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Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke – SPFBO Review

Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke – SPFBO Review
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Book Name: Blood of Heirs
Author: Alicia Wanstall-Burke
Publisher(s): Self-Published
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Ebook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: October 27, 2018

Blood of Heirs (cover)Lidan Tolak is the fiercest of her father’s daughters; more than capable of one day leading her clan. But caught between her warring parents, Lidan’s world begins to unravel when another of her father’s wives falls pregnant. Before she has time to consider the threat of a brother, a bloody swathe is cut through the heart of the clan and Lidan must fight, not only to prove her worth, but simply to survive.

Ranoth Olseta wants nothing more than to be a worthy successor to his father’s throne. When his home is threatened by the aggressive Woaden Empire, Ran becomes his city’s saviour, but powers within him are revealed by the enemy and he is condemned to death. Confused and betrayed, Ran is forced to flee his homeland, vowing to reclaim what he has lost, even if it kills him.

Facing an unknown future, and battling forces both familiar and foreign, can Lidan and Ran overcome the odds threatening to drag them into inescapable darkness?

This is our finalist, the book we chose from the thirty we were handed and the one that remains standing after all others have fallen. Why, you may ask? Well, I’ll let the judges tell you.

Julia

My first impression was already an incredibly positive one. A female main character with bow and arrow running. As a runner and an archer, I obviously was hooked right away! After that initial perfect start, the book felt a little bit too familiar at first: Two POVs—both young. It seemed like I’ve read this before.

But, unlike a lot of other books I’ve read for SPFBO over the years, this one got stronger by the page. We started to swerve off the beaten path after a while and the book started to feel brand new! I loved the different setting—I don’t think I’ve read a secondary-world fantasy inspired by Australia, and I loved that. 

For the characters, I clicked right away with the first MC, the second one took me a bit longer to care for. He had some growing to do. But I did enjoy following along his journey.

What really made this one my favourite of the 30 books in the Fantasy-Faction batch was the consistent overall quality. That goes for prose, formatting, cover and the map! The whole book could easily have come from a traditional publisher. The tone and voice simply worked for me and made it hard to put the book down. The pace was well balanced, and I didn’t have any moments when I wanted to pause it even for a bit. I devoured the whole thing quickly and I already pre-ordered a signed hardcover of book two, that’s how much I enjoyed it!

Lynn K.

This is one of our strongest entries in our group. For me the story is engrossing, the characters are flawed, and the author brings the tale of each protagonist together very slowly rather than just tossing them into the same struggle. Although young, the feelings of the main characters clicked with me at once. I loved the well written prose and was impressed with the many descriptions in the worldbuilding, which is filled with frightful creatures. The text is very well edited, and the layout and cover are perfect.

The story is built on generations of tradition within the land, and the main characters are upsetting the balance of the way of life of the people through power and discovery. Although it seems like a typical YA tale, it quickly becomes obvious this is a dark story. 

The excellent female protagonist, Lidan, doesn’t suffer the pitfalls of too good or too weak. She’s breaking traditions while trying to become what no other has in claiming her place within her clan. The second POV is just as engaging, as Ranoth, set to be a leader, is suddenly beset by a curse amongst his people without hope of escaping its penalty, which is death. 

An excellent start to a powerful epic trilogy that left me yearning for the next book in the series. 

Mariëlle

Blood of Heirs was definitely my favorite book of our batch! It has a good, balanced pace, is well written and takes place in an original world. We get to see two completely different parts of the world created and the words simply painted it to my mind’s eye.

The two main characters are interesting, and both felt complete, but I must say I liked Lidan best. In my favorite scene of the book she gets to show just how badass she is (has become).

It didn’t feel like a self-published book with its gorgeous cover (by Pen Astridge I believe), beautiful map and overall formatting. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next in Legacy of Ghosts! (I already ordered it)

– – –

At the end of Round One of Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog-Off #5, where we now sit, we can look back on months of reading, thinking, discussing, championing (is that a word?), and fighting for our favourites. However, the competition is just beginning. Each blog has picked their favourite, the one book from the multitude, the novel they think could win the whole thing.

For us, we’ll be following Blood of Heirs closely, with crossed fingers (and everything else), hoping and wishing it does as well as we expect.

Onwards fellow readers, to glory, to words, paragraphs, stories, and character arcs!

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