Official Review: Steel, Blood & Fire

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fantasy or science fiction books or series.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Make the title of the topic the name of the book, and if possible also include the author's name. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Official Review: Steel, Blood & Fire

Post by gali » 17 Dec 2015, 14:09

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Steel, Blood & Fire" by Allan Batchelder.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


First Law series meets The Malazan Book of the Fallen series in this stellar tale! I have read & loved both series, and I found this book just as addictive. "Steel, Blood & Fire" is the first book in the Immortal Treachery series, and it is one of those books that are very difficult to put down after you've started. I don't have words adequate enough to express how much I enjoyed this book. This isn't particularly new to the genre, but it's definitely a cut above a lot of other fantasy books.

The book has a fair amount of the aforementioned blood and swordplay, but it is much more than that. With a story told from multiple points of view, an eloquent writing, a well-constructed world, larger than life protagonists, and an enthralling narrative, we have here a great new entry into the "epic fantasy" ranks. This book is quite a bit different from your standard fantasy fare. Instead of good against evil, the struggle is less evil versus more evil, with the heroes themselves of questionable morality. In fact, the book has everything I like about epic fantasy: complex characters that are mostly shades of gray, an epic world-ending threat looming on the horizon, kingdom gearing up for war, intrigue, and even a bit of romance between unlikely pair. In addition it deals with themes of grand struggle against supernatural evil force, friendship, loyalty, honor, depravity, and empathy.

The book is set in a medieval world, and powerful shapers (wizards), warriors, magic swords, and fey creatures grace its pages. The story opens with a bang and then builds up to an explosive climax. The book focuses on a large number of characters that drive the plot. However, the characters are fairly memorable and easy to differentiate, due to their unique voices and their meticulous drawing. Some of the main protagonists are: Tarmun Vykers aka "the Reaper" – an infamous legendary warrior; Arune – a spectral sorceress in need of a body; Anders aka The End of all Things - a bloodthirsty mage and the villain of the piece; Aoife – Anders' sister; Long aka Long Pete; D'kem, a washed up wizard; Mardine – a giantess, to name a few.

There are four main plot lines which start out separately and then overlap in interesting and surprising ways. Each chapter switches perspective to follow around different story. First we meet Tarmun Vykers, a legendary warrior who is universally feared. He is not your typical hero either, and can be considered as an Anti-Hero. Before the End made his entrance, Vykers was the terror of the piece. Now he is seen as the lesser of two evils. The same enemy which has disfigured him at the beginning of the story is now asking for his help against the dark machinations of an evil even bigger than him. Imagine that! Next we meet The End of all Things itself, a supernatural evil entity who is bent on annihilating all life literally. Another plot line follows Aoife's quest of vengeance. The last plot line, but not the least, follows Long and his motley crew's quest for riches and fortune. There are many adventures and mishaps along the way, and while most plotlines come to a tidy end at the close of this novel, others have been given a solid foundation to continue on into the next book in the series.

The author rises above the clichés to create a story that is more original and less predictable than it should be. Characters are fantastic, from the honorable to the wicked. As for favorite characters, Vykers is by far one of them. Speaking of favorite characters, the author doesn't pull his punches and doesn't hesitate to kill beloved characters. The cast of characters is very large, yet somehow easy to keep track of. There are a couple of strong female leads, but sadly one of them quickly became a womb for rent half way through the story. Toward the end though, she redeemed herself. My only complaint (though it's fairly minor) is the frequent use of the F-word in the story, which just doesn't seem to fit the world. Nonetheless, this novel was everything that I could wish for and more in an epic fantasy.

I loved the story, so I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. Lovers of dark fantasy novels would be well advised to immerse themselves in this story! If you love flawed characters and you don't mind a bit of violent action, then this is totally for you. However, the book is not appropriate for young adult readers due to its dark and somewhat gory content. It's a fat book (around 1000 pages on my kindle) and a long story, but it flies by. Oh, does it fly! As you can tell from this glowing review, I would whole-heartedly recommend it!

******
Steel, Blood & Fire
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like gali's review? Post a comment saying so!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
APatwary989
Posts: 5
Joined: 18 Dec 2015, 09:55
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-apatwary989.html

Post by APatwary989 » 18 Dec 2015, 10:17

Wow Gali this review was really well written. I will make sure to pick a copy of Steel, Blood and Fire. I think that, as you mentioned, complex characters are what draws me to a book because it shows a more realistic picture of what people in the real world are like.
I've only recently had the courage to pick up a high fantasy book because these always tend to have a very intimidating number of characters within the pages. However after reading A Game of Thrones by J.R Martin, I found that fantasy is a great mix of different flavours mixed in. It is finely balanced with a high character count on one side in order to create a rich and satisfying tale.
Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 18 Dec 2015, 11:10

