January 10, 2012

Review: Blood Veins, by Brian Young

Author: Brian Young
Title: Blood Veins
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press (December 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
“A black wave of terror has passed over the thriving kingdom of Larista. Mysterious invaders have swept over the land, laying waste to everything in their path and leaving ghost towns in their wake. No one knows where they came from and no one knows their purpose.

Tasting nothing but defeat after defeat after, the light of hope is fading in the kingdom; but the guerilla forces resisting the invasion have received new information. The news has provided a small glimmer that could possibly spark into something more. Captain Maximus Rex leads a daring rescue mission deep in the Laristan forests to save the lone surviving member of the royal family.   

Once freed, Prince Alexander Novelle, along with his friends and comrades, face a perilous journey deep behind enemy lines. Their destination is Castle Varanasi. The once proud Laristan capital, gateway to heaven and salvation, lines in ruins under Dolus occupation.

Mysterious assassins, underworld savages and renegade Dolus survivors stand between them and the answers they seek. What they find there will shatter their perceptions and lead to unknown perils none of them are ready to face.” GoodReads’ blurb

This was such a complicated book to review! A second read didn’t help at all.

There were things I liked, but there were issues that kept me from really enjoying them. The most attractive aspect here is, of course, the conflict between the Conquerors and the natives, along with the mystery of what happened in truth to allow the bad guys to take over the land. I didn’t see the resolution coming, that’s for sure! Unfortunately, that might be because I felt in over my head for most of the book... While the plot is interesting, with a lot of factions with vying interests, power and survival and information, the world building felt slightly weak for me.

Half the book in, for example, I still didn’t know where the Conquerors came from. Might have been completely intentional on the author’s part, but when I’m not even sure they are from the same world and it starts sounding like a completely different reality, things get a bit too murky for my taste. Why did they come, anyway? No idea. Where did they come to, for that matter? Where exactly are we?

I assumed it was a secondary world, but the religious people kept crossing themselves. The cross is unmistakably Christian, so is this alternate history? It turns out it is, futuristic in fact, but I wasn't sure for most of the book. And by the time I reach the half-way point in a book, I want to be sure of these things. I want to know if the Maker is our Christian God, if he opposes technology because of something that happened (as it turns out to be, since it seems there was a huge war causing the world to become the way it looks), or if it’s a matter of principle. I want to know if the lack of technology is intrinsic to a single country or more widespread. If it’s just a country, and the other places have drones and virtual communication devices as it seems to be the case, I want to know why said country hasn’t been conquered way before. The whole "unreachable place" is not enough. History has shown time and again that no prosperous nation is unreachable.  

The Church in this world opposes the Sisters. We understand that they are something like witches, with knowledge of herbs and salves and stuff, who support technology. Why? Where does this schism come from?

If one of the main characters weren’t a Sister, I’d probably not care that much but... I can’t really understand her motivations, or why people trust or hate her, if I don’t understand what she stands for.

That was my main grip with this story. There were a couple holes, too – or things I didn’t understand. For example, after being taken prisoner as a slave and dressed with rags, why would you be allowed to keep a piece of technology on your person? Specially if it’s something like an intercom. But then again, since I don’t know if the slavers were supposed to know that it was an intercom, or if the Sister had any way to conceal it, this part might be normal.

I think I should mention that I did get an ARC, and that I’m assuming/hoping that the novel wasn’t fully edited yet. It needed some work in punctuation, dialogue smoothness, and typo hunting. I'm just going to comment on stuff that I know couldn't be changed in time in the final copy, like the above points.

So, to sum it up, while this was a very interesting title for fans of fantasy (because in my humble opinion Blood Veins falls into fantasy more than into Sci-Fi), I’m not sure I can say it’s a must-read. It’s a bit too confusing to introduce you to the genre, that’s for sure.

Tomorrow we’re having Brian Young himself as part of his Blog Tour for Blood Veins, in any case. He’ll let us know how he approached the plotting of his novel, and he’ll also share a small excerpt with us! So be sure to come back to hear his take and to ask him any questions or doubts you might have about his book. You could also win an Amazon Gift Card, so don’t miss out!


  1. Awesome review Ron! I want to know a lot more about the setting I'm reading before half way through. Sounds like a great concept.

  2. Hi Rebecca! :) Thanks for the comment. Yep, the concept is pretty interesting. And I'm glad you agree with my thoughts on this!