Friday, June 3, 2016

The Daughter of Blood - Review

Daughter of Blood
The Wall of Night Book Three
By Helen Lowe

A failing wall, a broken shield . . . and an enemy that will exploit every weakness

Malian and Kalan are coming home, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, dangerously weakened by civil war among the Derai families that garrison it, is on the verge of failing. Everywhere their ancient enemy, the Darksworn, is on the move as the threads of an old pattern begin to tighten about Kalan, and Malian searches for answers in the fabled Shield of Heaven, which every account agrees was broken beyond repair.

In Grayharbor and in the Red Keep, a child and a young woman are caught in conflict's maw, as whispers gather around Dread Pass and a Darksworn prophecy points to Malian herself being the stake the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.
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It was a long wait but it was certainly worth it.

In Daughter of Blood, the third volume of The Wall of Night series by Helen Lowe, story threads begin to pull together and Malian of Night and her honour bound companion Kalan begin their long trek back to the Derai Wall in northern Haarth.

Though Lowe is undoubtedly a gifted story teller, and books one and two in the series are great, I would have to say that this book is my favorite to date. And that's a good a thing, we always like our favoured authors getting better with each book they produce, and that has happened here.

In book one, The Heir of Night, we were introduced to Malian in her role as the heir to the earldom of the Derai House of Night, as well as that of being the being the prophesied savior of the Derai and scourge of their archenemies, Swarm of the Dark; we also met the Kalan, the young warrior of the House of Blood who was cast out of his own house to be taken in by the priests of House Night when his mystic talent manifest itself. Bound together by fate they flee the Wall, following a half remembered prophecy and scattered legends. In book two, The Gathering of the Lost, the greater world is explored as both Malian and Kalan learn the things they need, growing in age and ability, so they can return to the Wall and their waiting destiny.

Daughter of the Blood picks up all the threads of books one and two and continues weaving the massive tapestry that is The Wall of Night, adding to the cast of characters with new arrivals and bringing into the spotlight those only hinted at before, to brighten and darken in turn, the story as it unfolds. Lowe's characterisation is flawless; people from different nations and houses, with varying customs and traditions and prejudices, flavour the story like fine spices while the action keeps moving apace. Lowe also shows herself to be deft hand at martial fight scenes - which are engaging and move like something from an action thriller - which she then balances with the mystical. In The Wall of Night, magic is not used like electricity - it is powerful and profound, its wielders holding positions of honour in the Swarm of the Dark, and positions of suspicion in the Derai - who thus weaken themselves and cripple their greatest weapons.

Filled with old European pageantry and the blood thirsty political machinations of a more advance culture, Daughter of the Blood is bound with hope and honour on the one side and betrayal and greed on the other, as the hinge of the ages shifts and the shackles of prophecy pull tight around a people on the verge of civil war. Presented within a narrative that moves with constant action and a series of game changing revelations that deepen our connection to the characters, Daughter of Blood unfurls with the force of an avalanche, thundering around us with increasing weight and pull that we have to race ahead of to get to the end and find out what is going to happen! 

Bring on book four - please. I can't wait!

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