HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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The Bloodprint (The Khorasan Archives, Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 449 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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With her clipped British accent, Jenny Bryce is an enchanting guide to Khan's fantastical world...Bryce does an admirable job of vocally creating distinctive characters in this jam-packed volume, the first in a planned quartet. She successfully leads listeners through many regions and the tribes that inhabit them in this fascinating production.-- "AudioFile"
Bold, intriguing characters, vivid scenarios, and intense conflicts all set within a well-constructed, action-filled plot, Khan's first installment in her new fantasy series is truly remarkable.-- "RT Book Reviews (4 stars)"
For fans of complex fantasy series with a girl-power theme.-- "Booklist" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
About the Author
Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of the acclaimed mystery series featuring Seageant Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak. She holds a PhD in international human-rights law with a specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practiced immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University. She is the former editor in chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine targeted to young Muslim women.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- File size : 1871 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 449 pages
- Publisher : HarperVoyager (19 October 2017)
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B06Y5YQ3M3
- Best Sellers Rank: 464,884 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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It feels weird saying that now because I actually ended up really enjoying The Bloodprint, so much so that the second I finished reading this novel, I immediately dove into and devoured its sequel as I was not ready to let this world nor these characters go yet. It was such an enthralling, thrilling and adventurous fantasy to read, and it was full of enough action and suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat until I eventually reached that shocking (and I mean SHOCKING) cliffhanger of an ending.
I honestly cannot stop thinking about it; the last half of this novel was absolute perfection.
But the first half of it? That was a struggle to get through.
I don't know about everyone else, but I personally felt like I was expected to know what was going on with this story almost immediately; that this author depended on me to already know who was who and their role in this novel, what was what and its impact to the plot, and how the magic of this world worked without going more in depth about it, and that honestly threw me off at first. It also didn't help that we were meeting certain characters in such a way where I felt like my reaction to seeing them should've been more than just curious interest - I felt like I should've been shook - and the pacing itself felt clumsy at times, to the point that it came to be really hard to follow.
I struggled enough that I just had to put this book down for a while, and take a much needed break from this complicated and complex story that (to me) had very little direction and description to it.
However, it was after I took that break - where during that time, I wrote out a cheat sheet where I basically dumbed down everything about this plot and the characters (in a way that made it easy for ME to remember and understand all that was going on) - that I really started to enjoy this book.
Here we follow Arian, First Oralist and Companion of Hira, as she and fellow Companion, Sinnia, head off on a quest to find and get what is known as the Bloodprint - a powerful and, if in the wrong hands, dangerous manuscript that holds untold power of the Claim (a source of magic in this world). Along the way on their long and treacherous journey, Arian and Sinnia find the most unlikely of allies in an ex-slave who's tried to kill them not once, but twice; an old friend of Arian's who's vowed to never help her again, and in several tribes who each play a part in directing these Companions in their quest of procuring the Bloodprint.
But from the get-go these two women knew this wouldn't be an easy task to undertake, as they're not only being hunted by the Talisman - followers of the tyrant known as the One-Eyed Preacher, who forbids knowledge, enslaves women, and stands against everything the Companions stand up for - but they have to prepare themselves for the forces that stand beyond the Wall where the Bloodprint - along with an even deadlier tyrant known as the Authoritan - resides.
It had its similarities to other well-known fantasies that I couldn't help but compare it too, but in the long run The Bloodprint was a unique story all of its own, and it may not have been an easy read for me to get into at first, but I can hand on heart say that going through that struggle during the first half of this novel was well worth it when I got to experience the brilliance that was the last half of it, where during that time, I wasn't just reading words on a page - I was seeing this story vividly in my mind, and experiencing it emotionally with my whole heart, and I could not get enough of it.
It's a fantasy that can be dark and gruesome to read at times when it comes to the violence of this world, but it's more so a story that is full of hope and suspense, politics and deception, sacrifice and growth, religion and belief, and overall scenes that had me wanting to jump up and cheer at the epicness of it all - of these characters' as we witness their strengths and loyalties during this venture, and of this plot that, in the end and despite its many flaws, was an enjoyable one to devour.
The Bloodprint may not have been a favourite read for me, but it was still good enough that I know I won't be forgetting this story anytime soon. It was original and fantastic, and I would recommend it.
The novel has very strong feminist themes which are hammered home with a lack of subtlety. And yet much is made of the beauty of female lead character Arian - so much so that all the men in it fall in love with her. This seemed to undermine the message that women had more to offer or rely upon than just their looks. Why couldn't she have been average looking, or her looks simply never referred to?
The characters in the book do have potential, but I never really felt close to them. I struggled to 'get into' the book and understand it's underlying fantasy concepts, which were not well explained. It felt like too much of a whirlwind with one set of characters/objects/concepts introduced and dispatched too quickly before the questors had moved on to the next set. The effect was a story that felt rushed and that I lacked investment in. I grew fed up of feeling confused and in the dark.
In terms of plot, it's pretty standard fantasy stuff. An evil force rules the land. A small band of magic wielding heroes from a secret order tries to resist. A band of companions sets out to find a mysterious object, first crossing all manner of dangerous terrain inhabited by strange and/or dangerous peoples. Of course, the object is hidden in the most dangerous and well guarded place possible. I saw the twist at the end coming a mile off.
It's not terrible - I did find it quite gripping towards the end and I did feel some affinity for the characters and the central love story. But it could have been a lot better and I probably won't bother with the rest of the books in the series.
The tale is set in a rebadged Mesopotamia/Persia where the Osama bin Laden leads the Taliban (oops sorry, I mean "One-eyed preacher" leads the Talisman) on a destructive rampage across the region: burning books, enslaving women, ... you get the picture. A couple of bastions of sanity remain, the city of Hira whence our heroine Arian comes, from a sort of Bene Gesserit society of power wielding women, and a group of, oddly, expert horse-riders from a high mountainous region.
There are basically two types of character in this story: the unerringly virtuous and the unrepentantly evil, which also, suspiciously has a near one to one correspondence with women and men respectively.
This is the first in a trilogy, but it's not self-contained and ends abruptly; however I can't muster sufficient interest to care.
‘The Bloodprint’ is a complicated read as it refers to numerous peoples and places in complex language using unfamiliar names and titles. A degree of help is provided via a ‘Glossary’ and a ‘Cast of Characters’, but author Ausma Zehanat Khan is aware of difficulties as hinted in ‘Acknowledgements’ with reference to conflicts over which realities are possible and which are only imaginary. With a PhD in International Human Rights Law Khan displayed her advocacy talents and received awards for ‘The Unquiet Dead’ which is procedural and well-reasoned. Her ethnic background and career with magazine ‘Muslim Girl’ is reflected in ‘The Bloodprint’ but narrative is fantasy based which allows it to be less logical and leads to episodic treatment.
The resultant somewhat disjointed approach makes for an uneven and staccato read with characters blundering from one escapade to another and getting away with reliance on supernatural powers, or intriguing debates over controlling powers and who was friend and who was foe, with searching for clues and solving puzzles. However swashbuckling and gripping this may be for each adventurous episode, or for exposing conflict, the need for actuality is undermined and ‘The Bloodprint’ separates into a series of stories – and it sets up a sequel.
There is little point in continuing this review with a synopsis as so much is piecemeal – sufficient to state ‘The Bloodprint’ is average at best – hence 3-star rating.