Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Blood And Memory

by Fiona McIntosh


At the start of Blood And Memory it seems as though Wyl Thirsk has little left to lose. His friends and family are scattered, imprisoned or dead, and he has become unrecognisable even to those he is close to. A wedding between his beloved Valentyna and the twisted King Celimus seems to be inevitable.

Wyl's sister Ylena is in trouble, since Celimus seems to be intent on finding her and eradicating the Thirsk line. Wyl's friend Elspyth is determined to help her out, although she wants to return to the mountains to the north to find out what has happened to her man, Lothryn.

Meanwhile the magic affecting Wyl is turning out to be more of a curse than a gift. He sets out to find the "manwitch", an elusive sorcerer whom Wyl hopes will be able to teach him more about his enchantment.

Blood And Memory introduces Aremys, a hired killer with a sense of humour and a love of women. He travels with Wyl, although Wyl has reason to be wary of him. Aremys is a larger than life character, very much in the mould of Romen Koreldy.

As with Myrren's Gift, the plot of this novel has plenty of twists and a fair dose of intrigue. This episode of the Quickening series features yet more tragedy, and McIntosh lays it on thick. The author hasn't lost her love of melodrama. The writing in Blood And Memory is as subtle as a brick through your window, always aiming for the maximum emotional impact with the result that it often seems contrived and excessive. The characters continue to find colourful ways to torture and assassinate each other, to the extent that after a while this manual of pain loses its power to shock. This novel is very similar in tone and style to Myrren's Gift, which is a shame because it shares all of the same flaws as well.

Blood And Memory is filled with magic, pursuit, and adventure, a galloping tale of dangerous living and often reckless bravery. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any deeper meaning or moral subtext behind it all, unless you count "don't be a sadistic, brutal killer" as a moral message. The Quickening series is just big, dumb fun, and if you expect any more from it you will be disappointed.

Book Details

Year: 2004

Categories: Books


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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

More about Fiona McIntosh