Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 480 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The acclaimed authors of The Map of Moments and The Secret Journeys of Jack London join creative forces once more in this epic, standalone novel—an exciting dark fantasy of gods and mortals, fools and heroes, saviors and destroyers with a brilliant beam of hope at its core–that should more than appeal to readers of N.K. Jemisin and Brandon Sanderson.
In the great kingdom of Quandis, everyone is a slave. Some are slaves to the gods. Most are slaves to everyone else.
Blessed by the gods with lives of comfort and splendor, the royal elite routinely perform their duties, yet some chafe at their role. A young woman of stunning ambition, Princess Phela refuses to allow a few obstacles—including her mother the queen and her brother, the heir apparent—stand in the way of claiming ultimate power and glory for herself.
Far below the royals are the Bajuman. Poor and oppressed, members of this wretched caste have but two paths out of servitude: the priesthood . . . or death.
Because magic has been kept at bay in Quandis, royals and Bajuman have lived together in an uneasy peace for centuries. But Princess Phela’s desire for power will disrupt the realm’s order, setting into motion a series of events that will end with her becoming a goddess in her own right . . . or ultimately destroying Quandis and all its inhabitants.
Blood of the Four was one of those random, unsolicited books that just show up in my mailbox from time to time and I was admittedly unsure of its quality. I hadn’t read either of the co-authors and the synopsis sounded good, but not particularly unique among the fantasy genre. I decided to go ahead and read it anyway and it was seriously one of the best books I’ve read! It just really struck a chord with me and I devoured it, reading during every spare moment of time.
One thing I would like to point out about Blood of the Four is that the synopsis barely scratched the surface of what would occur in this book. Holy crap-noodles guys, so much happened and suddenly I was hating characters and loving others and wondering more about the history of Quandis and and and !!!!! I would have to say that this book from basic fantasy character origin story to full blown city destroying magical doom in about 100 pages. Okay, slight exaggeration, it took most of the book to do that but every single page was great. And it was a standalone, so it’s done and I don’t have to be sucked in to a subpar sequel that lost the magic the first book had! THIS IS A WIN-WIN SITUATION. I would kind of love a prequel though, telling of the Pent Angel and how it became heresy to believe in anything but the four.
The characters were really great too and managed to have way more depth than some characters in multi-book series that have serious popularity. Princess Phela was an initial favorite because she was sneaky and ambitious, but it quickly became apparent that her ambition was malignant. Blane was actually somewhat similar to Phela, but more of her flip-side. He was ambitious, but in the long run not as twisted as her. Both had good intentions but ultimately Phela went too far, too quickly and ended up in the same shape as her mother. Admiral Daria Hallarte was pretty awesome – another who rose above her initial station in life and by keeping her secrets close, earned the respect of her fellow naval officers and sailors. Demos Kallistrate ended up not being a noble turd muffin as I had expected – YAY! Due to a tragic affair, Demos’ father was executed as a traitor, and he and his family were enslaved. This was particularly hard to deal with as he was the heir to the Baron Kallistrate and his fellow slaves were instructed to be especially cruel to him. The story arc of each character was deep considering all their development happened in a single book – take note authors, and image what you can do with 3 or 4 or even 5 books!
I’ve gotta say, this book blew my expectations away, making me extra glad I actually read it! I would wholeheartedly recommend this, especially since it’s not like a 10 book commitment – it’s a standalone after all! 5/5 would book-push this book. 5/5 would read again. Also, I can’t seamlessly integrate this but the magic in this book was that solidly awesome elemental stuff, but maaaaaaan does it tear up the user who doesn’t respect it. Oozy black ichor from the orifices, premature aging, intense pain, etc. Brutal stuff, folks.