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A Time of Blood by John Gwynne – Spoiler Free Review

A Time of Blood by John Gwynne – Spoiler Free Review
Book Name: A Time of Blood
Author: John Gwynne
Publisher(s): Orbit (US) Macmillan (UK)
Formatt: Paperback / Ebook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: April 16, 2019


Defy the darkness. Defend the light.

Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.

Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill.

As demonic forces multiply, they send a mighty war-host to overthrow the angel’s stronghold. This could decimate the fractured Ben-Elim. And their allies in the Order may be too overwhelmed to send aid—with Fritha and her monstrous beasts closing in. Like heroes of old, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?


A Time of Blood is the second book in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy by the author of the Faithful and the Fallen series, John Gwynne. Both series are set in the same world, but this trilogy takes place a hundred years after the events of the Faithful and the Fallen. A Time of Blood picks up a few days after the events of, A Time of Dread. Like the first book, this installment follows multiple perspectives, although there are a few differences in which characters we’re following. This is one of my most anticipated book releases of 2019.

Since this is a sequel, I will not be going into details of the plot to avoid spoilers.

After loving the first book, I had high hopes for the second, and it did not disappoint. Gwynne has done a fantastic job developing the story and preparing it for the third and final instalment. The reader is dropped straight back into the action and it doesn’t let up for the rest of the book. Despite being almost 500 pages long, this was quite a fast read for me, because I needed to know what was going to happen next! There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you glued to the pages, as well as keeping you guessing.

Gwynne once again showcases his skill at writing action scenes. The battle sequences are epic in scale without being bogged down by too much detail and are gripping to read. Even when there is a break in the action, the story remains engaging, because these sections are used effectively to develop characters and their relationships. The writing continues to be superb and the pacing is so well suited to the story. Gwynne continues to build on a wonderfully vivid world, and it was great to see more of it in this instalment. Politics continue to play a part in the story, giving you more of an understanding of the world and how it works. It also adds a certain level of tension, because you never fully know who to trust due to the scheming. Each side is preparing for war and they will do what they have to in order to win.

It was great to be back with the characters. All of them are incredibly well written and their development in this sequel is so well done. They are all complex and flawed with distinct personalities and interesting back stories. The friendships between them are a highlight of this book (and trilogy). Each perspective is as compelling as the last and the changes never felt jarring. In some multiple perspective fantasy books, I find the switches in perspective disrupt the flow of the story but that it not the case here.

In A Time of Blood we follow four main character views; three of which are on the ‘good’ side and one on the ‘bad’ side. I love that each side thinks they are the good ones as it leads to an interesting look into the fantasy trope of good vs. evil. Gwynne continues to pull no punches when it comes to his characters, so expect to feel some fear about their fates. I am both nervous and excited to see what is in store for them next.

While there are mentions of characters and events of the Faithful and the Fallen series in this book (and the first one), it is possible to read this trilogy without having read the other series. However, to get the most out of this trilogy, I would recommend reading the Faithful and the Fallen first. It will give you a wider understanding of the world and story.

Overall this was a fantastic instalment, and I cannot wait to see how things progress in the third and final book. A Time of Blood contains a gripping story, a wonderful cast of characters and superb writing. If you loved the first book and/or the Faithful and the Fallen series, then you will love this one too. I highly recommend checking it out, if you haven’t already. Of Blood and Bone has gone straight onto my favourites shelf. At this moment, there is no release date or title for the third book. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the conclusion.

*I received a digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*


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