Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review: Tyrant’s Blood by Fiona McIntosh

Title: Tyrant’s Blood
Author: Fiona McIntosh
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Publishing Date: Sep 2009
Hardcover: 512 pages
Series: Book 2 of the Valisar Trilogy


Ten years later, Leothar, the barbarian emperor is a changed man. The wounds caused by his savage army have healed, the commerce has flourished and the peoples of Set and the Steppes have been integrating into a new style of life promoted carefully by their leader. However the Valisar heir lives and he’s no longer a boy. Would Leothar’s new image and his way of leading be enough to appease the rebellion that’s been brewing slowly?

Don’t Judge A Book By It But...

Even though I’m not a huge fan of cover arts displaying a lone caped figure, I must admit that I like the covers created for the Valisar Trilogy. I also think that Tyrant's Blood's cover looks nicer than the first book’s. The colour scheme and the movement of the character make this cover more attractive. I wonder what’s the third book’s cover is going to look like.


I reviewed Royal Exile, the first book of the Valisar Trilogy, 2 months ago. When I finished and put down the book, I felt (or maybe I hoped) that there were more to be discovered in this story in terms of depth. If I had had the second book in my library at that time then I would have started it straightaway.

Well... I’m glad to see that my instincts weren't wrong. Tyrant’s Blood definitely raises the bar. Fiona McIntosh’s usual smooth style coupled with a better-developed storyline creates an easy-to-read page-turner.

Because the story is more mature, requiring fewer introductions, the multiple story lines are more captivating than the first book. I find the sections, switching between various story threads, well balanced, pushing the reader constantly forward. Additionally, the characters are further developed, some becoming more irritating and some more surprising. But the two things that I enjoyed the most were the unexpected twists and the magic system.

Yes! Even though, in the beginning, it looks like McIntosh is preparing us some fantasy clichés, she twists the story to create more than one surprising moments, including the end of the book. I really enjoyed these turns of events. Additionally, we learn more about the magic system in Tyrant’s Blood. It is not that unusual to read about a system where magic is costly to its wielder however McIntosh creates an interesting derivative that’s not so clear-cut. Furthermore she tells us more about the Valisar magic.

Tyrant’s Blood was a page-turner for me. I really enjoyed it and needless to say I’m looking forward to the last installment. One thing that I’d like to recommend is for you to consider the first two books as one and read them together. And if the next book is better than Tyrant’s Blood then it’s going to be a hell of an ending.

Rating: 8.5/10


"As it turned out, revenge is always a cold satisfaction; it never quite lives up to the anticipation" - Loethar

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