A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2)
Defy the darkness. Defend the light.Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill.As demonic forces multiply, they send a mighty war-host to overthrow the angel’s stronghold. This could decimate the fractured Ben-Elim. And their allies in the Order may be too overwhelmed to send aid – with Fritha and her monstrous beasts closing in. Like heroes of old, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?A Time of Blood is the spectacular follow-up to John Gwynne's A Time of Dread.

A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) Details

TitleA Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 18th, 2019
PublisherPan Macmillan
ISBN-139781509812981
Rating
GenreFantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fiction, High Fantasy

A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) Review

  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher—Pan Macmillan— in exchange for an honest review.A Time of Blood earned my absolutely undying praise for its impeccable, top-notch quality.Currently, there are only three fantasy authors in the world who can compel me to drop every book in my reading plan and start their newest published work instead; John Gwynne is one of them. There will never be a shortage of praises I can give towards Gwynne’s books. I’m serious, I have insanely high expectations towards his ARC provided by the publisher—Pan Macmillan— in exchange for an honest review.A Time of Blood earned my absolutely undying praise for its impeccable, top-notch quality.Currently, there are only three fantasy authors in the world who can compel me to drop every book in my reading plan and start their newest published work instead; John Gwynne is one of them. There will never be a shortage of praises I can give towards Gwynne’s books. I’m serious, I have insanely high expectations towards his books and yet somehow each of his newest works never fail to not only meet but also exceed my expectations. If you believe in my recommendations and somehow you still haven’t read any of Gwynne’s books, you need to redeem yourself immediately. A Time of Blood was such an incredible and riveting reading experience that I finished it in less than 24 hours; it made me totally ignore reality. “There is much in life that is beyond our control, events that sweep us up and along, actions that wrap us tight in their consequences. Stop raging about the things you cannot change. Just be true to yourself and do what you can do. Love those worth loving, and to the Otherworld with the rest of it. That is all any of us can do.” A Time of Blood is the second book in John Gwynne’s Of Blood and Bone trilogy and the story picks only a few days after A Time of Dread ends. Remember the wonderful pacing of Valor? That is exactly what you’re getting here: chapters ending in a cliffhanger, cinematic scenes being built up, and terrific action scenes written with sniper precision. Even when there was a respite from all the chaos, the story never stopped being interesting because these portions were used effectively to build the character development and relationships. The first book was mostly setup, and Gwynne phenomenally built upon the foundation he established to execute a fast-paced and brutal sequel full of dramatic revelations, engaging dialogues, and bloody warfare. Fans of The Faithful and the Fallen or A Time of Dread have nothing to worry about here; this installment doesn’t suffer the infamous middle book syndrome. Gwynne smartly used this book as a platform to prepare the story for the concluding third and final book while making sure this book doesn’t feel at all like filler. “Each small step taken for a greater good, and then before you know it, you have walked a thousand leagues from where you used to be. And how do you return to that place, return to the person you were? Or if you cannot do that, how do you become the person that you wish to be?" Just like my reviews for The Faithful and the Fallen, I’ll refrain from mentioning character names from the second book and so on in order to make my review as spoiler-free as possible. If you’re familiar with Gwynne’s work, you should know by now that he’s brutal with his characters and he’s not afraid to torture or kill them off. This is also why I utterly LOVE Gwynne’s books. Because of the horrible things he’s not afraid to put his characters through, a melody of dread seems to accompany these characters; I felt a healthy dose of fear for their fates as I turned every page. Their hatred, sorrow, and moral complexity were superbly written and they helped in developing the characters even more. However, it is once again their friendship, loyalty, and love for each other that made me truly care. The rise and fall of heroes and villains in the Banished Lands have always been something that feels personal to me, because Gwynne’s characters always feel so real, and A Time of Blood continued that tradition with finesse. The shifting of emotions that the characters felt were exceptionally portrayed and the characters’ motivations for their actions felt realistic. Because the characters were extremely well-written, the atmosphere of danger in the battle scenes became even more palpable. “A person is made by their heart and their wits.’ He touched his one hand to his chest and then to his temple. ‘And by the deeds that they do. Their choices. Not whether they have pale skin or dark skin, wings or no wings. One hand or two.” The scintillating quality of the action scenes in Gwynne’s books has always been a crucial factor that totally enhanced my reading experience and A Time of Blood displayed a lot of breathtaking battle scenes. Tension-packed chase, fatal archery, stunning airborne battle, deadly ancient magic, marvelous swordcraft/dance, magnificent duel, and savage beasts’ wrath; they’re all here. Even though A Time of Blood is not the last book of the trilogy, the action scenes—especially the final 100 pages which I blazed through in one sitting—could’ve easily worked as a final battle in your usual epic fantasy series. Mayhem and madness exploded as humans, ferals, giant, warriors of the Order, acolytes, wyrms, draigs, angels, and demons all fought in one epic battle. In this installment, Gwynne is back once again to show fantasy readers that he’s still the conqueror of close-quarter battle sequences. I’ve read more than two hundred fantasy books, and in my opinion there are less than five authors who can measure up to Gwynne’s unchallenged skill when it comes to writing vivid and heart-pounding close-quarter combat scenes. As the Kadoshim rises with explosive malice and the Ben Elim descend with their bloody justice, the Order of the Bright-Star must stand their ground with iron-forged determination in order to counter the tsunami of a bloodbath brought by the newly erupting war in the Banished Lands. I can’t emphasize enough the palpable thrill of reading the pulse-pounding climax sequences that were filled with a maelstrom of blood and the clashing steel of devastation in this book. The cinematic action scenes were absolutely fantastic and the heart-hammering climax sequences were completely world-class.I mentioned this in my A Time of Dread review but it still holds true so I’ll say it again: EVERY single book by Gwynne is on my ‘favorite books of all time’ shelf. So far, no other author has ever achieved this kind of constant greatness for me. Not even some of my top favorite authors like Brandon Sanderson, Steven Erikson, or Joe Abercrombie have this kind of consistency. During my time reading A Time of Blood, I was an avatar of iron and the structure of the words written inside this book was a large-scale crimson magnetic field that compelled me to never stop reading. Every word in the book was brilliantly crafted to amaze readers with its superlative quality, and I consider myself blessed to have read this book. Continuing the legacy left behind by legendary authors like J.R.R Tolkien, who rose to fame with his epic fantasies of light waging war against darkness, Gwynne steers the battle between good and evil in modern fantasy towards a perennially promising future. Brimming with astonishing plot, excellent characterizations, unputdownable pacing, vividly engaging prose, and full-throttle exhilarating action in a fully realized world; A Time of Blood is an irresistible jaw-dropping sequel that shows the importance of Gwynne’s role as an ever-burning bright star in modern fantasy. Fantasy fans, trust me when I say just pre-order or buy this book and read it as soon as possible. You won’t regret it. You’re missing out on one of the greatest books and series that fantasy has to offer if you should choose not to read it. The stage for the grand conclusion has been set, and I absolutely can’t wait to read how it all concludes in the final book of the trilogy, which I envision will solidify Of Blood and Bone as one of my favorite trilogies of all time. Thank you very much to John Gwynne for delivering another stupendous escapism experience! "We live our lives by Truth and Courage. Love and loyalty, friendship and honor are our guiding lights.” Official release date: April 18th (UK) and 16th (US), 2019You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • John Gwynne
