Hey beautifuls, I’m back with another review and this time I had the pleasure of reviewing Of Blood and Fire by Ryan Cahill! I love supporting indie authors and when Ryan popped up on Instagram I was so intrigued by this story and he was awesome enough to give me an e-arc for review. As you all know, my opinions are my own, but lets get into the review so we can chat about this fabulous book!
Synopsis – from Amazon
Born in fire. Tempered in blood.
Epheria is a land divided by war and mistrust. The High Lords of the South squabble and fight, only kept in check by the Dragonguard, traitors of a time long past, who serve the empire of the North.
In the remote villages of southern Epheria, still reeling from the tragic loss of his brother, Calen Bryer prepares for The Proving – a test of courage and skill that not all survive.
But when three strangers arrive in the village of Milltown, with a secret they are willing to die for, Calen’s world is ripped from under him and he is thrust headfirst into a war that has been raging for centuries.
There is no prophecy. His coming was not foretold.
He bleeds like any man, and bleed he will.
My Non-spoiler Review
As you can imagine from that synopsis I was both excited and intrigued to get stuck into this book. The concept sounds awesome the conflict epic, and to top it all off there is talk of a dragonguard…enough said in my opinion.
Firstly I just want to congratulate Ryan on being able to hook me in so quickly. Immediately I felt immersed in this world. I was intrigued, I wanted to know more, to learn more about the history, the customs, the creatures and the stories behind the legends. I could really feel the Norse influence in this book which as you know I am always a massive fan of in books.
The journey really starts out with Calen and his two best friends as they are undertaking the Proving – a challenge/ test in which they go out into the Olm forest and return 2 days later. This forest is full of bad things with claws and the boys are immediately caught up in danger after danger after danger before they make their way out. Upon returning they are considered boys no more, and are now men. As men they travel to a trading town only to get themselves wrapped up in a whirlwind of chaos that changes their lives forever.
With Calen at the centre, we embark on a journey of hope, and resistance against the empire who have repressed many across Epheria and tried to wipe out most other races including the giants and dwarves and elves. Along the way many things go awry, and Calen must decide if he can continue.
We also get small snippets of pov from others, I will not mention who exactly so as not to spoil anything, but it is there, and definitely adds to the tension building throughout the story.
I will admit I found the pacing on the slower side for this story, but I am very accustomed to this within new fantasy series. As you all know if you have read fantasy books, the first is setting up for the subsequent books in the series, and Ryan did this beautifully. I was not at all bored, I at no point felt like putting it down, and the plot moved forward with enough to keep me guessing the entire time. I would perhaps like to have seen more of Calen’s inner conflicts about the tragedies that befell him during the book, but that is a preference that not everyone would feel necessary, and to be completely honest there is ample excuse for why this isn’t explored too much in detail (primarily the forward moving plot, the training, the constant need for Calen to focus on the present).
That aside, I honestly enjoyed this story a lot, I enjoyed the creatures, the world, the history, and the characters. I enjoyed the banter between the young men (especially Dann – who made me laugh on more than one occasion – especially telling the dragon to f*ck off at one point). I will definitely be reading the next book, and cannot wait for it!
I really hope that some of you reading this review pick it up, because I believe Ryan is off to an excellent start with this series and it would be a shame if any of you were to miss it!
Let me know in the comments if you have read this one or if it sounds like something you will pick up.
Until next time.