I read Blood of Heirs as a judge for the SPFBO competition.
Blood of Heirs is a character driven story that is great across the board. Lovely prose, great plot, brilliant characters. The world was crafted excellently, subtly making it more and more vivid and interesting as the story developed.
The story revolves around two narrative tales from the perspectives of Lidan and Ranoth. Their stories link in some mysterious ways but are seperate from each other, exploring entirely different settings, cultures and dangers.
Ranoth is the heir to a kingdom, a kingdom that is facing large-scale invasions from a greater Empire. He has recently acquired a military position in order to show his worth, but his inexperience and naivety will lead to grave results.
Lidan is the heir to a clan. But only because her father has not produced a male heir. Yet. If she comes to have a brother, she will be nothing but a political tool to marry off for an alliance. A constant question throughout her perspective was, how far will one go to preserve their future? And who will they harm to maintain this?
This two characters form on these pages almost magically, taking shape perfectly. By the conclusion to this book, I felt genuine attachment for both, and fretted at multiple points for their wellbeing.
I usually love the book that is ram-packed with action, with a nonstop pace that takes me on a whirlwind of an adventure. But Blood of Heirs was not like this. Despite the difference to most novels I enjoy, the way in which it was executed was wonderful. The tension gradually rose and by the last third, I just could not stop reading.
Before I started, my brother Edward told me that there was a scene that terrified him. I thought he was maybe exaggerating and just laughed at him. But oh… I should have believed him. Anyone who has read this will know the scene I am talking about. SO SCARY!
The prose isn’t lyrical or extravagant, but instead is subtle, efficient and smooth. It carried along the character development and worked perfectly for the story, allowing me to read the second half of this book in just one sitting.
Overall, this was a fantastic debut and opening to The Coraidic Sagas by Alicia Wanstall-Burke, and I look forward to reading the sequel at some point. I was very lucky to be given this to read for the SPFBO competition, and wish Alicia all the best with the results. This deserves to go far!