    January 1, 1970
    A Time of Blood has hit 1000 ratings! Thanks to all of the warband who continue the story with Drem, Riv, Bleda and the others. A Time of Courage is set for next Spring...TRUTH AND COURAGE
  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I have a tendency to use this gif a lot for my books because it says it all about how I feel BLOODY HELL!! This book freaking rocked! Of course I knew it would!! There are so many people and things and animals I loved in this book! Drem CullenKeld FenHammer (Sig =( )Rab FlickRiv Bleda There are many more! Oh, that ending!! I’m worried for everyone. But I cant wait for the next book!! Eh, here’s some pics and stuff. Mel I have a tendency to use this gif a lot for my books because it says it all about how I feel 😉BLOODY HELL!! This book freaking rocked! Of course I knew it would!! There are so many people and things and animals I loved in this book! Drem CullenKeld FenHammer (Sig =( )Rab FlickRiv Bleda There are many more! Oh, that ending!! I’m worried for everyone. 😫 But I cant wait for the next book!! 🤔😉Eh, here’s some pics and stuff. Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
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  • Mark Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    From a short distance this book looks like one long fight scene, which isn't a bad thing as Gwynne writes very good fight scenes, all the way from duels through skirmishes to pitched battles.There are, however, a good number of pauses in which more character is built, and in which the plot is thickened and stirred. A significant part of the book is also the literary equivalent of setting out your soldiers, something I used to do a lot as a little boy, arranging my armies of Airfix troops against From a short distance this book looks like one long fight scene, which isn't a bad thing as Gwynne writes very good fight scenes, all the way from duels through skirmishes to pitched battles.There are, however, a good number of pauses in which more character is built, and in which the plot is thickened and stirred. A significant part of the book is also the literary equivalent of setting out your soldiers, something I used to do a lot as a little boy, arranging my armies of Airfix troops against each other before beginning the slaughter.In terms of the book this setting up is very worthwhile as it adds considerable emotion to the battles where warriors are scythed down in large numbers.We see the developing conflict from four points of view, three on the good side and one on the "baddies'" side. It's true that the dividing lines are not entirely black and white, and that the Ben Elim have some skeletons in their closet (or in a glade in a forest as it happens) but it is still essentially impossible to buy into the mind set of the baddie who doesn't think she is a baddie. We're not talking Starks vs Lannisters here, it's more Starks vs Ramsey Bolton.The main feeling of the book to me is fun, not in the Kings of the Wyld comedic way, but in the way that I enjoyed the fantasy books of my youth. It's straight forward fantasy expertly executed. I would say that Gwynne is definitely the closest we have to an inheritor of David Gemmell's mantle, and I am a big fan of Gemmell's books.When five hundred giants on massive bears charge a demonic army with the Order of the Bright Star screaming, "Truth and Courage!" it's hard to be cynical, so I wasn't, instead I flipped through the pages even faster and cheered them on.The title is no lie. It's a time of blood. Lots of it. And our heroes take a pounding as they fight the good fight.If you loved book 1, like I did, then book 2 will not disappoint! Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes...
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  • James Lafayette Tivendale
    January 1, 1970
    I received an uncorrected proof copy of A Time of Blood in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank John Gwynne and Pan Macmillian for the opportunity. This review will contain spoilers for A Time of Dread.The second entry in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy starts one day after the legendary giant Sig's last stand against the Kadoshim forces. Her heroism granted her comrades enough time to escape and we pick up the action with Drem, Cullen and Keld. In the wake of the destruction and I received an uncorrected proof copy of A Time of Blood in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank John Gwynne and Pan Macmillian for the opportunity. This review will contain spoilers for A Time of Dread.The second entry in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy starts one day after the legendary giant Sig's last stand against the Kadoshim forces. Her heroism granted her comrades enough time to escape and we pick up the action with Drem, Cullen and Keld. In the wake of the destruction and the horrors they have witnessed the group race towards sanctuary at the fortress of Dun Seren. Elsewhere, white-wing Riv and Sirak Prince Bleda are debating their options after the attack of the Ben Elim's stronghold of Drassil, taking into consideration the revelation that Riv is now clearly a winged half-breed. If she is seen in her current, true form the consequences would be drastic and Riv would be executed as an abomination.Akin to A Time of Dread, this novel also follows four point of view perspectives. Readers will be familiar with the characters and viewpoints of the trapper Drem, the warrior Riv and the archer Bleda. A new perspective is that of Fritha - a priestess and captain of the Kadoshim's covens. This is our first insight into the mind of a player on the 'evil' side. Although she was featured in the first book - mainly as Drem's infatuation and ultimate betrayer - here, Gwynne fleshes her out as a character expertly. Throughout her chapters, she reflects about her upbringing, the loss of her child, her current motives and her overall mission objectives. We witness that she has legitimate reasons for her hatred and is not just a two-dimensional warped, pure evil lady. There is very little in Gwynne's The Banished Lands that is 100% good or 100% evil. The distinction is cloudier and greyer in this series than what came prior, with the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim now residing in the human world. The Ben-Elim are now intune with and tempted by a plethora of human-like emotions that they did not know in the Otherworld. In my opinion, Gwynne does two things better than the majority of fantasy writers. Firstly, making me truly, truly care about the characters he's constructed. There were many moments throughout this narrative where events from The Faithful and the Fallen were mentioned and just remembering the characters and the impact they had on me led to my tears actually blurring the words on the page I was reading before I realised it. After spending more time with Of Blood and Bone's ensemble - through battles, betrayals, will they/won't they love dramas, camaraderie and a sense of belonging - I care for the main and side players much more than I did in the first instalment. I've always enjoyed Gwynne's depiction of animals and the parts they play to the overall narrative. Here we have loyal wolven-hounds, talking birds, flirting bears and some crazy warped concoctions of monstrosities too. Secondly, and I'll keep this one shortish because if you've read any of Gwynne's releases you'll be more than aware that he writes battles, duels, skirmishes and confrontations better than anyone in the business right now.After epic battles galore, the final few moments are stunning and I have no idea what implications this event will cause for the series' final entry. I cannot wait at all! Hopefully, knowing John's work rate, the conclusion to the trilogy will arrive sometime next year (crosses fingers). Although this isn't my favourite of Gwynne's works, it is still pretty phenomenal. Gwynne is one of the finest modern fantasy writers around. The Order of the Bright Star shout 'Truth and Courage' when they charge into battle. Looking at the consistent, high quality of Gwynne's outings, I imagine when he writes he has a mantra that states 'anything below excellent is not good enough.'
