A copy of this book was very kindly provided me by the author. I can’t promise that this didn’t affect my feelings about it, but a book is a book is a book, however I acquire it, and I can promise that all opinions are my own.
I buddy-read this with the marvellous Ariana of The Book Nook and was very glad of her company as we returned to Sharma to catch up with Jaedin and company in their fight against the monsters-hiding-in-human-skins that are the Zakaras. You can find Ariana’s review here. In both her post and in mine, please be warned of SPOILERS for the first book in this series, Bloodsworn.
Blood Legacy starts with a prologue that covers the events surrounding Bryna and Jaedin’s conception, something I was certainly itching to know more about, although I’m unsure as to its significance with regards to the events in this volume of the series, which I felt was primarily concerned with Miles and with two new characters, Astar and Elita.
After the prologue, the book catches up with Jaedin and company as they reach the Sharmarian capital of Shemet, where they are faced not with the rest and recuperation that they were hoping for, but with the knowledge that there are Zakaras hiding within the city. The Consil drags its heels over the news Jaedin’s group have bought with them about what happened on their journey, even in the face of evidence, and tensions quickly rise. Jaedin, in particular, reels from this further disillusionment, having suffered first Miles’ betrayal, and now the reality of a city that he has up until now held in awe. In this second volume he has changed a lot from the gentle, scholarly boy he was, and is characterized by a building anger.
But of the company from Jalard, it is Miles that commands the most interest in Blood Legacy. Weasel that he is, (and I’m aware of the insult to weasels here), he’s wormed out of corporal punishment for being a Gavendaran spy/infiltrator/betrayer, but instead now has to return to his homeland to perform the same role for the Sharmarians. Poetic justice, perhaps. And while his actions are dictated by a strong sense of self-preservation (and damn the consequences to anyone else), his feelings about his land of birth, and about his adopted home in Sharma, are complicated. For the record, I did not and still do not like Miles, but he’s certainly interesting.
The two new characters, Astar and Elita, give us our first glimpse of what’s happening across the border in Gavendara. Both are conscripts at the (ominously named) Institute, being trained to defend their country; and both are Blessed with magical abilities. Through them we see the ‘Ruena’ first-hand, a disease that has ravaged Gavendara but not even touched neighbouring Sharma; and we learn that the Zakaras are as much a mystery and a terror to them as to their neighbours. We also learn a little more about Gav’aen, the puppet-master behind the Zakaras, whose various manipulations are … disturbing.
The Zakaras themselves continue to be creepily reminiscent of something out of Resident Evil, although other things in Gavendara are equally terrifying: the Ruena is an extravaganza of B-movie grossness, the Pillars of Parchen are their own special kind of horrific (and a pertinent comment on current farming methods), and the way in which the Zakaras are being created is ominously non-consensual. I continue to find Turner’s horror notes especially imaginative.
And then there’s all the things we still don’t know: just how far are the gods involved in the events that are unfolding? Is their influence only in the magic of Blessings, or are they still active somewhere behind the scenes? What is to become of Bryna, Baird and Sidry – all three are particularly close to the Gods, what will this mean for them? And what of the Ruena? Why does it only effect Gavandara? Does it originate with the Gods, or with something else? Finally, what the heck just happened to Rivan?
Blood Legacy ends with a dramatic breaking of the tension that has built throughout the story and I honestly can’t imagine what’s coming next.