DISCLAIMER: THE WRITE READS PROVIDED ME A DIGITAL COPY OF THE NOVEL BLOOD OF THE LOST KINGDOM BY KRISTIN WARD IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 282 Pages
Publishing: 3rd August 2021
Mysterious. Hidden. Sacred. Erabel is the beating heart of Dorcha Wood. And its heir has come home.
Fleeing the man who betrayed her, Fiadh returns to her beloved forest, into its heart, to discover her people. And herself. With the aid of Veren, an Aos Sí warrior, she explores her birthright, a world safeguarded from the corruption of mankind. There, she learns the history of a mighty race and the vastness of the power coursing through her blood.
But beyond Erabel’s boundaries, men are flocking, rallying to an evil lord who covets the strength flowing in Fiadh’s veins. They have their eyes fixed on the lost kingdom of the Aos Sí, and it’s only a matter of time before they breach those borders and come for Fiadh and all who protect her.
All around her, the world is closing in, as some plot in shadows, and others in the stark light of day.
Author’s Bio from her website:
Kristin Ward is an award-winning young adult author living in Connecticut. A science and math teacher for over twenty years, she infuses her geeky passions into stories that meld realism and fantasy. Kristin embraces her inner nerd regularly, often quoting 80s movies while expecting those around her to chime in with appropriate rejoinders. As a nature freak, she can be found wandering the woods – she may be lost, so please stop and ask if you see her – or chilling in her yard with all manner of furry and feathered friends. Often referred to as a unicorn by colleagues who remain in awe of her ability to create or find various and sundry things in mere moments. In reality, the horn was removed years ago, leaving only a mild imprint that can be seen if she tilts her head just right. A lifelong lover of books and writing, she dreamed of becoming an author for thirty years before publishing her award-winning debut in 2018. Her first novel, After the Green Withered, is one of many things you should probably read.
My Thoughts on Blood of the Lost Kingdom:
I have a lot of thoughts running in my head but to be concise, I like the first book better than the second and I’m saying this as objectively as I can. Let me enumerate my thoughts following the typical fairy tale structure: negative first, then positive.
Things I’m not a fan of:
What is with Darragh and his “tsk’d” I am not sure if this is for onomatopeia purposes but some sentences could have made this more impressive:
- Darragh clicked his tongue in impatience.
- Darragh snorted derisively.
Was it an editorial decision to keep it because I saw at least two of them?
I also don’t like the guy but we have paragraphs of beautiful writing talking about the different forests and creatures and here we have an antagonist who only gets four letters with an apostrophe. I might be nitpicking at this point, I may be completely wrong, but this is rather inconsistent with the overall writing and ‘sound’ of the story.
Things I’m affected by:
Many chapters of the book are devoted to Fiadh being in awe of her surroundings (I can’t blame her, the description is superb) while getting angry at Krulan and his partner, Rivya, for no reason. I understand that she has led a completely different life before all the events come down on her but couldn’t she ask the one responsible for the answers to her questions instead of getting angry at those people or creatures around her? She has been oblivious to the so-called secret for many years. What’s a few minutes of wait? If you don’t know something is coming, you’re not exactly waiting for it, right?
Perhaps the previous events triggered something in her and I definitely understand that but she is misdirecting her anger and hostility. Rivya didn’t kill her mother, nor did she betray her love.
I might be too partial to the Cu-Sith but Fiadh’s treatment of them, Rivya, in particular, isn’t deserving of their loyalty. The way I see it, questioning how they are bound by their oath is tantamount to asking “why haven’t you killed me yet?” Without their oath and loyalty to Threa and the Great Mother, she’s just another offspring. I expect more character growth from her. She has some big shoes to fill.
What’s amusing is it has taken about 13 chapters or so for Fiadh to get to know who she really is and by that time I finally understood why she is so worked up -granted that Gideon’s chapters have to go in between. She has spent several chapters spewing “Why aren’t you telling me anything?” but once the story is unraveled, she doesn’t want to believe it. What’s more, her treatment of Veren is a stark contrast. Could it be because he is gorgeous (I can only imagine) or is it because this is the one who has the answers to her questions?
What I adore about the book:
Erabel, that’s it.
Getting to Erabel and unlocking some of its mysteries have been a treat for me. The lore doesn’t disappoint. I stand by what I said in my review of The Girl of Dorcha Wood. Who wouldn’t want to bathe in a pool with mermaid-like creatures? or interact with Dasha? Eat, sleep and play in an ancient kingdom filled with trees? And a unicorn! That must be enough a reason to be fascinated.
Apart from that scenes that I like in the novel include Fiadh’s connection with her charming bird, Dasha, Krulan and Veren. They are so intimate that I can feel what Fiadh is feeling as she looks at the horizon through Dasha’s eyes. Krulan’s passion and Veren’s wisdom and aura are palpable. I might be jumping to conclusions here but what they have, in my own judgment is a bond more powerful than love.
I was looking forward to reading more about Krulan and seeing how loyal he was to Threa, what he had to sacrifice and do for the sake of Fiadh’s safety, I can say I am blessed.
You’re surprised just as I am. I mentioned this in my review of the first book but Gideon as the male lead character … is less convincing than Krulan? But he redeems himself in this second novel. His interaction with Aishling is compelling. Here’s a broken man, who has just lost his kingdom, his family, the woman he fell in love with (even when he was hoodwinked), finding purpose in the form of an orphan. He has considered raising her as his own and vowed to protect her with all his might, only to arrive at a conclusion that she can’t be safe staying with him. Their meeting might be short but his anguish is real. This part alone can be a novel plot in itself.
Strong female characters
The series has introduced great female characters. In the first novel, Riona though mortal proves how strong she is by protecting her daughter and taking care of people in need. Her demise doesn’t tarnish her strength as Fiadh’s adoptive mother. We have the Great Mother, Danu. We have the ethereal Threa. But how cool is Kaelari? I would have liked more chapters on Fiadh’s training with her as the latter harnesses her power. Becoming the heir of Danu warrants longer chapters and descriptions than that of eating fruit. They’re going to war after all. Understanding the history behind it is necessary but so is the preparation and equipping oneself. Perhaps this is because of my anime background (Does anyone remember how long Luffy trained?) which conflicts with the narration and how it is intended but I think I won’t be disappointed by her show of strength in the next book. Back to Kaelari– I simply adore how she isn’t simply a black and white character. She played a key part in Erabel’s grim past. Her atonement might not be as simple as helping Fiadh get stronger.
The villains are getting more interesting as well. We have the Elfen King, Rygeil, who like any great leader, succumbed to the dark side of power. On the other hand, we have the mage who betrayed the Elfen King’s trust. I already knew from the first book that Xander is a key player in all this. Then we have the heirs of Carmun. There’s the explanation for Darragh’s mom’s creepiness.
The last chapter is spectacular. Finally, all the players in the next war are on the same field! I swear I would really tear Darragh’s face if I could. I welcome the cliffhanger with open arms. It’s the beginning of the end. The display of motivation and power from both sides is so moving. I almost pity Gideon because, among the characters in the scene, he’s the only one who doesn’t understand a thing and is always led by someone else. I hope in the succeeding book, he gets another redemption.
I think this post perfectly encapsulates how immersed I was in reading The Blood of the Lost Kingdom. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a clip of me reading the first chapters and how I reacted to the scenes (albeit silently, you can still see my lousy penmanship on some notes).