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Following on from the catastrophic finale of A Time of Dread, this is a high action, high tension blinder of a read. When you pick it up that first time be prepared not to put it down till the last page. It follows standard film sequel rules: bigger, bolder, bloodier. There are all kinds of monstrous creatures chucked in, perhaps running a little too far with it at times… I’m looking at you Ulf and crew. Still, it makes for some seriously incredible scenes, cinematic and deadly. Even with all Following on from the catastrophic finale of A Time of Dread, this is a high action, high tension blinder of a read. When you pick it up that first time be prepared not to put it down till the last page. It follows standard film sequel rules: bigger, bolder, bloodier. There are all kinds of monstrous creatures chucked in, perhaps running a little too far with it at times… I’m looking at you Ulf and crew. Still, it makes for some seriously incredible scenes, cinematic and deadly. Even with all this action, the absolute standout was the characters, or one in particular: Drem. He is the heart of this book, the one to stand with and cheer for. What he considers to be his limitations are the very reason his thoughts and actions are so meaningful, he overcomes them, pushing through his boundaries to be the hero everyone else knows him to be. He feels the most real, especially as he’s the one person who genuinely develops in this offering, there is real change and growth. If there is a Bright Star here, he’s it.Which feeds right into the problem with this series, for me at least. I just don’t love these people anywhere near as much as I do those in the Faithful and the Fallen. Yes, yes, I know how rubbish a reader that makes me. It’s like I broke up with someone and can’t move on. But the memory of the past is too strong and its influence is everywhere, from the battle call ‘Truth and Courage’ to the statute of Corban and Storm that stands outside Dun Seren, from the sword dance to the shield wall. Details big and small pervade every aspect of this series, so much that the story actually relies on it. There is an inescapable commemoration of the people and events from the original series, it might be history here but it’s far from forgotten. The tales of heroism and sacrifice are not just myth, they remain in the memories of the long lived and have been passed down in ways which have ensured they form the political, cultural, and emotional foundations of society. Even when negatively framed, communities are still constructed as a direct response to the past. And all it does is make me miss it more. Intellectually, I know how ridiculous and unrealistic this is. John Gwynne can’t write about the same people forever no matter how much I want him to (and that kind of thing never works anyway), but I can’t help but feel the emotional connection is lacking in comparison. It’s exacerbated by the relative lightness of this series, there’s not as much time or space for development of new characters, again leaving them to be defined in part by the past. It circles round and round again.In any case, if you know John Gwynne then you know that things end on a pretty dire note. And perhaps you also realise how much of an understatement that is. I think I can get away with saying that there are insane battles. That nobody is safe. And that I really hope John Gwynne knows how he’s going to get people out of this goddamn mess, because I sure don’t… ARC via Netgalley
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  • Sebastien Castell
    January 1, 1970
    A Time of Blood is the second book in John Gwynne's new fantasy epic of warring angelic beings, their demonic nemeses, and, most of all, the people caught in the middle. It's a tale of good versus evil, but not the kind I was expecting, which is why this book is so damned good.The very idea of good versus evil strikes me as one of the most pernicious notions ever devised by human beings. It lets us burn a brand into the very soul of those we dislike and gives us the moral freedom to use whatever A Time of Blood is the second book in John Gwynne's new fantasy epic of warring angelic beings, their demonic nemeses, and, most of all, the people caught in the middle. It's a tale of good versus evil, but not the kind I was expecting, which is why this book is so damned good.The very idea of good versus evil strikes me as one of the most pernicious notions ever devised by human beings. It lets us burn a brand into the very soul of those we dislike and gives us the moral freedom to use whatever means, no matter how vile, to vanquish them. It turns our enemies into Tolkien's orcs – the infinitely abusable physical personifications of all we revile. Many fantasy authors nowadays, well aware of the clichéd baggage that comes along with "good versus evil" try to posit instead a kind of moral equivalency. It's a tactically useful device for modern fantasy, but one that's often unsatisfying because it removes any kind of real moral tension from the reader's experience. We're all bad. We're all good. So who cares? Just tell me who the enemy is and let’s go kill him.Gwynne takes a different approach with A Time of Dread and especially the sequel, A Time of Blood. There's no real moral equivalency between the angelic Ben-Elim and the demonic Kadoshim. One views humanity as something to be protected, the other as something to be used or destroyed. But the Ben-Elim are . . . how shall I put this? Arseholes. They're so convinced of their inherent goodness and superiority that their notion of protecting humanity amounts to controlling everything about our lives even while they break their own laws in secret and force others to pay the price for those actions. It's through the gradual reveal of those actions that we see that the Ben-Elim have brought much of this unfolding war down on their own heads – as well as those of the human beings they claim to protect. Watching the human characters in the novel deal with those repercussions is what makes A Time of Blood so compelling.Above all else, though, what you get from A Time of Blood is the sense of heart that runs throughout the book. No one escapes the consequences of their emotions, their loves and hates, their losses. There are moments of tremendous hope and scenes of terrible heartache. A Time of Blood is dark and wrenching and yet always promises there must be an answer somewhere – so long as the characters keep searching for something beyond the false morality of either of the two great forces bringing their world to war.For all the angelic Ben-Elim and giants, the bat-winged Kadoshim and feral creatures, the magic and wondrous animals, A Time of Blood is a profoundly human story, told by an author who seems determined to make the reader reach for something deep inside themselves that is brave and virtuous, and above all, decent. John Gwynne writes fantasy with the heart of a hero and the inventiveness of a master mage.
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  • Celeste
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.Oh man. I wish time travel was a thing so I could dart into the future and get my hands on the last book of this trilogy. I need the final installment immediately. “We live our lives by Truth and Courage. Love and loyalty, friendship and honour are our guiding lights.”I absolutely You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.Oh man. I wish time travel was a thing so I could dart into the future and get my hands on the last book of this trilogy. I need the final installment immediately. “We live our lives by Truth and Courage. Love and loyalty, friendship and honour are our guiding lights.”I absolutely adored The Faithful and the Fallen. The entire quartet was insanely epic, and each book was better than the last. I was crazy excited to get my hands on A Time of Dread, the first book of Gwynne’s followup series Of Blood and Bone. As much as I enjoyed it, that book had more of a grimdark feel to it than the original series, which saddened me and kept me from loving it to quite the same extent, though I see now that it was a necessary writing decision. A Time of Blood more than made up for that. While still dark and definitely bloody, this second installment had more of the optimism that made TFatF so wonderful, shining a light into the darkness and fighting to overcome it. I was ecstatic to feel the return of that hopefulness even in the midst of dark and terrible times. Something that Gwynne does wonderfully well is balance sorrow with hope. We should mourn and avenge our fallen, but we should also preserve our memories of them and honor them by living life to the fullest.“Life is harsh, and complicated…To survive each day and be with the ones you love, that is becoming enough for me.”One of my favorite elements of TFatF was Gwynne’s inclusion of animal characters, and how he gave them loads of personality. The close ties between man and beast in the Banished Lands has proven incredibly moving, and I very much appreciate the crows and bears and wolven-hounds as they’ve been showcased. Not only do these animals seem like important characters in their own right, but their loyalty to and friendship with their humans is absolutely beautiful. When one of these animals dies, they are mourned just like any other fallen comrade. There’s a special place in my heart for Gwynne’s crows, the only animal characters with speaking lines. I love how very crow-like their dialogue reads, managing to convey thought and personality without ever seeming human.“Moments like that, when you act when there is no room for thought, they show the truth of a person.”Another element of TFatF that I absolutely loved that was carried into Of Blood and Bone is the almost Judeo-Christian feel of the war between good and evil. The Ben-Elim appear very angelic, and the Kadoshim are their malevolent counterparts. However, they are not so cut and dried as that. As we come to see in A Time of Dread and A Time of Blood, the Ben-Elim have flaws of their own, despite their apparent moral superiority and lovely white-feathered wings. Especially in A Time of Blood, we see how the Ben-Elim have not practiced what they preached, and have kept certain darker parts of themselves hidden. These darker parts are now coming to light, and suddenly they don’t seem all that different from their demonic rivals. In fact, through the eyes of one of our perspective characters, we see a loyalty to the Kadoshim that seems to be missing from the Ben-Elim. I love the spiritual warfare feel that this story brings, but I love even more that things aren’t as straightforward as they appear.“War makes monsters of us all.”Speaking of that perspective character, Gwynne did a great job crafting a disturbingly evil individual whose backstory nearly justifies their actions. As I always choose to do when reviewing Gwynne’s work, I won’t be naming names, but that character is among the most twisted sympathetic characters I’ve ever encountered. I found them demented and misguided and brilliant, and I truly felt for them and could see the reasoning behind their decisions even as I was horrified by them.“Sometimes, dark deeds must be done to accomplish great ends.”As always, Gwynne did a brilliant job of crafting his battle scenes. They were easy to follow and completely consuming. He does a wonderful job of conveying the emotions flowing through his characters in the midst of battle, and showing how those emotions must be dealt with quickly so that the characters can focus on the matter at hand. We see characters push through fear and rage and physical pain to continue fighting for what they believe in, and I have immense respect for that. “Fear is not the enemy, it is the herald of danger, and that is only wisdom.”It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that left me this desperate for the next book, with no word of when that book will be published. The third installment of this trilogy is a book that I will be eagerly awaiting and will start reading as soon as I can get a copy. Everything else will have to wait. There was nothing about A Time of Blood that I would change. Not a single solitary thing. Gwynne has become on of those rare authors whose books I will immediately preorder as soon as they’re available. If he writes it, I’ll read it, no matter what it is. I don’t think I can give an author higher praise than that. Truth and Courage! All quotations are taken from the advance copy and are subject to change upon publication.
