Blood Song

Blood Song - Anthony  Ryan Some of the best fantasy series start with the protagonist at a young age, the advantage of this is you see the character develop mentally, physically and you get the sense of growing with the character.
Examples that immediately spring to mind are the Prince of Thorns, A Dance of Cloaks, The Way of Shadows, The Painted Man and The Left Hand of God.
The Blood Song is a high calibre debut, a self published novel that was available fairly cheaply on Kindle and potentially a big future for the author.
The story follows Vaelin Al Sorna from a young age given to the Order, a religious sect by his father the Realm's battle lord shortly after the death of his Mother. Vaelin and his new brothers undergo intensive training, regular beatings and barbaric tests to earn their position as Brothers of the Order.
We see the group develop as individuals each with abilities complementing each other and Vaelin has to deal with assassins and tests of his faith as he assumes leadership of the group. Vaelin grows into an extremely skilled warrior, hardened by his training, yet an intriguing character as the blood song develops in him warning him of danger and saving his life on more than one occasion.
The first part of the book was very good as we follow him through the tests, killing his first man and the emotions that run through him as some of his brothers do not survive the tests.
The story is well paced and his journey takes him all over the realm, fighting many battles with a little political intrigue as the king of the realm attempts to involve him in plots outside his and the Orders knowledge. Also we see his reactions change as innocents are killed and the violence becomes to much.
All told the story of Vaelin is an exciting, interesting and engaging journey, the depth of the character is its strong point certainly not overshadowed by the action as some stories do. The final chapter is excellent and brings a fitting conclusion to the story told from Vaelins perspective, this could easily be a stand alone novel as all the story threads are bought to an end so it is with interest that I await where the story goes next.
Blood Song is one of the outstanding novels I've read this year and told simply through the main characters eyes and a scribe who attempts to interview him on his final voyage of the book. I look forward to the next instalment of the Ravens Shadow.