To begin with, it features one of my two favorite fantasy schemes. A young protagonist apprentices himself to a magic military/faith monastery, and proceeds to become the greatest mage fighter the world has ever seen. But the general plot arc isn't the reason of this success. Everything else is.
Anthony's debut is an addictive page-turner with compelling writing, interesting plots and sub-plots, masterfully crafted dialogues and wonderfully built atmosphere, forcing you not to come up for air until you reach the epilogue. Anthony Ryan rides a thin line between prose and poetry, and does so, successfully as well.
"Honour is just a word. You can’t eat it or drink it and yet everywhere I go men talk of it endlessly, and they all tell a different tale of what it actually means. For the Alpirans it’s all about duty, the Renfaelins think it’s the same as courage. In these islands it appears it means killing a son for a crime committed by his father then slaughtering a helpless man when the pantomime fails to go to plan."
Blood Song starts with a blank slate. Every turn the plot takes is full of thrilling surprises, building a lot of tension and anticipation for the finale, and although we already know Vaelin survived the ordeals and trials that got in his way, we have no idea how the story is going to end. The characters are compelling, and the magic system is kept simple and easy to understand. The real gem of this story though is the pace. Fast at the beginning, steady at the core of the story, and slowly reversed at the epilogue.
All in all, Blood Song is the perfect combination of an amazing plot, a perfectly built world, and a compelling storytelling from a great author.If you have yet to read it, a trip to the local bookstore is what you have to take.