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  • Nils | nilsreviewsit
    January 1, 1970
    ‘“We live our lives by Truth and Courage. Love and loyalty, friendship and honour are our guiding lights.”’~John Gwynne must be a sorcerer because A Time of Blood is one hell of a monumental book. This sequel leaps straight into the action, and begins directly after the climax of the first book, A Time of Dread. Immediately there is plenty of tension and some more bloody and amazing battles which continue throughout. I was literally glued to this book and didn’t want it to end. All I want to do ‘“We live our lives by Truth and Courage. Love and loyalty, friendship and honour are our guiding lights.”’~John Gwynne must be a sorcerer because A Time of Blood is one hell of a monumental book. This sequel leaps straight into the action, and begins directly after the climax of the first book, A Time of Dread. Immediately there is plenty of tension and some more bloody and amazing battles which continue throughout. I was literally glued to this book and didn’t want it to end. All I want to do is shout GO READ THIS!⚔️Gwynne makes it harder to define good vs evil in this instalment. Both sides have done malicious acts, and therefore we cannot help but query the motives and the decisions made by both the Ben-Elim and the Kadoshim. I admire how Gwynne took the fantasy theme of good vs evil, twisted it and in turn blurred the lines of what is right and what is wrong; which made the reader feel conflicted. This is exactly what I look for in my fantasy books, where everything is so morally grey.~“‘War makes monsters of us all,’ Fritha said. ’And the trouble with war is that it follows you. Sometimes there is no escaping it. Sometimes the only choice is to choose which side you stand on.’”~There was much journeying in this book, as characters travelled through the Banished Lands to warn of the Kadoshim’s threat, or other characters whom serve the Kadoshim, try to prevent this from occurring. However this never became tedious. The pace didn’t really slow as the four main characters faced betrayals, hardship, warfare, and even a variety of monstrous creatures along the way. There was always something happening to hold my intrigue. In fact, my heart was racing throughout the whole book, fearing for all my favourites! Gwynne‘s novels definitely should come with a health warning!⚔️As well as physical journeying, there was plenty of character exploration too. Once again Drem was my favourite. He was portrayed as vulnerable, and overwhelmed, as his previous sheltered life is torn away and he is suddenly catapulted into a dangerous quest. Drem displayed many characteristics of Autism, and through him is represented some of the difficulties Autistic people face. Despite these difficulties, at no point did his character ever give up or lose hope. He did what needed to be done even when it was completely out of his comfort zone. It made my heart so happy to see a type of disability finally portrayed in a positive way. This was definitely refreshing.⚔️Drem’s companions Keld, Cullen, and not forgetting my favourite animal characters Hammer and Rab, were all so entertaining. I adore the way Gwynne portrays friendship of humans and animals in all of his books, and I always look forward to seeing the bonds that they form. To cut through the dark themes of the book, these characters provided much banter and humour; especially Cullen whom was often completely insane! Again this is something I love to see.⚔️Riv, a character quick to anger, extremely stubborn and often immature; and the character Bleda; an emotionally guarded young warrior, grew on me so much more in this book. As the lies unfold and they both learn hard truths, their whole world is revealed to be not as black and white as they previously believed. Even though Riv retains her fiery spirit, she slowly begins to mature, and through her close friendship with Bleda, we see her gentle side.~‘Each small step taken for the greater good, and then before you know it, you have walked a thousand leagues from where you used to be. And how do you return to that place, return to the person you were?’~What captivated me the most in this book was the way Gwynne built up the tension, the immense threat and created such a dark atmosphere throughout. All sides were preparing for war; dark fantastical creatures were coming into existence, hatred and the need for vengeance was spreading. Then in the last 100 pages of the book, BANG, everything exploded into complete chaos. This made for the most intense thrilling scenes.⚔️The whole book felt as though it was building to a truly epic conclusion, and I’m scared, but also very much looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.~Arc provided by Tor UK (Pan Macmillan) in exchange for an honest review. All quotes used are taken from the arc, and are subject to change upon publication.~A Time of Blood is out now!
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  • Will.J.R. Gwynne
    January 1, 1970
    A Time of Blood paperback is out today! A Time of BloodA Time of Blood comes out today in the UK and has already been published in North America a few days ago. Very proud of my father John Gwynne as another book of his is released. His 6th book in total now and nearing the end of the second series.Each book by him just gets better and better, so if you have enjoyed any work by John Gwynne, A Time of Blood will be a pleasure as well.So happy publication day dad, I hope everyone who reads it A Time of Blood paperback is out today! A Time of BloodA Time of Blood comes out today in the UK and has already been published in North America a few days ago. Very proud of my father John Gwynne as another book of his is released. His 6th book in total now and nearing the end of the second series.Each book by him just gets better and better, so if you have enjoyed any work by John Gwynne, A Time of Blood will be a pleasure as well.So happy publication day dad, I hope everyone who reads it loves it as much as I did.
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  • Karina Webster
    January 1, 1970
    It’s not often that I finish a book I love and struggle to articulate why everyone else will love it too. It’s been over twelve hours since I finished this masterpiece and my prevailing thought remains ‘it’s fantastic, read it, it’s fantastic, read it’… So I will do my best to explain why you should. I’d also like to note that while there are references to events and characters in Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series, this series can be read without having read them.A Time of Blood is the It’s not often that I finish a book I love and struggle to articulate why everyone else will love it too. It’s been over twelve hours since I finished this masterpiece and my prevailing thought remains ‘it’s fantastic, read it, it’s fantastic, read it’… So I will do my best to explain why you should. I’d also like to note that while there are references to events and characters in Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series, this series can be read without having read them.A Time of Blood is the perfect sequel, it delivers more action, more tension, more bloody battles and further blurs the lines of good vs evil in a land where the heroes and villains of legend are still remembered, if not still alive. We continue to question motives and decisions and live in constant fear for the lives our favourites. Without the world building and character introductions necessary in a first book, A Time of Blood catapults us straight into the action and doesn’t let up, building tension for what promises to be a truly epic conclusion. Unputdownable, this novel is exactly what I look for in my fantasy reading and has gone straight onto my favourites shelf. We kick off where A Time of Dread finished, following four point of view characters as they discover truths, endure betrayals, fight against the odds (and many a fantastical creature) and traverse the landscape of the Banished Lands. I enjoy reading epic fantasy with multiple point of view character chapters but more often than not there is one storyline/character arc that’s perhaps a bit less interesting or whose narrative slows the pace and plot in general - I am happy to report that is not the case here. Each protagonist was engaging, well developed and put me right where I needed to be to see the whole picture. I would be remiss if I didn’t also praise the excellent non-POV characters too, in particular the animals. I have formed strong attachments to the non-human characters of this series, and considering some of them are non-verbal, that is a great feat. This series is very inclusive in that I feel like every character matters and has an important part to play, no one is anywhere by accident and their words, actions and histories will all impact on what’s to come. I would just like to take a moment to appreciate Drem’s characterisation, in particular though. As a man who was raised primarily by only his father, Drem gets nervous and overwhelmed in large, crowded places as well as when faced with difficult choices/impending peril. When placed in such circumstances, he reaches for his pulse in his neck. This happens often throughout the novel and each time I was struck by how realistic this made him. Often in fantasy, characters are placed in these life or death situations and are expected to be brave, fearless and driven by righteousness yet in reality, if any of us were in that position we would be terrified. I know I would, and to see this small gesture of anxiety occur for Drem not only in situations that would petrify the majority of us but also in regular, every day scenarios (like travelling through a new town) was really refreshing. Of course he’d be nervous, he’d never been around so many people before! It made sense for the character and it’s these little attentions to detail for all of his characters that really makes Gwynne a master of his craft. This brings me nicely to the writing. It continues to be superb. A Time of Blood jumps straight into the action and the pace doesn’t relent from there. The conflicts that I expected to occur as a culmination of the events at the end of A Time of Dread happened much sooner than I predicted. I loved that so early on I was thrown off kilter in my expectations and I could just sit back and enjoy the direction Gwynne took. The pacing is excellent, it kept me turning the pages whilst also remaining true to life, nothing felt coincidental or placed just to create extra drama, and the battle scenes continue to be breathtaking. You can tell Gwynne knows each weapon and how it works in the right (and wrong!) hands and reading the characters take on different roles and skills in each skirmish is impressive to behold. No one is safe and it is testament to the incredible writing that each casualty feels like a physical blow. I was wholly absorbed in the action and that is exactly what I am looking for in fantasy. I touched earlier on how there are no clear cut lines for the good guys and the villains, the characters have too much depth and complexity for that, but each character ultimately believes they are on the right side, yet still have moments where they question whether what they believe (or have been taught to believe) is the truth and with each new revelation we are more unsure who our allies are. See, I say our as if I’m actually part of the story - it’s that immersive. This instalment certainly lives up to its name, Gwynne continues to be unafraid to dish out war, brutality and loss and the climax does not disappoint. As expected, I was rapidly turning the pages, impatient to find out how these characters were going to triumph, or even if they would survive at all, and as usual I was left with an incredible finale that promises an explosive conclusion. I have no idea how Gwynne is going to manoeuvre his characters to conclude this epic series, but I have absolute faith that it will be a violent, emotional roller-coaster of excellence. I can’t wait.Truth and Courage.I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to Pan Macmillan and Tor UK for this. 
