet and I’m already looking forward to devouring the sequel. I’m currently in the middle of compiling a list of the top 10 best self-published books I’ve ever read, with the intention of publishing it at the end of this year; I assure you that this book will be there.
Official release date: October 27th, 2018