Spoiler Free Summary: Blood and Bile by J.C. Boyd is and Joshua Robertson is the first book in the Legacy series. Runa’s brother has lost his mind. The evidence is composed of the bits of his wife still stuck in his teeth. Even so, Runa’s priority is to help her brother return to sanity even if it costs everything else. Hunfrith, however, is determined to see the letter of the law fulfilled and Ranvir, Runa’s brother, killed. The battle for Ranvir’s life will test how far both Runa and Hunfirth are willing to go to see their ends met.
Character: Hunfrith made perfect sense to me. I didn’t necessarily like him, but he was a believable character. He was proactive and competent, but not very sympathetic, but as the antagonist, how likable is he supposed to be? Run, however, didn’t make as much sense. This isn’t a gender issue. My problem is everything about Runa rides on her love for her brother, but the reader never sees that relationship, so there’s no context for the basis of her entire character. Is it plausible that a person would do anything on earth to save her brother? Yes, but the emotion is lost because the relationship wasn’t established. She’s is a formidable opponent to Hunfrith because she’s equally as proactive and competent.
Exposition: I felt this dragged this particular story down. The book felt so slow (especially in the beginning). Some of it was necessary to establish the world and the culture, but I felt “told” a lot about the world’s history and society when I would have preferred to have seen it or experienced it. This story has amazing drama and a very satisfying (in terms of rising action and plot development) ending, but it definitely takes a while to warm up.
Worldbuilding: This is the strongest part of the book. So books that have amazing worldbuilding and lack that proactive character link aren’t bad books by any means, but I don’t thrive on worldbuilding alone. When a book has amazing worldbuilding, but it doesn’t hook me with a character, I tend not to like it as much. Now, there are those who hate a book if worldbuilding isn’t on point (or even if it’s not amazing). So I want to make it a point to say this culture is amazingly researched and incredibly well thought out. And if you like deep worlds and settings, this is for you.
Dialogue: There are some “tales” that happen, and in a movie, when the director can shift to a flashback, these aren’t so hard to get through. However, when the reader can only read or metaphorically listen to the tale, it’s just more exposition. I recall one story about how the big bad of this world’s history was killed. If you take those away, the dialogue is actually pretty powerful. The conversations that weren’t clearly there to establish back story or culture revealed character and had some great snap.
Description: This is the other high-quality aspect of the story. This book puts you in the scene. All the senses are activated. These authors do a great job of using the most underutilized aspect of storytelling. They even gave distinct character quirks to their cast that did more to reveal their character and personality.
Overall: This book started slow, and it took a long time for the plot to get going. What amounts to a political fantasy drama takes a while to come to a head, but when it does, everything is all the more satisfying. The ending was awesome. While it was hard to connect with some of the characters, this book ramps up to an amazing end that promises great conflict.
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