APatwary989 wrote:Wow Gali this review was really well written. I will make sure to pick a copy of Steel, Blood and Fire. I think that, as you mentioned, complex characters are what draws me to a book because it shows a more realistic picture of what people in the real world are like.
I've only recently had the courage to pick up a high fantasy book because these always tend to have a very intimidating number of characters within the pages. However after reading A Game of Thrones by J.R Martin, I found that fantasy is a great mix of different flavours mixed in. It is finely balanced with a high character count on one side in order to create a rich and satisfying tale.
Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.
Thank you for your kind words. :)

I have got the 'Game of Thrones' series, but I still didn't read them. I am waiting for J.R Martin to finish it...8)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7781
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 324
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: A Prescription for Madness by Linda Fawke

Post by bookowlie » 18 Dec 2015, 11:28

Great, insightful review! I don't know if this book is for me, since "less evil" vs. "more evil" sounds.....so evil. :) All kidding aside, I am not a major fantasy fan, but I know there are many people on this site who love the genre.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 18 Dec 2015, 11:32

bookowlie wrote:Great, insightful review! I don't know if this book is for me, since "less evil" vs. "more evil" sounds.....so evil. :) All kidding aside, I am not a major fantasy fan, but I know there are many people on this site who love the genre.
lol Thank you. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7781
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 324
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: A Prescription for Madness by Linda Fawke

Post by bookowlie » 18 Dec 2015, 11:52

Maybe the sequel will be the next step - "good" vs. "less evil". :")
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 18 Dec 2015, 12:08

bookowlie wrote:Maybe the sequel will be the next step - "good" vs. "less evil". :")
lol I rather liked the "less evil" one though. 8)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
arvndu
Posts: 1
Joined: 24 Nov 2015, 05:37
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by arvndu » 19 Dec 2015, 01:20

Nice book and story is also very interesting.

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 19 Dec 2015, 01:40

arvndu wrote:Nice book and story is also very interesting.
I thought it was awesome! :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
RussetDivinity
Posts: 397
Joined: 04 Jul 2014, 13:44
Bookshelf Size: 44
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-russetdivinity.html
Latest Review: "Heart of Flint" by Scott Stricklen

Post by RussetDivinity » 19 Dec 2015, 11:27

This sounds like a really interesting story! It might be too violent for me, but I'd definitely be willing to try it.
Latest Review: "Heart of Flint" by Scott Stricklen

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 19 Dec 2015, 11:41

RussetDivinity wrote:This sounds like a really interesting story! It might be too violent for me, but I'd definitely be willing to try it.
You should give it a try. It is a great story in my view. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
j p gilbert
Posts: 72
Joined: 01 Nov 2015, 17:36
2017 Reading Goal: 3
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 0
Favorite Author: Jeffrey Archer
Bookshelf Size: 21
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-j-p-gilbert.html
Latest Review: "An ABC of Prostate Cancer in 2015" by Alan G Lawrenson
fav_author_id: 4949

Post by j p gilbert » 20 Dec 2015, 02:51

Such a good review. It is obvious you enjoyed the book and the series. I have the Game of Thrones series and if it I anything like that I might have a look.
Some say our future is written, mine must be in invisible ink.
Latest Review: "An ABC of Prostate Cancer in 2015" by Alan G Lawrenson

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 20 Dec 2015, 03:04

j p gilbert wrote:Such a good review. It is obvious you enjoyed the book and the series. I have the Game of Thrones series and if it I anything like that I might have a look.
Thank you. I didn't read the "Game of Thrones" yet, but I think this book is just as great. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
Levi
Posts: 1376
Joined: 07 Jun 2015, 13:59
2017 Reading Goal: 60
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 0
Favorite Author: S. Morgenstern ha ha
Favorite Book: Crik
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Bookshelf Size: 549
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-levi.html
Latest Review: "The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana" by Katlynn Brooke
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Levi » 20 Dec 2015, 12:12

@gali I'm pretty sure you enjoyed this book, and knowing that I'm sure I would too. :) I love shades of gray just like you. Also, I love the detailed review, it makes me want to know more about the book than a quick, simplified review does. Great job.
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." —Ernest Hemingway
Latest Review: "The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana" by Katlynn Brooke

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 33655
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 124
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 105
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1875
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 20 Dec 2015, 12:15

Escapeartist wrote:@gali I'm pretty sure you enjoyed this book, and knowing that I'm sure I would too. :) I love shades of gray just like you. Also, I love the detailed review, it makes me want to know more about the book than a quick, simplified review does. Great job.
Thank you. I think that you will like the book, since we share similar tastes. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

Post Reply

Return to “Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books”