Blood of the Gods

David Mealing. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (736p) ISBN 978-0-316-55234-9
This disjointed second Ascension Cycle epic fantasy installment (after Soul of the World) is overstuffed with concepts and characters. Predominantly, the story continues to follow street artist Sarine, tribesman Arak’Jur, and military commander Erris as they navigate their roles in the fight to represent the goddess of life. Sarine has the biggest part to play in the fight for power but is denied answers by her secretive and dying familiar, Zi. Meanwhile, Tigai, a nobleman of an eastern landmass that’s unknown to the others, is captured, sold to powerful mages, and forced to train for the battle between the Houses, which is later revealed to be a test to determine the champions of the god of death in his era’s fight with the champions of the goddess of life for control of the world. Mealing’s use of the West as a symbol of peace and life and the East as a symbol of death and chaos is uninspired, and his use of Earth cultures to inspire those of his world is superficial, verging on stereotypical. Readers will finish this volume more bewildered than they started and will wonder how Mealing can possibly wrap up his sprawling story in just one more book. Agent: Sam Morgan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 08/21/2018
Genre: Fiction
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