Book Review : Blood of the Chosen

I received this book for free from Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review : Blood of the ChosenBlood of the Chosen (Burningblade & Silvereye, #2) by Django Wexler
Published by Orbit on October 5th 2021
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 480
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four-half-stars
Source: Orbit Books

"Fantasy at its finest."--Nicholas Eames, on Ashes of the Sun  In the second book of Django Wexler's epic fantasy trilogy about two siblings divided by magic and revolution, Gyre must travel across the Splinter Kingdoms to rally the rebels to his side, while his sister Maya uncovers the secrets of a powerful artifact that could change everything. Gyre finally sees a way to overthrow the all-powerful Twilight Order. But he'll have to gain the alliance of both the ghouls and the human rebels to the south in order to even stand have a chance. And uniting them won't be so simple.
His sister Maya is still a soldier of the Order. But after clashing with her brother, she isn't so certain where her loyalties lie. Chasing the origins of a mysterious artifact to a long-lost library, she just might find the answers she's looking for. Burning Blade & Silver Eye
Ashes of the SunBlood of the Chosen
   

Blood of the Chosen is the scintillating follow-up to Ashes of the Sun. Some novels suffer from sequel syndrome, but I found Blood of the Chosen to be even better than its predecessor. With most of the world-building and foundations firmly laid in the first novel, Blood of the Chosen was freely able to focus on the action. Blood of the Chosen was so riveting that I had a lot of trouble putting this novel down to do anything else. 

 

Like Ashes of the Sun, Blood of the Chosen follows a brother and sister on the opposite sides of a war. Gyre, the older brother, seeks to overthrow the Order, of which his sister Maya, is a flourishing member. What I love so much about Blood of the Chosen is that author Django Wexler does such a great job of making both characters and their causes sympathetic. Even though their beliefs are in direct opposition and conflict to one another, I can easily see things from both Gyre’s and Maya’s perspectives, which I think really adds to the drama of their decisions and confrontations. Blood of the Chosen easily makes me as invested in the relationship and the conflict between Gyre and Maya as I am in say, the Skywalker saga in Star Wars. 

 

He couldn’t help but think about his sister, as much as he tried not to. Someday, it’ll be her they send after me.” 

 

And just like Star Wars, Blood of the Chosen takes place in a fantastical world. I absolutely love the lore of the ancient Chosen, the ghouls, and the Order. I love that characters are essentially living in the dregs of what was lost after the Chosen were destroyed by the Plague, and are just trying to survive in a world riddled with horrifying creatures known as plaguespawn. Much of Blood of the Chosen asks, what is worse, the monsters that riddle the earth or the humans with supernatural powers who strive to protect it as part of the Order? Add in two long-lost siblings on different sides, and readers can delight in a spicy family drama with potentially devastating ramifications.

 

In Blood of the Chosen, stakes are higher than ever before, as Gyre seeks to ally the ghouls with the rebels and Maya seeks out answers about the truth of the Order in a hidden library. Maya is joined on her quest by her girlfriend, arcanist Beq, and her eccentric scout, Varos Plaguewalker, and even Tanax, her fellow Centarch. Gyre, on the other hand, is joined by Kit, his ex-lover and now construct, Elariel the ghoul, and Sarah the Rebel. I really love everyone in the eccentric cast of characters, and feel invested in every single one of them. Their bond feels so authentic, their ribs at one another’s expense humorous, and their knowledge of one another’s abilities exactly what you want in a party off to change the world for better or worse. 

 

The only things I did not like quite as much in this novel was that Maya makes a pretty significant and dumb decision in Blood of the Chosen that I saw coming a mile away. I realize that this decision, which has epic and massive consequences, is really gonna heat things up in future entries of the series, so I am not too upset about it, but I definitely lamented that it was the main heroine who had to make such a catastrophic mistake. Though Gyre made a pretty huge error in judgement himself in Ashes of the Sun, he was almost immediately able to correct his poor decisions, and before the novel even ended, Maya is not given the same opportunity afforded to the male protagonist, which made me a little disappointed. However, I have no doubt that Maya will be working toward correcting her mistakes in future entries. I was just disappointed that it seems to always be the female character making earth shattering mistakes out of naivete. 

 

Also, it seems that because Blood of the Chosen was so fast-paced, not as much time was available to give to the side cast of characters. Though I really love all of them, including the newly introduced characters, I can’t help but feel that they’re all more archetypes than actually fully-fleshed out, individual characters. For example, Beq feels more like Maya’s girlfriend and sidekick than anything else. I know very little outside of her relationship with Maya, other than that she grew up in the Order, that she likes reading and arcana, and that her father is also an arcanist. She doesn’t have any scenes independent of Maya, keeping her firmly rooted as a side character. In fact, this is the case for all characters outside of Maya and Gyre, and I would like to see the other characters get to act on their own in future entries of the series. In spite of the fact that these characters are more side characters than full cast members, they still manage to feel pretty dynamic, so it’s no wonder that I can’t help but to want to see them all come outside of Maya and Gyre’s shadow.

 

Even with these nitpicky drawbacks of mine in mind, I was really blown away by Blood of the Chosen. I am already fiercely anticipating the next entry in the series, which has honestly become one of my favorites. I cannot wait to see where Maya and Gyre’s journeys take them, and what it will mean for their world at large.

 

four-half-stars
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Book Review : Blood of the Chosen - Blogging with Dragons

Posted September 21, 2021 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

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