Guilt cuts sharper than the deadliest of blades.
Tavar Farwan lives alone past the Undying Sands. One stormy night, he is attacked by two young warriors claiming to vengeance for an ill from ages past. Tavar defends himself, killing one of the intruders and leaving the other to bleed on the floor. Weary and filled with regret, Tavar offers to tell the young man his story: a story of how a nomadic orphan rose to kill a God.
To be fair I didn’t know how to properly start this review because there are so many things I want to talk about Memories of Blood and Shadow, but I guess we will go by parts, as Jack the Ripper said.
First of all, I want to talk about what for me is the angular piece of the whole novel: the worldbuilding. The world where this novel is situated is rich, a mix of cultures and thriving with each thing that happens. While Alfara is based in Persia and the Arabic countries, we can also see touches of Japanese culture in other parts of the world. It is noticeable the good investigation job that the author has done while writing this book. I enjoyed so much exploring the world, discovering new nations alongside the travel of Tavar, and watching how each culture is developed cautiously.
The plot works in the same manner as The Kingkiller Chronicle / Empire of the Vampyre, telling us how Tavar went from being a traveler merchant’s son to a Legendary God Killer. It hooks you from the first page, and for moments, you wish it never finishes, because it is so interesting, how Tavar progresses and learns. The plot twists are frequent, but that doesn’t make them worse. Another point of the writing I want to put the spotlight on is the battles, as there are a ton of action moments, pretty well described, making the chaos really followable.
The character cast is really diverse and well depicted. Apart from Tavar, I think the ones that hit me harder were Kenji and Carver. While most of the book is a big ode to friendship and to let the things that separate us behind, Kenji is probably the character that most impacted me. This blind fighter is probably the closest to a father than Tavar had. Meanwhile, Carver is an angular piece to the plot and it represents both extremes of human behavior.
The only problem I can find in this book, and that is the only reason it doesn’t really have a 5-star value, is the inconsistency in the length of chapters. Some are really long, other feels like a breath. It starts slow, but I don’t think it is a problem, as it gets traction fast.
Memories of Blood and Shadow is an epic adventure in a brilliant world. If you liked The First Law or the Kingkiller Chronicle, you will love it. Can’t wait to read the next chapter of Tavar’s story.
Aaron S. Jones
Born in the area of Birmingham that helped inspire Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Aaron S. Jones grew up with a love of fantasy. Inspired by his father’s interest in Lord of the Rings, Jones caught the fantasy bug and read anything he could get his hands on. Moving to the Middle East and beginning a teaching career, Jones experienced a different world away from the green of the UK and has been able to mix in his experiences around the world with the time he spends in other worlds to write his debut fantasy trilogy – THE BROKEN GODS which includes: FLAMES OF REBELLION, PATHS OF CHAOS, and END OF DAYS.
More recently, he has written HISTORIES FROM THE WORLD OF BROKEN GODS, and MEMORIES OF BLOOD AND SHADOW.