Book Review: Blood Eye by Giles Kristian
Review by Prof. Jenn
Historical Fiction is one of those tricky genres that read like a few other genres combined. It’s a delicate balance between realism and storytelling, in which the setting is extremely important–almost a character. An author must do a lot of research to get the setting feeling correct and yet not become so bogged down in true history that he fails to immerse the reader in the setting (and in the story, of course).
Blood Eye by Giles Kristian is one of those historical fiction novels which performs this delicate balance quite well. The big secret to this book, IMO, is the easy way the POV character puts us right there with him. He’s young enough that we get things explained to us (in a good way) and a strong enough personality that he gets himself into unending amounts of trouble (which is great for us as readers, not so great for him!) and so we have tramped across half of early medieval Britain by the time his coming of age adventure story is complete. Not only that, but as this is the first of a trilogy, it reads as a sort of origin story for the hero that began as Osric and becomes Raven. It’s an origin story that definitely makes me want to follow him into the sequel.
The only weak spots in this narrative are the haphazard scenes in which Raven is apparently old, and telling his story to an audience. These scenes are few and only occur towards the end, and they feel out of place. He’s instructing various faceless whippersnappers to light the fire, get him a drink, etc. and it does nothing to help the story along, nor does it enrich his character. In fact, they read like a sloppy ripoff of the Kingkiller Chronicles premise. So that, not so good. The story itself? Fantastic.
Bottom line: Blood Eye is a good read. I recommend it with hardly any exception. ~Prof. Jenn