Blood’s Pride (Shattered Kingdoms #1) by Evie Manieri
A generation has passed since the Norlanders’ great ships bore down on Shadar, and the Dead Ones slashed and burned the city into submission, enslaving the Shadari people. Now the Norlander governor is dying and, as his three alienated children struggle against the crushing isolation of their lives, the Shadari rebels spot their opening and summon the Mongrel, a mysterious mercenary warrior who has never yet lost a battle. But her terms are unsettling: she will name her price only after the Norlanders have been defeated. A single question is left for the Shadari: is there any price too high for freedom?
When I received an early manuscript of Blood’s Pride I was unsure whether I could handle another epic fantasy novel so soon after reading A Game of Thrones. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of epic fantasy, mainly because I often find them all a little too similar. However, simply from the prologue alone of Blood’s Pride I knew I was reading something special; something entirely different to any fantasy I’d read before.
The basic premise of Blood’s Pride follows the Shadari’s fight for freedom against their conqueror’s the Norlanders, or better known as the Dead Ones, who have crossed oceans to make their mark on the small Shadari settlement. The Norlanders are described as having ice cold translucent skin, and all share the ability to be able to communicate telepathically. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a simple storyline, because it really is anything but. Evie Manieri clearly has a talent for intricate plot details and I could hardly believe that amongst all of today’s fantasy, she could come up with a world so different and unlike anything I’d come across before.
But for me, where this book really excelled was with its characters; particularly the Norlander siblings Eofar, Frea and Isa, and the Mongrel who has been summoned by the Shadari to help fight their battles. The female characters are not only exceedingly strong but also very brutal in nature as well, and I have to admit it’s refreshing to see. My favourite character was probably Frea; the most horrible of them all, but who I couldn’t help but feel enthralled by. Even with a large cast of main characters to focus on, I never lost track of who was who, and that’s all down to Manieri’s talent as a writer as it is something I often struggle with in fantasy.
Blood’s Pride is a thrilling debut that kept me hooked from the very first page and I am more than excited to see where the story and this wonderful cast of characters will be heading next in the second part of the trilogy; Fortune’s Blight. Manieri has definitely reignited my love for epic fantasy, and I think she is certainly one of the top female fantasy writers I’ve come across in recent years. If you’re looking for a fantasy novel that’s a little bit different from the average, then please do pick this up; I can almost guarantee you that you will not regret it!
Blood’s Pride is out now, published by Jo Fletcher Books. A big thank you goes to the publisher and Evie Manieri for sending me an early manuscript, and for publishing Book Monkey’s very first quote on the cover of the finished book!! So if you see it in stores – take note!