Bloodraven by P.L. Nunn

A son of a forest dwelling people, Yhalen knows little of the world outside the ancestral forest, until he is captured by a band of ogres on a slave-taking mission. Only grim tales of the barbaric giants had reached the forest, but Yhalen soon learns that even the darkest fireside story only hinted at the brutality of these Northern warriors. He discovers the meaning of true fear at their hands, and only the awakening of ancient magic saves him from destruction.

Surviving ogre viciousness, he finds himself given to Bloodraven, the half ogre, half human war leader as a slave. Yhalen, refusing to bend, soon pays the price for offending prickly ogre pride.

But Bloodraven is no mindless, violent ogrish beast. Bloodraven has an agenda and Yhalen finds himself drawn in the wake into human and ogre politics, into bloodshed and cruelty and into the forbidden magic that is damnation in the eyes of his own people, but which might mean the difference between death and salvation.
Synopsis via Lulu.

I don’t think I’ve had such an engrossing fantasy read in an age. I’ve seen the book sereral times when I’ve been fossicking through PL Nunn’s website for goodies, but just not picked it up. Obviously an oversight on my part!

The world building is what initially sucked me in. It was vivid and without an abundance of silly names for coffee and other such folderol, that often spoil good fantasy or sci fi. The story itself is very much a journey tale and the landscapes were rather epic. The history of the place  is alluded to, without being overly complex and distracting.

I found the pacing to be particularly good. It was well executed, with a nice balance of action, erotica and character growth. I don’t think I was ever left with any moments of wishing their horses or boots would grow some wings. heh.

Yahlen was complex and certainly needs the whole book for the growth of his character to cycle and feel complete. But, at the end of the story I wondered if there was the possibility of more for him and even though there was an ending that tied it all up for now, his character felt like there was more there to explore, which would be cool. Bloodraven I just loved. His gruff, orgre nature at odds with his human side. Plus, he’s green and you know it’s just not that easy being green. heh. I totally warmed up to him and kinda liked his pet pooch too. The chemistry between Bloodraven and Yahlen was hot, deliciously so, but smex is not always a happy occasion. The roughness and power inequalities between the two is such, that it often left me feeling a little conflicted. This is not to say that I did not enjoy these scenes, just that they were not easy or light.

One part of the novel I did find a bit challenging was the violence. The author pulls no punches and I’d honestly say I’m not a sook, but some of the non con, rape and graphic descriptions had me ready to hide under the covers. eak! I am a brave button though *gulp* so I soldiered on and while it was not always my cup of tea, it was in keeping with the story and it worked.

I enjoyed this book hugely. I brought Bloodraven in ebook form but I’d now love to get the actual paperback and/or graphic novels. I think the big paperback has artwork in it, so that’s a heouge plus for this geek! PL Nunn’s website is totally worth a nosey too, so check out the book here via her site and also via Lulu and Amazon.

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