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  • Deborah Obida
    January 1, 1970
    Better a hard truth than a kind lie. This book picked up exactly where A time of dread ended, with Drem and friends on the run, Bleda and Riv in the woods.I don't know how the author does it but this is his fifth book that I'm reading and I love them all. This book is diverse and the fight scenes were well portrayed. “A person is made by their heart and their wits.” He touched his one hand to his chest and then to his temple. “And by the deeds that they do. Their choices. Not whether they have Better a hard truth than a kind lie. This book picked up exactly where A time of dread ended, with Drem and friends on the run, Bleda and Riv in the woods.I don't know how the author does it but this is his fifth book that I'm reading and I love them all. This book is diverse and the fight scenes were well portrayed. “A person is made by their heart and their wits.” He touched his one hand to his chest and then to his temple. “And by the deeds that they do. Their choices. Not whether they have pale skin or dark skin, wings or no wings. One hand or two.” The world building is amazing which is not unexpected. Just like the first book this book is written in third person multiple POV with an additional POV, Now Fritha has a POV which is super cool, now we can finally know what goes on with the Kadoshims. “There is much in life that is beyond our control, events that sweep us up and along, actions that wrap us tight in their consequences. Stop raging about the things you cannot change. Just be true to yourself and do what you can do. Love those worth loving, and to the Otherworld with the rest of it. That is all any of us can do.” The Ben Elim is now ruled by Kol which I don't know whether its for the good or worse, he is what I call a grey character.I didn't think it was possible to love Drem and Cullen more than I already do but it happened, Drem is more matured than before, he is even a better swordsman, unfortunately Cullen is still as hot headed as before.The new Riv is way cooler than the hot headed pious girl from book one, she now knows that not everything is black and white. Considering the way book one ended. (view spoiler)[she finally found out who her father is and its Kol and Astra is her mother not sister (hide spoiler)]Bleda is as cool as ever, I'm really enjoying his character development, he is growing up to be an honourable young man.I still hate Fritha, I finally know the reason why she hates the Ben Elim and the reason is as lame as ever. Its beyond ridiculous.
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  • FanFiAddict
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: SynopsisDefy the darkness. Defend the light.Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ Rating: ★★★★★SynopsisDefy the darkness. Defend the light.Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill.As demonic forces multiply, they send a mighty war-host to overthrow the angel’s stronghold. This could decimate the fractured Ben-Elim. And their allies in the Order may be too overwhelmed to send aid – with Fritha and her monstrous beasts closing in. Like heroes of old, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?ReviewThanks to the publisher and author for a finished copy of A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone #2) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a copy of the book did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.Have I told you guys how much I love John Gwynne? His writing ability is obvious, but he is genuinely one of the nicest and most engaging human beings I have met via social media. He is one of only a handful of authors who will literally answer each and every tweet, DM, etc. sent his way, and I don’t mean with just a one or two word response. Can we have more authors like him?A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone #2) is an engaging and praiseworthy successor to the phenomenal A Time of Dread. Think of it like a 500 page ‘Battle of the Bastards’ but with angels and demons and bears, OH MY. Battle lines are drawn, armies are weaponized, and all-out chaos is on the brink. This is epic fantasy at its finest and we are not worthy.What I really enjoy about Gwynne’s writing has to be his characters. Each one is fully fleshed-out with a backstory, present-tense engagement, and motivation for a future of their own making. While there is an overall tone of good vs evil, there is a harsh shade of gray that looms over the entire battlefield and its surrounding areas. We see characters with obvious external conflict, but also the internal as they attempt to pick a winning side or figure out just who they really are. Those we see as friends, some even becoming like family, have only schemed their way into the fold and their true colors are shown as the skies begin to darken.Since Book 2 is practically a seamless transition from Book 1, the world-building schematics have already been laid out for your pleasure, but we dig a little deeper into certain sections this time around. A few things that are more built-on this time around are the characters and creatures of the world. Much like Book 1, we are given four (4) POVs, three (3) of which we are familiar with from the previous novel, and a new one which revolves around Fritha who is a priestess and captain of the Kadoshim’s covens. Though Drem is still my favorite (which it is difficult to not pick him), Fritha’s backstory and motivations are of high interest as the book plays out, giving us insight into her upbringing and what clicked to lead her down this path.Oh, and I mentioned creatures. Holy moly, there are so many! Giants, giant worms, demons, bears, crows, ‘ferals’, etc. Has a very Tolkein-esque quality to it that I absolutely loved. Honestly, just missing wizards and hobbits, but I digress. Every single creature in this book plays a role, and several are given human-like qualities that actually give the reader a bit more engagement opportunity through emotional attachment.Gwynne had firmly established himself as one of my go-to authors for epic fantasy after I read Malice (and no, I haven’t finished The Faithful and The Fallen series and I am a terrible book blogger), but Of Blood and Bone continues to cement him as a “drop everything you are doing right now” author and I can bet he will do the same for you.
