Title / A Time of Blood
Author / John Gwynne
Publication Date / 2019
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 496
Overall Rating / ★★★★★
*I recieved a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This is the second book in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy by the author of the Faithful and the Fallen series. Both series are set in the same world, but this trilogy takes place a hundred years after the events of the Faithful and the Fallen series. It picks up a few days after the events of the first book, A Time of Dread. Like the first book, this instalment follows multiple perspectives, although there are a few differences in which characters we’re following. This is one of my most anticipated book releases of 2019. Since this is a sequel, I will not be going into details of the plot to avoid spoilers.
After loving the first book, I had high hopes for this book, and it did not disappoint. Gwynne has done a fantastic job at developing the story in this second book and preparing it for the third and final instalment. The reader is dropped straight back into the action and it doesn’t let up for the rest of the book. Despite being almost 500 pages long, this was quite a fast read for me, because I needed to know what was going to happen next. Once you start reading you won’t want to stop. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you glued to the pages, as well as keeping you guessing as to what will happen next. One of the many strengths of this book is the action. Gwynne once again showcases his skill at writing these scenes. The battle sequences are epic in scale without being bogged down by too much detail and are so gripping to read. Even when there is a break in the action, the story remains engaging, because these sections are used effectively to develop characters and their relationships. The writing continues to be superb and the pacing is so well suited to the story. Gwynne continues to build on a wonderfully vivid world, and it was great to see more of it in this instalment. Politics continues to play a part in this story, which I really appreciated. I find it gives you more of an understanding of the world and how it works. It also adds a certain level of tension, because you never fully know who to trust due to the scheming. Each side is preparing for war and they will do what they have to in order to win.
It was great to be back with this cast of characters. All of them are incredibly well written and their development in this sequel is so well done. They are all complex and flawed with distinct personalities and interesting back stories. The friendships between them is a highlight of this book (and trilogy) and it only makes you care about them all more. Each perspective is as compelling as the last and the changes never felt jarring. I find in some multiple perspective fantasy books, I find the switches in perspective disrupts the flow of the story but that it not the case with this one. In this instalment we follow four main character views; three of which are on the ‘good’ side and one on the ‘bad’ side. I love that in this book each side thinks they are the good ones as it leads to an interesting look into the fantasy trope of good vs. evil. Both sides have done bad things so it’s harder to define good and evil. Gwynne continues to pull no punches when it comes to his characters, so expect to feel some fear about their fates. The characters are one of the main strengths of this trilogy and I am both nervous and excited to see what is in store for them next.
While there are mentions of characters and events of the Faithful and the Fallen series in this book (and the first book), it is possible to read this trilogy without having read the series. However to get the most out of this trilogy, I would recommend reading the series first. It will give you a wider understanding of the world and story.
Overall this was a fantastic instalment in this trilogy, and I cannot wait to see how things progress in the third and final book. A Time of Blood contains a gripping story, a wonderful cast of characters and superb writing. If you loved the first book and/or the Faithful and the Fallen series, then you will love this one too. I highly recommend checking this book (and trilogy) out, if you haven’t already. This one is gone straight onto my favourites shelf. At this moment, there is no release date or title for the third book. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the conclusion. Have you started this trilogy? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.