Bloody Rose is the most fun I’ve had all year. It’s a great equation. Take a well-done fantasy novel filled with monsters, battles, and arena brawls, add in a band of rock star warriors that are worshipped throughout the land and you’ve got Bloody Rose. Everyone from the group brings something different to the table, whether it be god-like fighting abilities, intense magic, conjuration, or simply the fresh eyes of a newbie. I enjoyed everything about this book and urge you to read it.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. I only publish reviews of books I enjoy, and this novel meets that criterion.
A Few of My Favorite Things
Bloody Rose features an epic band of heroes who never cease to impress. Their fighting skills are legendary and are written masterfully every couple of chapters. I was impressed by the author’s grasp of fight scenes, perfectly pairing skirmishes with fight choreography that was easy to imagine. Each character has a backstory that made them who they are. They’re all unique characters with unique attributes and that’s what makes the book so fun. You have the fighter, you have the conjurer, you have the man who can turn himself into a bear, and you have the bard who continues to surprise throughout. I genuinely cared about each member of the band, and that’s a sign of a strong cast of characters.
Bloody Rose is so filled with monsters and creatures that it’s impossible to quantify all of them. The entire monster encyclopedia has been used here, featuring old favorites like ogres and goblins, and new monstrosities that are hard to explain. These fights provide a lot of the fun, with the band’s strengths on full display. It’s as though you’re reading through an insanely fun video game that’s chock-full of monsters, missions, and epic back stories.
This was my favorite part of Bloody Rose (though I may have already said that about the entire thing). These aren’t just mercenaries who are whispered about in towns and revered with banquets and offerings from humble peasants. They are literal rockstars, causing mayhem in each town they visit. Every baby girl is named Rose, every man and woman is desperate to sleep with one of the band members. It’s a fascinating combination of knight/gladiator culture and pop culture. Eames makes it seem like a modern-day tale until you realize they’re in armor fighting monsters with swords. It’s genius.
By Nicholas Eames
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