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  • TS Chan
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars.A fantastic sequel in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy, A Time of Blood is yet another testament to John Gwynne's extraordinary ability to write incredible stories. The tone and direction of the narrative stayed true to Gwynne's approach of escalating the stakes, and ratcheting the tension to a penultimate cliffhanger ending that makes one go "Why are you doing this to me?"One thing I have to note is that I enjoyed A Time of Dread just a bit more and now I realised that it has a lot to 4.5 stars.A fantastic sequel in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy, A Time of Blood is yet another testament to John Gwynne's extraordinary ability to write incredible stories. The tone and direction of the narrative stayed true to Gwynne's approach of escalating the stakes, and ratcheting the tension to a penultimate cliffhanger ending that makes one go "Why are you doing this to me?"One thing I have to note is that I enjoyed A Time of Dread just a bit more and now I realised that it has a lot to do with the nostalgia factor when the heroes from The Faithful and The Fallen were commemorated and spoken of. I felt a bit less attached to the new characters in this series, especially those which were not as connected to Corban and his legacy. With this, and coupled with the amount of heart evident in his story, Drem is definitely my favourite POV character. This is not to say that Riv and Bleda are poor characters, far from it, as Gwynne is very skillful in creating interesting and relatable characters. Their stories were compelling, even if I did not feel as much for them as I did for Drem. And the other thing that Gwynne is wont to do is making his characters suffer through pain, grief, loss, regret, torment, and all those wonderfully things. It is excruciating, but this also makes for an incredibly cathartic experience watching these characters pull together in adversity, supporting and watching out for each other's back, and coming out triumphant. "We live our lives through Truth and Courage. Love and loyalty, friendship and honour are our guiding lights." Speaking of his skill in writing characters, I applaud him the most in his portrayals of the animal characters. I am a huge animal lover, and Gwynne does them a whole lot of justice. I am not kidding, a lot of my emotional moments belonged to the crows, bears and wolven-hounds. They felt like real characters to me, and scenes of their interaction and connection with the humans are some of the most heartwarming, and heartwrenching, ones I've read in this book. They are not merely animals, or pets. They are friends. "With friends like this, how could we ever lose?" The Ben-Elim and the Kadoshim at first glance seemed to mirror the angels and fallen angels of our world. And perhaps they are meant to tell a deeper story than simply good vs evil. While the Kadoshims were indeed malevolent, the faithful and 'honourable angels of Elyon were not as benevolent as they were thought to be. A major part of the narrative in Of Blood and Bone dealt with the outcome of the Ben-Elim taking control over a large portion of The Banished Lands. Safe to say, it was not happily ever after. The action scenes are classic Gwynne. Superbly written, they are intense, vivid and suspenseful. If you've read any of Gwynne's books before, you would know that no one is safe in The Banished Lands. In fact, Of Blood and Bone felt a lot darker, although not as epic as The Faithful and The Fallen at this stage. It is without a doubt very well-written, and the continuation of the story from the last series felt like a natural extension of the events in Wrath. These books also offer fans of The Faithful and The Fallen, yours truly included, a chance to reminisce about the old beloved characters; times which are often accompanied by a tear or two, or more. With A Time of Blood, Gwynne paved the road to the end with his first-rate storytelling skills. The conclusion of Of Blood and Bone is going to be tremendously epic. I could feel it in my blood and bones.You can purchase this book from: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide)You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
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  • Nick T. Borrelli
    January 1, 1970
    Let me preface this review by stating that I have never given a John Gwynne book anything less than five stars. If you are doing the math, that's five books in total that all were pretty damn perfect in my opinion. Along with Tad Williams and Robin Hobb, Gwynne is one of the very few authors who literally makes me block out any outside stimuli when I'm reading one of his books, I'm that focused on them. His preceding series The Faithful and the Fallen is in my top 10 fantasy series of all-time Let me preface this review by stating that I have never given a John Gwynne book anything less than five stars. If you are doing the math, that's five books in total that all were pretty damn perfect in my opinion. Along with Tad Williams and Robin Hobb, Gwynne is one of the very few authors who literally makes me block out any outside stimuli when I'm reading one of his books, I'm that focused on them. His preceding series The Faithful and the Fallen is in my top 10 fantasy series of all-time and I'm actually planning on doing a reread of that one very soon. It's reasonable then to assume that I was more than a little excited to receive an advance copy of book two in John's Of Blood and Bone series A TIME OF BLOOD from the publisher Pan Macmillan. For those who follow my blog, you are already aware that the first book in this new series A Time of Dread was my #1 read of 2018. So now that my cards are all out on the table, here are my thoughts on A TIME OF BLOOD.We pick up the story of A TIME OF BLOOD pretty much immediately after the events of the first book in the series A Time of Dread. Book one described a land torn apart by the war that took place over a century previous between the demonic Kadoshim and the angelic Ben-Elim. The last vestiges of the Kadoshim, appearing to have been mostly eradicated by the Ben-Elim and their allies, were being hunted in every secluded corner in and around The Banished Lands. Yet rumors still abounded of a group of Kadoshim holdouts who may or may not be growing in strength and numbers. The end of A Time of Dread was one of the more thrilling I have experienced and definitely set up the events in this second book tantalizingly well. Book two brings us back to The Banished Lands and the four main character viewpoints that are prevalent in this new series. The action in A TIME OF BLOOD has been ratcheted up considerably and the battles that the characters must endure, both physical and emotional, are just vintage John Gwynne. We continue to struggle with the Ben-Elim as "heroes" when often times their motives seem self-serving and they can tend to be rather ruthless in their supposed protection of their human beneficiaries. As in book one, we see that the Kadoshim are still ever present across the land and the threat that they pose is no longer whispered at but is gradually becoming a reality. Throughout the book, Drem and the other characters embark on an attempt to warn each city about the impending danger that may be coming. When ultimately a large force of the demon horde amasses at the foot of the Ben-Elim stronghold, war is all but certain again, but this time victory for the Ben-Elim may not be so easily won. You see,the Kadoshim have learned from their previous defeat and coupled with a new leader, may have discovered some secrets that could tip the balance in a potential new clash with the mighty Ben-Elim. If that final battle does come, who wins and who loses will be a question of who has enough strength, courage, and faith to throw back a faithless foe bent on nothing but death, subjugation, and destruction. What will be the ultimate result? You just have to pick up this series and read it from the beginning because I promise you that it will be an experience you will not soon forget..I am continually impressed with John Gwynne's ability to deliver one top-notch brilliant fantasy book after another. A TIME OF BLOOD takes the Of Blood and Bone series to dizzying heights indeed. John has taken all of the fantastic elements from the first book and carried that into an action-packed second offering filled with battles and treachery aplenty. As with any John Gwynne book you also know there will be some heartache. The guy really knows how to get you emotionally invested in a character and then proceeds to put them in extreme mortal peril the entire time. That's where I believe A TIME OF BLOOD really stands above the majority of fantasy fiction today. The amount of distress I was put in as the reader (and believe me this isn't a bad thing at all in my opinion) was such that I almost turned every page with my eyes half-closed. Tell me how many books can achieve that? So many times I read books where you have no doubt that nothing bad will happen to the "good-guys". Everything works out way too perfectly and there's always an ending that is happy and neatly tied up in a bow. Well to be honest I can't stand books that don't put any of the characters in any real danger and even perish the thought, kill some off. It's exactly the reason why George RR Martin's books are so popular with the public and also critically acclaimed. You read his books never knowing if your favorite character will be dead by the next page. Gwynne has this knack and talent as well. Getting back to a TIME OF BLOOD, it was simply an amazing journey of a book. An added aspect that I found compelling and original is the Ben-Elim continue to be both protectors and almost semi-villains at the same time. The gray area that they occupy in so far as their motives go and the way they have been somewhat corrupted by their earlier success over the Kadoshim is a fascinating character study. We have all seen in real life where governments or leaders who claim to have the good of the people at heart actually end up being tainted and their biggest oppressors. To be able to write a book where even the protagonists may not be the saviors that they appear, is just a testament to the greatness of this book and of John Gwynne's writing as a whole. I also loved that the book was a seamless continuation of A Time of Dread and ended with so much up in the air in anticipation for book three. In closing, A TIME OF BLOOD is possibly one of the best fantasy books I have ever read and I full-throatedly recommend this and all of John's books in this continuing saga. I actually read the last 30 pages in three days because I simply did not want to turn the final page. You know that you've just read a magnificent book when that happens. A TIME OF BLOOD is due to be released next month on April 18, 2019, so do whatever you have to do to secure a copy whether that be preorder, running to a physical bookstore on publication day, whatever it takes just GET IT! It's a shining example of the very best that fantasy literature can offer when in the hands of a true master.
