Review: With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Cover - With Blood Upon the Sand

Published: February 7, 2017

Publisher: DAW Books

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Song of the Shattered Sands #2

Pages: 592 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

 

Synopsis:

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.


No sophomore slump here! With Blood Upon the Sand was a fantastic follow up to the very impressive and enchanting Twelve Kings of Sharakhai, which I read earlier this year. I’ve actually had this book hanging around for about 4-5 months now and I just hadn’t had the time to dedicate to this 700 page beast. An accidental purchase of extra Audible credits (woops) led me to pick up the audio version of this book so I could catch up in time for the 2018 release of book 3. I’m very glad things worked out the way they did! The audio version has great narration and it’s like, 30 hours long which in my opinion is a good thing.

After the dramatic events of book one, I was curious to see how this book would play out – would it be outrageous or awesome? Lemme tell u wut. It was awesome. Beaulieu really took it up a notch and expanded the roles of certain characters that made appearances in the first book and introduced a few new faces to the game. There are so many threads to follow and each is a vibrant, significant element in the tapestry Beaulieu is weaving here. The House of Kings is filled with secrets, plots, secret plots, and so forth. The Moonless Host is solidifying itself in my mind as a group that is both good and bad – the internal factions certainly keep things lively. Ramahd and Miriam have yet again proven themselves utterly determined to exact their revenge. There’s just too much to explain!

I continue to love the characters, but find that certain people blend together in my mind, particularly members of the Moonless Host like Tariq and Hamid. One thing I did really like was how several of the kings are becoming much more developed. In Twelve Kings, they’re present but feel like an undefined threat only interested in holding power and suppressing dissent. Here we get to see some actual personality, learn a little more history, and see the internal division that’s been festering between the kings for the last four centuries. Ceda continues on an unparalleled streak of awesomeness and her feud with a fellow Maiden gets pretty brutal as the events of the book culminate. It was almost as satisfying as the Littlefinger scene in Game of Thrones.

I’m a big fan of this series, especially after the sophomore installment further raised the bar and met my expectations/hopes. Book 3, A Veil of Spears, is scheduled for release in March 2018 so for all you folks that haven’t caught up (or haven’t even begun the series), YOU STILL HAVE TIME! I’m considering checking out some of Beaulieu’s other books and would welcome suggestions from those of you who’ve read them.

8 thoughts on “Review: With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Add yours

  1. All I can think of whenever I see this guys name is “soup”.

    I’ve never read anything by him, so I can’t help. But if you really like the final book in this trilogy I might have to check him out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel guilty about this book. I loved the first and was so excited for this one – I read about 50% and then found I was really dragging my feet and so had to stop reading. I do intend to finish it – I think it maybe was a mood thing at the time but when I get like that I have to move on otherwise I would just stop reading altogether.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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