I have the great pleasure of being part of the Children of the Bloodlands Blog Tour! This book is the sequel to last year’s Scion of the Fox! (You can read my review here) This is a very special series because it is Canadian YA, partially set in Canada, with all kinds of Canadian characters…and well Canada. *Patriotic Rendz waves*
Children of the Bloodlands by S.M. Beiko
Publisher: ECW Press
Pub Date: Sept 25, 2018
The dazzling second book in S.M. Beiko’s Realms of Ancient series
Three months after the battle of Zabor, the five friends that came together to defeat her have been separated. Burdened with the Calamity Stone she acquired in Scion of the Fox, Roan has gone to Scotland to retrace her grandmother’s steps in an attempt to stop further evil from entering the world.
Meanwhile, a wicked monster called Seela has risen from the ashy Bloodlands and is wreaking havoc on the world while children in Edinburgh are afflicted by a strange plague; Eli travels to Seoul to face judgment and is nearly murdered; Natti endures a taxing journey with two polar bears; Phae tries desperately to obtain the key to the Underworld; and Barton joins a Family-wide coalition as the last defense against an enemy that will stop at nothing to undo Ancient’s influence on Earth — before there is no longer an Earth to fight for.
Darkness, death, and the ancient powers that shape the world will collide as our heroes discover that some children collapse under their dark inheritance, and those who don’t are haunted by blood.
*A big thank you to ECW Press for inviting me to be on the tour and sending me a review copy!!*
This is an adventure book. A whole lot of fun. A whole lot of magic. Everything I hoped for in this sequel and then some!
What I Liked:
Roan: Wow. I remember having mixed feelings about her in book one, but in this book I loved her. Her sarcasm, he wit and her willingness to self-sacrifice were all admirable qualities. I would be lying if I didn’t get a little frustrated with her from time to time. But I definitely enjoyed her growth from being that scared, reluctant heroine to one that was ready to face the day (albeit with some reluctance in the back of her mind still)
Natti: Forever a fave. I think it’s just the way that she viewed the world, and seized opportunities and her sass. I just loved her.
Phae: She had quite a journey in this book. She struggled finding her place in this magic system that she was not born into and instead found herself trying to prove her worth, not only to those higher than her, but to prove to herself that she was an important part of this larger movement. I thought her character growth was well done. Beiko really explores her insecurities and takes Phae down a difficult road.
Eli: I had the best time reading Eli’s parts of the book. They were definitely tragic but they were also insightful and intriguing. In regards to his character, he was still kind of a jerk. Of course he wasn’t an evil jerk like he was in book one, but after year and years of building defenses, some of them are beginning to shatter and I love it when tough characters get vulnerable.
Barton: He was kind of sidelined in the story, but apparently he is super important? I don’t know, I got a little confused along the way. Oops.
Never a dull moment:
Wow. This book just gives and gives and gives. From the very beginning this is an adventure book. The characters are moving, there is a ticking clock, there is no time to waste and I enjoyed it very much. The fast-pace really helped keep the momentum, the doom that you knew was coming, but you didn’t know when or how or exactly why either. It was sort of like a mystery. Then there great action scenes and moments where the characters got to really show off their magical skills (Which I adored). There was betrayal. Newly found allies. It was incredibly fun. A ride that was stressful for the characters but a hell of a lot of fun for me.
The Magic System Development:
Book one kept it really basic, book two stepped this up. There was more detail given on how the powers worked, the history of the magic, the deities that started it all. I was LIVING for it. However, I will say that it was a little confusing at times, mostly because I had trouble remembering things from book one, but there was a lot of information to soak up and names to remember and my poor memory never serves me in these cases.
Intricate and complex is a good way to put it. There are multiple subplots that tie together to the main narrative. There were so many twists and turns that gave more detail and kept unfolding more and more clues as to where this story was headed. There were many moments of crashing and burning that led to a wonderful ending. It had just the right amount of suspense and intensity to keep me hanging on the final few words.
Canada. And other places too. But Canada.
The Jokes. The Drama. Really, really, really good.
What I Disliked:
It could be a little everywhere all at once:
The chapters were super long and they switched POVs repeatedly. Sometimes I would forget whose POV it was because I didn’t notice the switch. It just got a little confusing and repetitive, especially since every character had to have their spotlight for the same event. I was relieved when they all finally got together so we could end with all these back and forths.
It’s still tropey, but a little less than book 1. And at least this time the author doesn’t point it out so much.
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was really fast-paced and there is a lot at stake for many of the characters. It was a fun ride, with great characters, interesting twists and magic! Plus it’s Canadian YA and you gotta support that CanLit!
Rating: 4 / 5 stars (Better than book 1)
Recommend: Uh yeah, read all the Canadian YA
About the Author:
S.M. Beiko is an eclectic writer and artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She also works as a freelance editor, illustrator, graphic designer, and consultant in the trade book and comic publishing industries in Canada and the U.S. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Her fantasy trilogy, The Realms of Ancient, began with Scion of the Fox, followed by Children of the Bloodlands, and will be concluded with The Brilliant Dark (2019)
Social Media Links!
Praise for Children of the Bloodlands:
“In book 2 of The Realms of Ancient, Beiko brings the hammer down while continuing all that I loved about Scion of the Fox — the characters, the originality, and the real-world locations. I cannot wait to read the series finale. Bravo!” — Julie E. Czerneda, author of the Night’s Edge series
“S.M. Beiko’s Children of the Bloodlands is a wild, fiery, earth-shattering, sky-scraping ride. Roan and her friends, who came together so memorably in Scion of the Fox, must now follow separate paths, which lead them into realms that are both terrifying and beautiful, and truths that hurt before they heal. Book 3 can’t come soon enough!” — Caitlin Sweet, author of The Door in the Mountain and The Flame in the Maze
“The rewardingly complex mythology is deepened through parallel humanizing themes in the protagonists’ storylines, while game-changing action sequences unleash real consequences in the highly diverse world. A densely-packed, well-crafted sequel that will leave readers eager for the trilogy’s finale.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Children of the Bloodlands is an exceptional instalment to the Realms of Ancient saga. S.M. Beiko injects her narrative with a passion and pathos that had me hooked from the very first page. This is a complex and compelling fantasy from one of Canada’s most exciting literary-spec writers. I’m eagerly awaiting book three.” — Charlene Challenger, author of The Voices in Between and The Myth in Distance
“[An] intricately plotted and pleasantly creepy volume. Roan, with her sarcasm, intensity, and increasing world-weariness, is a compelling, realistic protagonist . . . This action-packed Canadian animal fantasy trilogy is recommended for its unique mythology and diverse characters.” — School Library Journal online
Be sure to follow the rest of the tour and check out the previous posts!
Let me know what you think! Have you read either of these books? Are you interested in reading them? What are some Canadian YA books you are looking forward to reading?