I received an audio copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Of Blood and Fire is a throwback Classical Fantasy story with all the makings of a grand series of Epic proportions. Ryan Cahill gives homage to the great Classical writers before him while honing an original story of his own. The beginning may start out slow but by the 20 percent mark, you will not be able to put the book down. The novel just keeps building and it hasn’t even reach the crescendo by the time the ending comes. This is a treat for all Epic Fantasy fans with a classical feel.
The story starts off as simple but gets more complex as the book moves along. The Lorian Empire is ruled by Fane Mortem and he now holds power over the Draleid, also known as the Dragonguard. The Draleid are knights whom have bounded to their Dragons and are granted immense powers. With all of these forces at the empires’ back, no one will stand a chance but a resistance is forming and our main characters will be stuck in the middle. Calen Bryer is an eighteen year old man about to take part in an event called The Proving – a trial of courage and skill that only the strong will survive. Joined by his friends Dann and Rist, the three enter The Glade to partake in the trial when they get attacked by two Uraks which have been forgotten for years. The three must make it back home to warn the elders but what they don’t know is a whole chain of events has begun to unfold and Calen, Dann and, Rist are at the center of it all. I don’t want to spoil anything more for the adventurous readers but the story moves very quickly from this point forward.
Ryan Cahill packs a whole lot of worldbuilding, lore, customs, and magic into this first novel and we still haven’t even scratched the surface. We get to see new creatures as well as the same ones we have all grown to love over the years including: Giants, Elves, Dwarves, and Dragons. The writing style is descriptive with a good pace but the story will take its time to unfold. Nothing will be rushed as the quiet scenes will flow live a stream and the heavy action will hit like a tidal wave. We have a multi-POV epic and there is always something going on behind the scenes to keep the mystery fresh. The resistance believes it has found the last free Draleid who is not beholden to the empire and that will provide the rebels with a glimmer of hope, but the empire is looking for this person as well. The race is on!
Of Blood and Fire is one of the best Epic Fantasy books I have listened to this year and the narrator does an amazing job of telling the story. If you are a fan of Michael J. Sullivan, John Gwynne, and J.R.R. Tolkien then this is a book for you. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC for book two in this series and I am jumping in immediately with both feet. This is the next great epic in the SFF community and I hope you will join me on this journey.