I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Series: The Song of the Shattered Sands #2
Published by Gollancz on February 9th 2017
Format: E-Arc, Paperback
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Çeda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She knows the dark history of the asirim—that hundreds of years ago they were enslaved to the kings against their will—but when she bonds with them as a Maiden, chaining them to her, she feels their pain as if her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but with the power of the gods compelling them, they find the yokes around their necks unbreakable.
Çeda could become the champion they’ve been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. After the victory won by the Moonless Host in the Wandering King’s palace, the kings are hungry for blood. They scour the city, ruthless in their quest for revenge. Unrest spreads like a plague, a thing Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host hope to exploit, but with the kings and their god-given powers, and the Maidens and their deadly ebon blades, there is little hope of doing so.
When Çeda and Emre are drawn into a plot of the blood mage, Hamzakiir, they sail across the desert to learn the truth, and a devastating secret is revealed, one that may very well shatter the power of the hated kings. They plot quickly to take advantage of it, but it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to navigate the shifting tides of power in Sharakhai and control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her.
Wow. Blood Upon the Sand shows that things have certainly moved on from Twelve Kings. Not in time. But in characterisation and strength and empowerment. Ceda is not the same girl we met in book one. She has changed. Grown more sure of herself and more sure of her goals.
The problem with this book and the previous is the size. It is a huge book! It has taken me over two weeks to work my way through. There was no chance of me rereading the first, so I’d have appreciated a character list just so I could get my bearings. This monster size of a book did make it difficult too keep reading as there where times when I felt I was getting no-where.
But this is a high fantasy story that flows well. And I loved how the chapters varied in their points of view. It was especially interesting to read from the King’s perspective. Before they had been distant figures, now they are the very heart of the story.
The ending surprised and didn’t surprise me in a way. I thought that Ceda was brave and remained true to herself throughout despite others warning her to stay alert. How she comes back from this, I am not sure. But what I do know is that the battle may be won but there is still a war ongoing.
This is as a information stuffed book as the first. Here we get more of an understanding of the world of Sharakhai. It is easier to understand the history. Although I do what to know more about why and how the Kings have ruled the city for 400 years. And I want to know more about the ‘bloody verses’. And also which King is Ceda a daughter of. It has been bugging me for ages and I really need an answer.
Blood Upon the Sand was a brilliant second book. And in so many ways it was better than the first. There is more at stake here and more to play around with. I wonder how things will end. How is Ceda’s vengeance going to pan out? And who will be victorious?