Monday 14 January 2013

Book review: Mark of the Blooded...

Book Two of the Kingdom of Graves Series.
By Leland Myrick.

Lord Prosper has shadows all over, it seems, and Blaise and his apprentice are no exception. The young Laurent has much that Blaise still has to teach him, but time may run out too soon. They are pursued by something evil, something without mercy. The Blooded – dark creatures of legend that no one really knows anything about – are on the move.

Char is haunted by memories, of Kaminika, of the Ten, of the king lying attacked, of shadows and elves. His mersy cravings are becoming stronger and his sleep is haunted by dreams of the kind that feel too real. The kind that are too disturbing not to be real. Evil is definitely out there in more than one form and Prosper seems to be at the heart of it. Char has a new mission.

Mark of the Blooded picks up where book one left off and continues the high-action, pacy style we became familiar with in The Ten. Jorophe’s story among The Ten continues, but it is Char who feels like the protagonist in this volume. He is written with great depth and insight and is a strong focus around which the story plays out. The worldbuilding is also depicted skilfully and action is well balanced with exposition where necessary.

Combat is a great strength in the story once again. Gore is handled appropriately with tight description and occasional witty character remarks and reactions to ensure the right tone is maintained throughout the book. The plot is strong and its unpredictability ensures the reader continues through each chapter as the different bands of warriors and assassins follow their goals.

Mark of the Blooded also reveals that underlying threat to the world which came into focus towards the end of book one – where The Ten left much unresolved, book two is much more of a whole story that explains the history and wider concerns of the world as well as continuing the adventure and action sequences. The climax is satisfying, but saying that, there is certainly scope for another book in the series after this one.

Elloise Hopkins.

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