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Review of Blood of the Realm by Lee Sanders and Michael McNelly

Review of Blood of the Realm by Lee Sanders and Michael McNellyBlood of the Realm by Lee Sanders, Michael McNelly
Series: The Nayoran Saga #1
on 04/25/2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 606

Author WebsiteAmazoniBooksBarnes&Noble

For three centuries House Albareen has ruled the Nayoran Peninsula, enduring through invasions, uprisings and the endless machinations of the noble Houses.

Now the Albareen face their most desperate hour. A king in decline… rivals plotting to seize the throne… and a cabal of mages, outlawed and persecuted, on the verge of re-discovering their ancient strength. And with it, the power to conquer the Peninsula… or to destroy it.

Blood of the Realm is the first book in The Nayoran Saga, an epic fantasy cycle by Lee Sanders and Michael McNelly.

There were some moments in this book that I loved, and some I didn’t. Someday when the second one comes out, I’ll buy it. So here’s my thoughts:

I never really connected with the characters. The brothers felt stiff to me, and the sister was involved in a plot that didn’t interest me (palace intrigue). I’ve come to conclude that I like a fair amount of banter between characters, whether they like each other or not. I like a bit of light dialog, stuff that isn’t entirely focused on the plot, but rather feels like a normal conversation. The dialog in this book felt a bit plot driven, which did its part to keep me at a distance. This is purely a matter of personal taste, as are most of the things I didn’t absolutely love.

That said, Malcolm’s storyline held my interests more than the other two. He faced more challenges and it was a scene with him and some ether ghouls that ended up being my favorite bloody mess. It was intense and I was totally engrossed in the story during that scene. It was brilliant and written superbly. Loved it! Not to mention his Fivescore. Really great group that I wish we… well, no spoilers.

I disliked Gwendoline’s storyline just as a matter of personal taste. As I said above, I do not linger long on palace intrigue, and her section was lengthy at times. I must say she was the more fleshed out character, and if her storyline would have been switched with Malcolm’s, I would have enjoyed this book even more.

Jerrith’s story fell in the middle for me. I was curious how things would play out and it held my attention. However, just as with Malcolm, he felt stiff. Again, a bit of banter or casual dialog could have pulled me in more to his story.

Now, all these different story threads come together at the end. The final confrontation is well done. However, I’m not sure how I feel about the last few chapters. It kinda left me… cold. Looks like there will be a second book and I’m definitely curious about it. Things were wrapped up, if not a little bit hastily, but there was plenty dangling that could carry into a new story. Rest assured, if you have issues with cliffhangers, you’re safe from those here. There’s a few lose ends, but like I said, it didn’t leave me begging for answers. It was merely an outlet for future books.

The magic system was interesting. The mages had to “dose” on a resin to enhance their abilities and allow them to perform magic. But doing so marked them and they live in a place were mages are not welcomed. Gave it an interesting twist.

I will say the writing, for me, was clean and flowed very nicely. When I was engaged, I was completely there and it was beautiful. Towards the end it loosened up a bit and I can see that in the second book there might be a bit more that could lend itself to my taste.

So, in conclusion, if you like a bit of palace intrigue, an interesting magic system, and a good overall plot, you’ll definitely enjoy the book.

About Lee Sanders

Lee Sanders broke through the ranks of Hollywood composers in 2001, scoring New Line Cinema’s The Lord of the Rings website. His music is heard by millions of people worldwide on The Amazing Race (CBS), the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Logo, and dozens of other TV shows, films, video games and online programs.

Lee has won eight BMI Film & Television Awards for his work on The Amazing Race, and serves as a member of the Television Academy. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

About Michael McNelly

Michael McNelly worked with Rolls Royce as an Aerospace Engineer, where he built jet engines and investigated airplane failures. He also worked with Google during its rise to prominence as one of the most famous companies in the world.

Michael is a founding member of the Irish music band The Gallowglasses, which performs in Europe and the United States. He enjoys cooking gourmet food for his family and friends.

Michael lives in Los Gatos, California with his wife and three children.

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