Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

Title: Blood Song (Lharmell, #1)
Author: Rhiannon Hart
Pages: 290 (ARC copy)
Publisher: Random House Australia
Release Date: September 1, 2011
I wanted to turn but I was held captive by the song on the wind. I’m coming, I told the voices. Please, wait for me.

When her sister becomes betrothed to a prince in a northern nation, Zeraphina’s only consolations are that her loyal animal companions are by her side – and that her burning hunger to travel north is finally being sated.

Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king’s advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more.

Zeraphina must be willing to sacrifice everything if she’s to uncover the truth – but what if the truth is beyond her worst nightmares?

My Thoughts: Blood Song first came to my attention after finding out it was written by an Australian author. (If you don't already know, I love to read Australian YA!) I became even more curious after reading some great reviews. Fantasy seems to be one of the genres that I tend to pay less attention to. I'm not sure why. I have read some young-adult fantasy that I really love and are some of my favorite books. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to read Blood Song because I'm finally able to add another YA fantasy and Aussie novel to my favorites!

For the past few years, sixteen-year-old Zeraphina has had a strange craving for blood. Although she has never tried any, there are times where she can't stop thinking about it. What's worse is that she has felt an urge, a pull to go North. She practices archery to keep herself distracted, but it's in the back of her mind all the time and every day these urges and cravings seem to slowly intensify, causing her immense pain. She finds relief when her older sister becomes engaged to a prince from Pergamia, a northern country of Brivora. By accompanying her sister to Pergamia, Zeraphina has a chance to figure out why she's drawn northwards and why she hungers for blood. But the answers she desperately wants and eventually finds end up making her life much more complicated than before.

As soon as I read the first chapter, I knew I was going to love Blood Song. Zeraphina and her sister Lilith and mother Renata were making me laugh with some of the things they said. I love when a book gets me to laugh! I didn't even know there would be a bit of humor, so it was a nice surprise. (Other readers might not find it quite as hilarious I did, but oh well, maybe it's just the kind of humor I like.) What I loved about it is that it showed how close they were as a family. It was so great to read about two sisters actually getting along. There was no rivalry between Zeraphina and Lilith, and while Renata is just a little overbearing, it's obvious she cares deeply for her daughters and only wants the best for them.
"I knew what you were the minute I saw you [...] and you seemed so fierece, so...human, that it gave me hope."
That is part of one of my favorite quotes in the book. I couldn't include the entire quote and the next line because it might be a bit spoiler-y. But I can say that is was Rodden Lothskorn speaking to Zeraphina. Rodden is the 22-year-old advisor of the Pergamian king. He's mysterious and intriguing but also arrogant and infuriating. From the moment Zeraphina meets him, they can't seem to get along. Zeraphina is clever and pretty sarcastic and she can hold her own, so her clashing with someone like Rodden wasn't surprising. Their bickering kept me laughing, and I loved it.

Zeraphina doesn't know if Rodden can be trusted and he seems to feel the same way about her. I can understand Zeraphina's frustration, since Rodden is part of the reason why her life gets even more complicated. He hints at having the answers she wants but avoids giving them to her...until she starts figuring him out. I'm very happy it didn't take the entire book to get some answers. There is still a bit of mystery from Rodden, though, because he never goes into detail about his past. I really look forward to knowing more about him in the next book, and hopefully there will be more moments between him and Zeraphina because their connection was something that I really loved about the book.

I recommend Blood Song to Kristin Cashore fans and fans of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. And if you're not a huge fantasy fan, you should still give this book a read! It's hard not to get sucked into the story from the very beginning. There's enough suspense and action, and the world in Blood Song is beautiful but not overwhelming. Plus, who doesn't like awesome and kickass characters? Blood Song is the first book in a trilogy, and I'm already anxious and excited for the second book. So, if you get the chance, be sure to read it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Huge thanks to Nomes @ inkcrush for sending out her ARC!
(FYI: Blood Song can be ordered at FishpondWorld with free shipping worldwide.)

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