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  • Eon ♒Windrunner♒
    January 1, 1970
    "Dark blood drank he, from the demon welling." The Volsung Saga Superlative fantasy!I cannot even begin to express my sheer excitement whenever I get the chance to read a book by John Gwynne. He is one of the few authors that I have read, who are an automatic buy for me on day one. Limited edition? Signed copy? Hello Splurgeville. Groceries?Pffft. Who needs ‘em.His debut series, The Faithful and the Fallen, is on my all time favourites list and when I heard he was writing a new series in the "Dark blood drank he, from the demon welling." The Volsung Saga Superlative fantasy!I cannot even begin to express my sheer excitement whenever I get the chance to read a book by John Gwynne. He is one of the few authors that I have read, who are an automatic buy for me on day one. Limited edition? Signed copy? Hello Splurgeville. Groceries?Pffft. Who needs ‘em.His debut series, The Faithful and the Fallen, is on my all time favourites list and when I heard he was writing a new series in the same world set about a century later, I was both ecstatic for the return and downhearted thinking about the inevitable march of time, and how this was going to impact the characters and world that I had come to love previously. I was also worried that it might not live up to The Faithful and the Fallen because of the well earned corner that series holds in my heart, but A Time of Dread was like a bridge over troubled water, it eased my mind and surpassed my expectations in every way, bringing back a few beloved characters, introducing new ones, and providing many reminiscences on characters from the age gone by. It is a fantastic piece of writing, weaving both old and new together to form a captivating story that slays any doubts there might be about returning to this familiar stomping ground. Look at me, I might just write a whole new review for that book! A Time of Dread ended on a dire note, and the story here picks up shortly after that ending. I wont say much about it though, for fear of spoilers. Our heroes have just escaped from the clutches of the Kadoshim and ...other vile creatures. It is a tense and poignant opening as not all of them made it, but the title is not A Time of Bunnies, and for good reason. The survivors are racing to warn the forces at Dun Seren of the imminent danger, but they first have to outrun their pursuers.The Banished Lands is a hard place to survive in, and it will become much harder before the end of this story. I have mentioned many a time that characterization is king for me, and Gwynne is a master of the art, once more expanding the list of characters I love and making me feel like a part of the family. I would fight for them. I would live for them. I would die for them. That right there feels like it encapsulates the cornerstone of his writing and the stories he tells. These characters would do anything for each other. Family, love, friendship, loyalty, honour, truth and courage - these are the foundations of their being and the stories Mr Gwynne writes.While the story is told through the eyes of the protagonists once again, this time we get to experience an antagonist's viewpoint as well. It adds a very interesting counterpoint as we explore this person's motivations, and is an inspired decision on the author’s part, adding another layer to the story of good versus evil. Drem, who is on the autism spectrum, is the standout for me though. He has come so far since the first book and is developing into a marvelous character.A Time of Blood is definitely a faster read than its predecessor, not wasting time getting things going, the action punching its claws in early on and never really releasing it’s grip with brisk pacing and succinct writing. The fighting, the battles, the duels - the author is singular in his writing where these are concerned. If you have not yet read a John Gwynne battle scene, then you are missing out on an exhibition of genius. A Time of Blood lives up to its name with numerous scenes that will have you holding your breath. There is a particular large scale battle at the end of this one though that is etched in my memory. With every moment impactful, gripping you in the tense life or death atmosphere accompanying the jarring of blades, axes, hammers; the bone-crunching confrontations, the eviscerating slices, bludgeonings, puncturing stabs and hair raising wails, the rending of flesh by ragged edged claw and razor sharp fang, howls and roars reverberating through the air, the dread of malicious, preternatural creatures approaching out of the murky, malevolent blackness. Every moment has been portrayed in exquisite, heart-stopping detail.I had this plan to take my time and savour the story, stretching out the experience as long as possible. As with the best laid plans though… I felt like I had hardly started before only a few pages were left in my hand, the end in sight, and the wait for the final book on the horizon. That is how it always goes with the very best books though, right? They tend to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you long to get a chance to read them, and then the time finally arrives, bringing the ineffable euphoria of visiting a world and characters you want to stay with forever. On the other hand you cannot help but inhale the tale, you want to know how this ends, the pages turned in the blink of an eye, the book done and that sad sense of longing for more returned.We are lovers of stories though. These may be our burdens, but they won't keep us away. When a Time of Courage arrives, I will be waiting in line with the rest of you.Truth and courage!Review for Book 1 - A Time of Dread
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  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    January 1, 1970
    A Time of Blood is aptly named. There are great moments of triumph but there are also some heavy losses taken in this book as well. Deceptions, alliances and betrayals, along with a great rising of Kadoshim against the Ben-Elim and the land of the faithful.I’ve found that in fantasy some of the best I’ve read have been because the author, through multiple PoVs is able to give you both sides of the story. John Gwynne does this easily by having multiple people relaying the story through their A Time of Blood is aptly named. There are great moments of triumph but there are also some heavy losses taken in this book as well. Deceptions, alliances and betrayals, along with a great rising of Kadoshim against the Ben-Elim and the land of the faithful.I’ve found that in fantasy some of the best I’ve read have been because the author, through multiple PoVs is able to give you both sides of the story. John Gwynne does this easily by having multiple people relaying the story through their eyes. While I enjoyed Drem, Riv and Bleda’s tellings of the story the new PoV of Fritha added some dimension to the fight of good against evil. Even though there really isn’t a wholly good side because the Ben-Elim seem just as corrupt in a slightly different way than the Kadoshim. Fritha is in deep with Kadoshim, who are trying to resurrect Asroth the Lord of the Kadoshim currently in a frozen state locked in the Ben-Elim stronghold. The lengths she is willing to go in this story to capture Drem and make her ghastly new creations are horrible and mind boggling but captivating and as much as I want her demise I’m also strangely drawn to her character. I enjoyed learning more about her motivations and while I’m not playing for her team, she makes a good, smart villain.Drem, that poor kid has learned and lost so much in a short time. He has gone from a mostly solitary life of trapping with his father to running from the Kadoshim with a small band of elite soldiers. This is a boy with a destiny and I’m not sure he will survive to the end of the series or go out in some blaze of glory. I love that with Gwynne’s writing you can’t be sure either way. As Drem travels to get word of the danger to the Order of the Bright Star he comes alone some creatures of tales and superstitions. Each battle is dynamic and entertaining.Riv and Bleda’s story is kind of intertwined in some ways. They are dwarn to each other and became friends in A Time of Dread. I for one was hoping that would eventually bloom into more in this book even though Bleda has an arranged marriage to someone else. They are a good team and I think long term can teach each other a lot. I had some suspicions about Riv when her wings busted through in the prior books and there was a lot of movement on that front. Even though I don’t like the Ben-Elim either I do think the direction they took in this book was a move in the right direction. Still Kol, new leader of the Ben-Elim is on my top ten list of people I’d like to die in this series. Bleda and Riv’s PoV each show us something different in the story. Riv lets us follow the happenings in the Ben-Elim inner circles while Bleda lets us know what is happening on the human front. As the threat draws nearer each with take bigger risks for the other and in so doing draw some lines in the sand that can never be taken back. “There is much in life that is beyond our control, events that sweep us up and along, actions that wrap us tight in their consequences. Stop raging about the things you cannot change. Just be true to yourself and do what you can do. Love those worth loving, and to the Otherworld with the rest of it. That is all any of us can do.” There is a lot of action leading up to the ending and Time of Blood is a very fitting title since there was a lot of it. This ended on a really dire kind of note and no one is safe leading into the next book. Gwynne has woven an intricate tale, with great world building and character development. We hit the ground running in this and so there isn’t much down time overall in the read. Another wonderful tale from Gwynne. I’m very curious about the prequel series and I’m excited to start it as soon as the last of the audios comes out. I think it will add even more depth to the series.
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  • Mili
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic sequel! Cullen and Drem are my favouritesss. Love their interaction and their personalities. I really enjoyed the intense moments in this book like my intense hate towards Kol . But also the moments of struggle/ fighting and surviving! And the shady forests with its creatures. The focus on animal companions is Gwynne his thing and I love it too .The book ends with a fitting cliffhanger. Can't believe we are back to A Time of Waiting ..'Every defeat is a lesson learned.'. Fantastic sequel! Cullen and Drem are my favouritesss. Love their interaction and their personalities. I really enjoyed the intense moments in this book like my intense hate towards Kol 😂. But also the moments of struggle/ fighting and surviving! And the shady forests 😍 with its creatures. The focus on animal companions is Gwynne his thing and I love it too 🤗.The book ends with a fitting cliffhanger. Can't believe we are back to A Time of Waiting 😂😭..'Every defeat is a lesson learned.'.
