Blurb for THE BLOODPRINT
A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.
But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, skilled warriors who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now, they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.
Finding a copy of The Bloodprint promises to be their most dangerous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal ex-slave and Arian’s former confidante and sword master—both Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last.
Jen’s Review of THE BLOODPRINT
Although I received a paperback advanced reading copy, my opinions are my own.
What appealed to me about The Bloodprint was the idea of women fighting injustices committed against other women. The book did not disappoint in that regard.
The Bloodprint begins amidst a struggle for survival, caused by long-term occupation and indoctrination by a group called The Talisman. They teach women are worthless, no more than slaves. They are also racists. To get people to adhere to their views, they burn books and libraries. That way, no one can learn of their culture, history, or opposing views.
Arian, a Companion of Hira, had been given the task of learning more about the leader of The Talisman. For ten years, she tried to get information about him, while freeing women from their slave-chains. When she finally returns to Hira, she learns that their leader has joined forces with a man called The Black Khan. He claims to have seen a manuscript that holds their religion’s sacred verses, which give them magical abilities. This is the Bloodprint.
Arian, along with her companion Sinnia, start a quest to obtain the book. It is a long, dangerous journey.
I had forgotten this was the first book in the series, and the whole time I was reading the book, I felt like I had come into the series late, lacking critical information. For me, that was the biggest problem. Although the author included a character guide and glossary in the back of the book, I didn’t want to have to keep referring to them. I should have been able to understand what was going on without having to use those resources. Sadly, I didn’t feel secure in my understanding, which is, in my opinion, a critical flaw of the way the story was presented.
The pacing of The Bloodprint cannot be described as either fast-paced or slow. It kind of came in waves. Some parts were very exciting. Others were dull. Thankfully, the lulls didn’t last long.
the main character, a beautiful pale-skinned blonde
Her ability is to use The Voice, which is basically reciting scripture for magical effects. Her character is likable. She’s strong and determined to see justice done, while protecting anyone who needs it. At the same time, she’s not a blind follower. And she has a good heart. She wants the best for everyone. Like a realistic person, she just doesn’t know all the time how to accomplish everything. One thing that started to annoy me was how every man wanted to get with Arian. Also, her name makes me think of other things. I don’t know if that was intentional.
She’s loyal but not very powerful. I did like the relationship between Arian and Sinnia, which seemed to be more like sisters than like a leader and her follower. However, I didn’t like that men found her less attractive because of her dark skin.
She left Daniyar a long time ago to follow her path as a Companion. She chose her duty over him. But she still has feelings for him. As he does for her.
Daniyar is known as the “Silver Mage.” I liked Daniyar a lot. His magical ability and unfulfilled love for Arian make him interesting.
the leader of the Companions
Her behavior is suspicious. Arian doesn’t know if she can trust her anymore.
As the story goes along, we meet other important characters. These four, though, get the most page time.
Normally, I don’t like flashbacks, but the author used them well in this book to help build the backstories and personalities of the characters. I felt that all of the characters were realistic and easy to relate to. Also, I felt she did a good job of creating mystery about what Ilea and the Black Khan wanted.
The most impressive aspect of The Bloodprint is the worldbuilding. Ausma Khan put a lot of thought into creating the world, the system of magic, and the characters. The setting descriptions were excellent. I could see every setting clearly in my mind.
On the other hand, I found myself confused at many times because of certain word choices or sentence structures. For example, I couldn’t figure out how the Claim actually worked. There was a part where Ilea clapped her hands, and I couldn’t understand how that could have made the Claim work, when the magic is from the words. After re-reading one sentence multiple times, I figure out that it was Ilea’s “bark” that made it work, not the clapping. If the author had ordered the words in the sentence differently, I wouldn’t have been thinking that the clapping is what caused the effect.
Sometimes the author’s figurative language caused confusion for me as well. For example, I didn’t know what the “Talisman fist” was. I finally decided it was an expression, not an actual thing.
Do I Recommend?
If you aren’t opposed to a big cliffhanger, I do recommend reading The Bloodprint. My complaints all kind of revolve around the way in which information was presented. If I set aside my sense of feeling late to the party and lost in parts, I can appreciate the book’s plot, worldbuilding, and characters. Ausma Zehanat Khan is a good writer. The book is good. It’s just not always easy to follow. You really need to pay attention and, at times, trust that information will eventually come.
The Bloodprint is interesting, politically and socially relevant, and thoroughly invented. I recommend it to readers who like epic fantasy with prominent feminist and religious messages. The world is dark, but not too unlike our own. It’s scary to think intolerance and ignorance could lead to a world like the one in this book.
My Rating: 4/5 stars (B)
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