Another Monday....sigh.....Luckily, I have an exciting book and giveaway for you all today to perk you up. Last winter, I had the pleasure of being surprised and swept away by Firebrand by Gillian Phillip(see my review here). I went into it with trepidation as I am not usually a big fantasy reader and it was being billed as violent. Imagine my surprise when I ended up swept away by the tale of two brothers. I loved it! I jumped at the opportunity to read the sequel. This is a series that I wish more people would try. Today, I have my review for you of book two, Bloodstone, along with a giveaway! Let me tell you a bit more about the author first:
Gillian Philip is also know as Gabriella Poole, author of the Darke Academy series. I live in the north-east highlands of Scotland, with one husband, two children, three dogs (Cluny, Milo and Otto), two psychotic cats (the Ghost and the Darkness), a slayer hamster (Buffy), three chickens (Mapp, Lucia and Mrs Norris) and a lot of nervous fish. I have taken a solemn vow not to get any more pets. I will probably break this vow.
Writing for a living is (a) what I always wanted to do; (b) occasionally frustrating; (c) a lot of fun – I take dictation from the characters in my head, who spend their lives telling me what’s going to happen next.
But I like it that I never know just how it’s all going to end – not till the fat lady sings, the villain meets a suitably sticky end, and the boy gets the girl (or indeed the boy).
As well as full-length books, I write fiction for secondary Key Stage 3. Life Of The Party, Mind’s Eye, Sea Fever and Cyber Fever have been published by Evans Brothers, and short stories The Changeling, Rockface, Misty and The Kindest Cut appear in their sci fi, crime, ghost and comedy collections. And I ghostwrite fiction for companies including Hothouse and Working Partners. Visit Gillian on her website,blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Here is my review:
Bloodstone (Rebel Angels #2) by Gillian Philip
Bloodstone is the second novel in Gillian Philip’s critically acclaimed Rebel Angels series, debuting in the United States for the first time.
For centuries, Sithe warriors Seth and Conal MacGregor have hunted for the Bloodstone demanded by their Queen. Homesick, and determined to protect their clan, they have also made secret forays across the Veil. One of these illicit crossings has violent consequences that will devastate both their close family, and their entire clan.
In the Otherworld, Jed Cameron, a feral, full-mortal young thief, becomes entangled with the strange and dangerous Finn MacAngus and her shadowy uncles. When he is dragged into the world of the Sithe, it’s nothing he can’t handle until time warps around him, and menacing forces reach out to threaten his infant brother. In the collision of two worlds, war and tragedy are inevitable, especially when treachery comes from the most shocking of quarters….
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by Tor Books (first published August 2011)
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Four stars: An exciting sequel with betrayal, heartbreak and hope.
Seth and Conal have been searching relentlessly for the last four hundred years for the bloodstone. This stone is supposed to help them protect the veil that separates the mortal world from the Sithe world. Being away from their homeland for so long has made them weary and homesick. From time to time, they sneak through the watergate back home. On one visit, tragedy strikes, and the brothers are reminded how vital their mission is. Another sixteen years pass, Conal and Seth are still hunting for the stone but they fear time might be running out. Conal's mother, Leonore, the only one who could stand up to Kate, is showing signs of aging. Conal's sister, Stella, refuses to help as she has sworn to never set foot in the Sithe world again. She fiercely protects her daughter, Finn, from discovering the truth about her heritage and her homeland. When Seth encounters a boy who can catch glimpses behind the veil, he is drawn to him. This leads to all kinds of trouble. Will this boy be Seth's downfall? Will Conal and Seth find the Bloodstone in time?
What I Liked:
- Firebrand introduced me to two half brothers, Seth and Conal, who completely captured my heart and my imagination. Conal is the older brother, kind, good and the hero whom everyone respects and looks up to. He is the leader of their clan and he loves his younger brother and fiercely protects him. Seth being the bastard child, spent his youth looking to be noticed and accepted. When Conal smiled his way, his life changed. Seth is the rascal younger brother. He is brash, impetuous, hot headed and impossible sometimes. The one thing that keeps him grounded is Conal. I enjoyed catching up with the brothers and seeing how they have evolved. Their relationship goes through its ups and downs and at times, it is strained, but through it all their love and loyalty shines through. I absolutely love this brotherly bond.
- I like that this book presents the fey in an entirely new light. The Sithe,or the fey, are completely different from any other book that I have read regarding the fey. They are cold and calculating and they can be incredibly cruel, while at other times they are fiercely loyal and capable of great love. This is not your typical fey book.
- I liked that this book brought all the threads together and I liked seeing how everything fit into the story. It takes its time positioning the characters into their respective roles, but once everything is set in motion it becomes a riveting read.
- This time around, the book is told through Seth's eyes and then there are two new view points, Jed, a human with the ability to sense the Sithe, and Finn, Conal's niece. It did take a bit of time to adjust to the additional view points, especially since Finn and Jed's portions are told in third person while Seth's chapters are in first person. However, I did like seeing things through the newcomers' eyes and it gave me an entirely new perspective on Seth.
- This book packs a punch and it has some startling and heartbreaking surprises. Even though I knew what was coming due to foreshadowing, I hoped against hope that it wouldn't come to be. Still I liked that after all the sadness the book ends on a high note, and I loved the final redemption of one of the brothers.
- I appreciated that the author included a list at the beginning of the book with all the character's and their mortal names as well as their Sithe names and a little about them. It helped refresh my memory and it was helpful in that it allowed me to keep everyone straight. When characters have more than one name, things can get confusing.
- This is a series that I wish more people would try. It is exciting, thrilling and intelligent. I cannot wait to see the new direction the story will go after the final revelations. I also was relieved that the book wrapped up most of the plot lines and that there wasn't a cliffhanger.
And The Not So Much:
- This book is slow going for the first half. Unlike Firebrand which drags you in from the first terrifying chapter. It takes its time building and laying out story lines, and at times, I had no idea where it was going. Finally, everything snaps into place and makes sense, and I found that even things that had seemed of little importance had a big impact later down the road. Book two isn't quite as tight or thrilling as its predecessor, but it was still a solid read.
- While I did like that I got the additional view points of Finn and Jed, it took me a long time to warm up to either character. Finn is surly and she definitely has some issues. However, once she discovers her true heritage she starts transforming. I liked seeing how she gained a new appreciation for Seth by the end, and I liked seeing her fight. Jed is a teenage troublemaker. He steals to keep food on the table and a roof over head. When it comes to his mother and infant brother, he is all about protecting them, especially Rory. His love for Rory is reminiscent of the bond between Seth and Conal. Jed is another character that I grew to love by the end.
- Speaking of Seth and Conal, I was disappointed that Conal was absent for much of the book. Conal is preoccupied and he is a shadow of his former self. I missed his fire and bravery and I especially missed the camaraderie between the brothers. I won't go into to further details, but I will say that this book didn't speak to me the same way because the brothers weren't front and center.
- Seth is a conundrum this time around. While I know that he is a hot head and incapable of controlling himself, I was startled and disappointed by many of his actions. It was a hard pill to swallow, even when I learned the truth about why he acted the way he did. Thankfully, he does an about face and by the end he is back to being the character I loved and admired.
Bloodstone is a solid sequel even if it lacks a bit of the fire that I loved in Firebrand. There are plenty of surprises and big twists that will send your emotions on a roller coaster. I liked that after great upheaval, the book ends on a high note and that the lines are laid for the story to move in new and exciting directions.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.