|Leviathan's Blood (Children) by Ben Peek|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: The second book in Ben Peek's clever Children fantasy trilogy is a lot more intricate (and adult) than the series' title suggests in a 5* kind of way.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 704||Date: April 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
BEWARE, spoilers for Book 1 ahead:
The immortal Zaifyr is now in prison on Wila where he's facing trial for the murder of Keepers Fo and Bau. Ayae, the former apprentice is no longer the small child who walked unscathed from a burnt out shop. All she wants to do now is save lives but she's frustrated at every turn. Captain Aned Heast is on a mission he won't let drop; he wants a name for his band of mercenaries but not just any name. Meanwhile be afraid; somewhere out there is the Child. The Child is coming.
Aussie author Ben Peek brings us the sequel to The Godless and more of that world of people physically walking on dead gods. The thing is that for some of those we travel with deity and immortality is a curse rather than a desirable state.
Speaking of which, the person our imaginations seem to return to throughout is Zaifyr. As he prepares for his trial by gathering an unusual cloud of defence witnesses, we learn more about this immortal who carries a soul on a pendant. Preparation for the trial and then the trial itself, along with the attendance of some of his interesting siblings, captures our interest even when the chapters take us elsewhere. That's not to say that elsewhere isn't interesting in its own right though.
Young Ayae for instance, is growing in confidence as well as years. Indeed, we're privileged to be there as she discovers more about her abilities and, even by the end of the book, I don't think we've seen it all yet. By the way, her old employer and cartographer Samuel is also still around, his wonderfully sarcastic (and dare I say Australian?) sense of humour making him one of my favourites.
Talking of favourites, exiled Duke turned mercenary Buerlain is also back although rather depressed and mentally haunted by his lost men whom he, rather poignantly, names repeatedly. He feels it's his fault they died. He keeps on keeping on and even goes to a particularly interesting party, but his heart is not completely in it.
As for Aned Heast… Methinks he'll come into his own in Book 3 so plenty to look forward to for him and us.
While all this is going on, the author continues his reputation for being clever and innovative. First of all he again subtly plays with our perceptions of skin colour and gender. I loved the fact that I found myself mumbling on a couple of occasions 'Oh they're a girl! But then why wouldn't they be?' The second slice of cleverness (apart from the delicious political layering) is the subtle drum beat that permeates the whole piece.
At first there are passing mentions of 'the child' to the extent that at first I thought they were referring to Ayae. However, gradually the penny drops that whoever this child is, it's more sinister. Then the drumbeat goes up a notch as the mentions reveal more and the hairs of tingling anticipation start to stand on end. Then… I shall leave you to discover.
Any qualms I had in Book 1 about jumping around and disorientation are cast aside in Book 2. Ben's mixture of adventure, politics, myth and ancient legend is completely immersive, totally absorbing and unashamedly 5* stuff.
(Thank you so much Macmillan for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: Do definitely read The Godless if you haven't already. There is a synopsis in Leviathan's Blood but you need to have been there. If you have read this and the epicness appeals, we recommend The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall) by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Or for fantasy in a different vein, try the as brilliant All Their Minds In Tandem by David Sanger.
You can read more book reviews or buy Leviathan's Blood (Children) by Ben Peek at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Leviathan's Blood (Children) by Ben Peek at Amazon.com.
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