Blood and Bile, Book Review, Crimson Edge Press, Dark Fantasy, J.C. Boyd, Joshua Robertson, Legacy Series
Title: Blood and Bile
Series: Book #1 in the Legacy Series
Authors: J.C. Boyd and Joshua Robertson
Published on: June 7, 2017 (Crimson Edge Press)
Pages: 310 Pages (eBook)
Blurb: “Before the world came to be, there was nary beginning nor end, nary sky-shield nor night-wheel, nary war-garb nor shield-foe, nary fate-heeder nor fate-weaver, nor any thing living or dying or dead.”Ranvir ripped meat from bone, the dew of deep wounds dribbling between his fingers. He packed the flesh into his teeth-house, chewing happily.
His wife gaped at him, word-land soundless, forehead-stones devoured long ago, and wound-necklace torn from ear to ear.
She had never looked more beautiful.
His hands probed into her blood’s-seat for another bite, nails scraping against cartilage, fingers squeezing organ and fat, seeking a tasty morsel.
Ranvir heard the rasping of his tent flap open, but did not turn from his meal. Snaer’s brisk breath briefly touched his back. and then he felt it no more. He swallowed another mouthful and pulled at his wife’s skin to gaze at the glossy remains.
A voice, light and feminine, spoke.
My Thoughts: I have read a few books, short and long, by the tandem of Boyd and Robertson. There is no hesitation when I declare this is, without question, the best of their books that I have read so far. It exceeded every expectation I had going into the book, and was such a joy to read. However, this book will not be for every fantasy reader.
To understand why this was a hit for me, you must understand my ancillary interests reside in Medieval Literature and culture. I read Viking Sagas and am working to learn Old English on my own. I am immersed in that time period in a scholarly manner, even if self-directed in nature. Because of this interest, there are many things within this story that hit the right spots for me. From the smattering of kennings woven throughout, to the throw-back to archaic language, to the culture and dark setting itself; all of these things are almost as if they were planted into the story just for me.
That isn’t to say that an interest in those things are essential to enjoying the story – they merely enhanced the work that was already there and Boyd did a fantastic job with weaving them all into the story. The story itself is masterful in its own unique way and it holds Robertson’s markings all over it. The characters are interesting, the problems that arise are interesting and keep you wanting to turn page after page. The story is very unconventional in its own way – readers of modern fantasy may find themselves wishing the story was a bit faster in pace and that more things would simply happen. That, too, is a harkening to the older age of literature.
I applaud Boyd and Robertson for taking steps back toward the roots of literature in this Dark Fantasy series. It won’t be for every reader, but it dares to be bold and hearken to the days when stories needed less action and was able to be more about development and setting and evoking the time period. This book sets the stage for a promising series, one that I plan to purchase every installment of as they are released.
If you want a traditional fantasy, dark or otherwise, this might not be the book for you. But if you are willing to take a chance on a book that blends modern and ancient, that pulses with the lifeblood of the old world, and a book that makes kennings a pure delight to read once again, then this is a book you should not miss.