“Four more cups of strong drink finally muffled the cries and erased the images dancing bloody steps across his mind. They would return again tomorrow, but for now, the numb ignorance of drink gave him peace.”
Alicia Wanstall-Burke has carved out a sublime debut within Blood of Heirs, Book 1 of The Caraidic Sagas and it completely took me by surprise. Everything I have read as of late has been fulfilling my ‘inspirational prose’ needs and it was a welcome surprise to read a book that focussed on the characters and their lives, rather than concentrating on flowery language. Not to say that the prose isn’t great, but Blood of Heirs is a book about two characters which instantly crafts a connection between the reader and the two young heirs.
Lidan is an heir of a horse-based stone-age culture. She is the oldest of many sisters and has a burning need to be one of the renowned rangers of her clan, to prepare her for becoming the leader of the tribe. However, with one of her fathers wives becoming pregnant, Lidan fears the child will be a boy and her life will change forever. Ranoth is the only son of Duke Ronart of Orthia and is becoming a leader of men in the midst of battle, as Orthia is engaged in a ferocious war against the Woaden Empire. Ran is hit by an unfortunate and accidental secret that results in his life being swept from beneath his feet.
“He did not wish to feel the pain again.”
The two characters are brilliantly written. Lidan is an inspirational young-female lead who feels so human and real. I instantly felt connected to her and knew from the first chapter that I would love this story. Lidan’s story arc is full of engaging sequences, action and bitter twists, as well as moments that had me sweating for her and fearing for her life and future. The ending of her arc was perfectly done and she is a total legend.
Ranoth’s story had similar themes to Lidan’s with the issues of their parents, but it took this theme in a whole different direction. Ran’s chapters had so much diversity and I was rooting for him the whole time. There were scenes with him that were written so well that the terror he felt was so palpable I felt my heart quicken and I was genuinely worried.
“He’d waited with bated breath for his fifteenth birthday and the chance to finally stand with his father and learn the business of war, yet as he beat a retreat to the command centre a day’s ride from Signal Hill, he wondered silently if he’d been utterly insane to desire such a thing.”
It is a well-written book with clear plot points and a very easy-going style. I read it in 2 nights as it was so easy to devour. Each POV has roughly 3-4 chapters before it moves on to the next character which I felt really added to the feeling of connecting with the characters, especially early on. In the latter stages of the book each chapter ended tenser and tenser and built up to a scintillating final third of the story.
“She was not a brood mare, to be traded over wine and laughter. She was the heir.”
5/5 - Blood of Heirs is a story of two characters. It has epic moments, it has intimate moments, and it is written brilliantly. A style that is easy to understand and easy to read, I loved Blood of Heirs and I’m sure you will too! This is currently in the finals for Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO. Highly recommended to everyone.