TITLE: Blood Song
AUTHOR: Rhiannon Hart
SERIES: Lharmell #1
PUBLISHER: Random House AU
PAGES: 290 (Paperback)
EXTRA: Signed by author (thank you!)
Though I love all you American and British authors who tell such lovely stories, when I heard about Blood Song – an Aussie creation – I was determined to read it. Unbelievably, I actually won a copy through Jess (I never win things!) and I must say that Blood Song was not what I expected, but it exceeded my expectations by far.
Ms. Hart’s debut novel tells the story of Zeraphina, a princess from a barren kingdom who experiences an extreme longing to go north – and to drink blood. When her sister Lilith is offered an invitation of marriage from a northern kingdom Zeraphina jumps at the chance to come and learn more about her bizarre desires. During her visit Zeraphina begins to put the clues together, joining the dots between a childhood sickness, her animal familiars, and the strange country of Lharmell which everyone fears. But strangest of all is Rodden, a man who holds many secrets and the answers to all of hers, though it seems he will stop at nothing to make her go back home.
Zeraphina was a good heroine for the story: strong, hot tempered, intelligent, and most of all brave. Though she tended to obsess on the Who am I? What am I? questions she had a likable personality and it was great to get inside her head on these incredible adventures. Her chemistry with Rodden was obvious, and their relationship was the ultimate hate-love conundrum.
For the first half of the book the plot was fast paced, drawing you straight in and never letting you go. The story line for me was completely unique, and I felt a desire to learn more about Lharmell and who and what Zeraphina was with her. Although, from there up until the last ball things seemed to drag, Zeraphina was still clueless whereas I had already worked almost everything out from the clues given. That was at tad annoying, but the last few chapters certainly made up for it.
One thing that let Blood Song down a touch was the writing. Whilst it was straight to the point, it was almost too direct and simplistic. It lacked creative flair, a level of description and imagery that really brings you into the world the author has created. Though in saying that the world building really was well done, creating a proper fantasy feel with its traditional kingdoms and grand balls. The drastic change of scenery towards the end helped me understand how vastly different the two places were, and the images created in my mind were like nothing I had ever imagined before.
Though it did have some flaws, Blood Song was a well constructed, intriguing novel full of adventure, mystery, fantasy and a touch of romance. It should appeal to die-hard-fantasy-lovers and casual readers alike, and is a perfect ‘light’ read for whiling away a few hours curled up on the sofa.
I’m certainly not going to die in agony waiting for book two, Blood Storm, but I will be among the first grabbing a copy in my local store.