Leviathan’s Blood (Children book 2) by Ben Peek (book review).

October 28, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘Leviathan’s Blood’ is the second book in Ben Peek’s ‘Children’ series. Following immediately on from the first book, ‘Godless’, this book follows Ayae and Zaifyr as they seek refuge and hope in Yeflam, along with the thousands of refugees from Ayae’s home, Mireea, which was destroyed by the armies of the new god. They are coming to Yeflam, though, and even if Ayae and Zaifyr can convince the conclave of immortal Keepers to side with them, their combined might may not be enough to defeat her. Elsewhere, Bueralan and the mapmaker Samuel Orlan seek answers in Bueralan’s homeland, but soon hear that Aela Ren, The Innocent, has landed on Ooila’s shores, leaving death and destruction in his wake. Bueralan has something that Aela Ren wants and the pile of bodies is going to keep getting bigger until he gets it. As plague, war and famine spread across the lands and the immortals argue amongst themselves as the people begin to despair. For Aned Heast, Captain of the Spine and Captain of Ghosts, this can only mean one thing: the call has come to take up an old title one more time and fight for those who have no other hope. He’s going to be a busy man…

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My biggest complaint about ‘Godless’ was that there was too much going on, with too many jumps between time periods that were difficult to keep up with. I thought the world-building was excellent and there was some real promise on plot and character development, but I just couldn’t keep track of everything. As I started to read ‘Leviathan’s Blood’, I was a little bit wary that these issues would recur but, at the same time, hopeful that book 2 would see an improvement as the author settled into the story.

I’m delighted to be able to say that every single issue I had with ‘Godless’ disappeared and I thought that ‘Leviathan’s Blood’ stepped it up on so many levels. The plot was exciting, multi-layered and yet also easy to keep up with. Even when we were jumping quite rapidly between locations and character points of view, the sections were more clearly separated and I felt that the character voices were easy to distinguish very quickly. In ‘Leviathan’s Blood’, Peek has built on the world-building that was a highlight of ‘Godless’ and took us to new places filled with politics, history and intrigue. It was great to have such a balance between the history of places and the history of the main characters in those places. The depth Peek put in to interactions, not just between different characters, but also between characters and locations was remarkable. It made everything personal and relatable.

I enjoyed learning more about the immortals or ‘Keepers’, particularly seeing the range of different abilities that they manifested after encountering various gods. It would have been nice to explore some of these in more depth as they were very lightly covered, but there’s plenty of scope for getting into that a bit deeper in the next book. I also found it quite satisfying to watch the character of Ayae develop, both in terms of her confidence and in the abilities she is able to wield and control. What was particularly satisfying was seeing that it isn’t an easy process for her and that gaining control is something she needs to work hard at to achieve.

‘Leviathan’s Blood’ was an exciting, well-paced and beautifully detailed fantasy novel that has surpassed the first book in the series by a good margin. It is a world and a story that I’m looking forward to exploring further when the next and, I think final, book in this series is released.

Vinca Russell

October 2016

(pub: TOR-UK/Panmacmillan. 704 page hardback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-44725-186-6)

check out website: www.panmacmillan.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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