Blood Song v The Gathering

  • Book: Blood Song
  • Author: Anthony Ryan
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Published: 2013

Blood Song is the first book in the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. It’s told from the perspective of Vaelin Al Sorna – a Brother of the Sixth Order – as he is taken towards a duel he is expected to lose. The story starts with Vaelin as an initiate and details his gruelling training with the monk-like warriors, through forging his own swords to a survival exam which sees him and his fellow recruits dumped in the middle of a huge forest and basically left to their own devices.

If you enjoy slice of life in your fantasy, which I personally do, then this book will suit you down to the ground as there is a lot of it interspersed with all the action. That life though is anything but calm. There are encounters with crime lords, a romance with a Sister in the 5th Order of healers, and the discovery that magic might not be what he thought. 

Of course, it isn’t during Vaelin’s training as a Brother that he ends up in the predicament set up in the framing narrative. That all comes later once he and his friends are older and have passed all their tests. Vaelin is sent on various missions by the King all of which showcase his increasing abilities as a leader. I think it is what happens in the last third-ish of the book though which sends it from good to great in my opinion & plays out an interesting twist on the King & his champion trope which would be familiar to fans of the genre. 

  • Beer: The Gathering
  • Brewery: Top Rope Brewing collaborating with Frank Turner
  • Style: Pale Ale
  • Strength: 4.8%

Bought my dad myself one of these each for Father’s day as we are both massive Frank Turner fans.  So I wasn’t necessarily bothered about how good the beer was. We ended up drinking them together during the England v Denmark game (we all know how that turned out!)

Fortunately, it is also a good beer. After the first sip I was worried it might’ve been a bit watery for my liking but the flavour grew on me quickly. Good amount of hops – a blend of Simcoe & my favourite Mosaic – & a perfectly balanced malt base. After watching that match & drinking this beer there are only 5 simple words going through my mind. I want to dance.

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