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Monday, 8 August 2011

Review: Bloodstone

Author: Gillian Philip

Release date: 19th August 2011
Genre: Fantasy/ YA
Audience: 12+
UK Publisher: Strident


Bloodstone is the second novel in Gillian Philip’s Rebel Angels series. I absolutely loved Firebrand. It was one of my favourite books of 2010. You can read my review here.

Bloodstone sees the time slip forward to the present day in the mortal world. The uncivilised witch hunts which were in full swing in Firebrand are long gone. At the beginning of the novel Seth and Conal are living in the full mortal world of television and leather jackets. They have been hunting the bloodstone for Kate for hundreds of years. In order to stay sane they return to the Sithe world through the watergate and remind themselves of their home.

I reread Firebrand before reading Bloodstone and in some ways it made my experiencing more challenging. I found the modern mortal world so unbecoming for the Sithe. I couldn’t really fit them there in my imagination. They belong in their own medieval, raw and earthy world. I missed Seth roaming the ragged landscape. But on the other hand, by reading Firebrand again, I was again adoring of Seth and his feral ways.

Bloodstone features the familiar faces: Conal, Leonora, Reultan, Sionnach, Eili. But it also introduces us to two new and very significant characters: Jed and Finn. Seth being a Sithe warrior and not one to deny himself earthly pleasures begins a relationship with a full mortal. I guess that is in part where the trouble begins. The full mortal has a son – Jed - and Seth has to meddle with his mind so that he doesn’t remember his presence. In Bloodstone we not only follow Seth’s journey but Jed’s too seeing some of the story from his perspective. Then there is Finn who Seth enjoys goading so passionately. Finn has no knowledge of the Sithe world and her true identity. She is tormented by her peers at school and like a live volcano could erupt at any moment. Bloodstone is her journey too but I didn’t realise this until the end.

The plot twists and turns in so many directions that I had no idea where the author was taking us. There was no sign of the stone and at times I didn’t understand the choices that Seth was making. His intentions were unclear. But do not despair; this is in no way a criticism of the story. Rather Philip takes the reader on a most mazelike journey through the darkest reaches of the mind, the most painful beats of the heart. I am still very much in love with the rugged Seth.

Bloodstone is breathtakingly dramatic and beautifully crafted. The ending was both heart-breaking and endearing. That is Philip’s power to make you really feel the emotion of the characters as if they speak only to you. I wonder where she will take us next. Will the series dive further into the future? Will it touch upon dystopian or will the magic of the Sithe world bleed into the mortal world? I can’t wait to find out.

Thanks to Strident for sending the book to review.

Read for the British Books Challenge 2011.


Sahinio said...

Love your review for this book! I recently read and reviewed it too on my site and I'm glad we had a similar experience with the book :)

maryom said...

An absolutely brilliant book but I think some of the passages from Bloodstone are among the most harrowing I've read. Now waiting to see how it will all end......