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  • James Islington
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent heroic fantasy – I really enjoyed A Time of Dread, but I think this book was even better. With the main characters already established, the story moves along at a terrific pace, with plenty of tension and rousing action to propel things forward. Character and plot development doesn’t fall by the wayside amidst it all, though, and by the end, everything’s set up beautifully for the final book.I still have The Faithful and the Fallen, which is the precursor series to this one, sitting on Excellent heroic fantasy – I really enjoyed A Time of Dread, but I think this book was even better. With the main characters already established, the story moves along at a terrific pace, with plenty of tension and rousing action to propel things forward. Character and plot development doesn’t fall by the wayside amidst it all, though, and by the end, everything’s set up beautifully for the final book.I still have The Faithful and the Fallen, which is the precursor series to this one, sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read – something I’m very much looking forward to doing, when time finally allows – but as with A Time of Dread, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on important information by reading this series first.A fantastic sequel, and the series is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys classic fantasy!
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  • Wol
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I haven't smoked in over a decade, but I could use a cigarette. Bloody good stuff. Review soon.
  • Caitlin
    January 1, 1970
    A Time of Blood is the second in the new series from John Gwynne. It picks up where the last left off, and let me tell you, it was SO great to be back in this world with these characters. Gwynne has not let me down yet, in all the years I've been reading his books, and I doubt he ever will. This book was amazing! The character development that continued from the last, it's so easy to really feel like you know everyone in the book. The tension surrounding them throughout the story just mounts as A Time of Blood is the second in the new series from John Gwynne. It picks up where the last left off, and let me tell you, it was SO great to be back in this world with these characters. Gwynne has not let me down yet, in all the years I've been reading his books, and I doubt he ever will. This book was amazing! The character development that continued from the last, it's so easy to really feel like you know everyone in the book. The tension surrounding them throughout the story just mounts as you progress, because you know no one is safe and you worry for all of them. The action sequences are forever exciting. I could read a whole book written by Gwynne where it's just one long fight, and I'd be so there for it. Yes, the characters are amazing and it's nice being attached to them, but he has such a way with words describing battles that I'd be okay with just that. Also, less stressful if it's one long fight and I'm less worried about favourites dying. Anyways, that's getting off topic. I find this series is much darker than The Faith and The Fallen, it was evident in Time of Dread, but Time of Blood really picks up with how dark it is. Again, constantly worried about all my favourites. Both The Faith and The Fallen, and Of Blood and Bone are series that I'm regularly recommending to fans of fantasy (and even some people that are adamantly anti-fantasy), and this just boosts why I recommend it. If you've not read this yet, I don't know what you're waiting for! If you haven't started the series yet, get out there and get going on it.
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  • Marielle
    January 1, 1970
    The title sums it up pretty well, blood is being spilled throughout the book and I loved it!John Gwynne can write about battles in a way that I see them in my minds eye and I can actually follow what is happening!Another fantastic book, can't wait for A Time Of Courage...
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  •  Charlie - A Reading Machine
    January 1, 1970
    Lets get the gushing out of the way first because it’s a bit embarrassing. I love Gwynne’s writing so much. The story and the characters remind me of the first books that I read that got me hooked on epic fantasy those classic stories of the light verses the dark. I sill love and often recommend my earlier reads like Gemmell, Crichton, Feist, Wurts and so many others but if I was speaking to a fantasy virgin this is the author and series I would recommend, 100% certain it would make them a fan Lets get the gushing out of the way first because it’s a bit embarrassing. I love Gwynne’s writing so much. The story and the characters remind me of the first books that I read that got me hooked on epic fantasy those classic stories of the light verses the dark. I sill love and often recommend my earlier reads like Gemmell, Crichton, Feist, Wurts and so many others but if I was speaking to a fantasy virgin this is the author and series I would recommend, 100% certain it would make them a fan for life and lead them onto all the other greats, new and old. Picking up one of his books is like being smothered in a warm blanket and knowing that I don’t have to move for several hours, often because when I pick up one of his books I wrap myself in a warm blanket and don’t move for several hours. It’s not entirely stress free though. Oh hell no.A Time of Blood is the second book in the Of Blood and Bone series and follows the descendants and colleagues of the heroes and villains of The Faithful and the Fallen set several hundred years before. It goes without saying you should not be reading this book or this review without at least picking up A Time of Dread the first book in this series. You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice to not read it first. This time the story is told from four point of views, Drem, Riv, Bleda and Fritha.Fritha, once a loyal White Wing, now the chosen future queen of Asaroth, is working her blood magic all over the place. Charged with tracking down the fugitives that Sig’s sacrifice allowed to escape, she and the half breed daughter of Gulla Lord of the Kadoshim, Morn are tracking Drem, Keld, Cullen, Hammer the bear and a few others as the make their way the Dun Seren. She’s like a deranged Willy Wonka mixing this and that together to make semi intelligent feral monsters and…and…no I wont ruin it, but trust me there is so much more. A hell of a lot of the blood that is shed in this book is by or because of Fritha and she is a pretty damn amazing villainess. Her feelings of betrayal because of the murder of her own half breed baby by her supposed gods make her real and sympathetic and the question of how she react to the Riv is a constant head scratcher.Speaking of Riv, she has discovered she is half human and half Ben Elim. Sprouting wings and being instantly marked for death tends to lead one down that path of extrapolation. Her existence exposes the lie that the two races have not intermingled and though the angelic sex hosts insist the gift of love is enough, the demand that any progeny be quietly destroyed is a bunch of shit and people are starting to realise it. Speaking of realisations Riv is about to discover her true parentage, the thrill of flying though the air and killing people whilst doing so and a man she has a deep and genuine love for. Go Riv.The relationship between Bleda of the Sirak Horse Clan and Jin of the Cheren Horse Clan continues to be full of conflict and doubt. Forcibly betrothed to each other by the Ben Elim in order to prevent them from going to war with other, it’s not the best way to start a loving partnership is it, Bleda is torn between his natural affection for Riv and his duty to his family and his clan’s future. Jin, imploring that he not shame her, spends much of the book on a knife edge where she doesn’t know whether to kiss her kill her future husband. I felt a lot of empathy for them both as the frustrations of their relationship and the impositions they face may have a fantastical context but they are very real and common.My favourites though are Cullen and Drem the respective heart and soul of the book. Drem, the socially awkward introvert whose honestly and goodness level is over 9000, carries with him the hope and dreams of peace and prosperity as well as the responsibility for providing it to others. Cullen approaches every situation with the intention of leading a vigorous and lusty life whilst he can. His skill on the battlefield is undeniable but it is his courage and spirit, his willingness to provoke a thousand year old giant and get beaten to the ground for it in the name of being a better fighter and the single charge at an unbeatable enemy that inspires his fellow soldiers that make him so enjoyable to read. After the first book I couldn’t help but think he was living on borrowed time so his journey though out this book was a constant source of intense excitement and horrific dread.The battle scenes are incredible and superbly written with each blow a devastating one. Everything flows so well. These are huge and hectic moments of warfare yet some how Gwynne makes the reader feel like they are both on the ground with the dog soldiers in the mud and blood and also soaring above the whole thing, being pulled to only the most meaningful and epic moments. It is breathtaking and one of the reasons he is a favourite. Another thing Gwynne has mastered is the ability of switching viewpoints at just at the right moment resulting in a book that never lets you take a breath and that you never want to put down. When the action gets going it means late sleepless nights eventually followed by dreams of winged demons, the perils of true love, giants riding bears, weapons of death glowing with the protection of ancient runes and other cool shit.I ‘ve already had the incredible privilege of reading some insanely good books this year that I would and have recommended to anyone who would listen. This might just be the best of the lot….so far. 10/10
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  • Maja Ingrid
    January 1, 1970
    The dead tell no lies5 STARSIt feeels sooooo good being back in the Banished Lands! My first reaction at reading the acknowledgement in the beginning, how John says Just How Suiting The Title Is For The Book, was: “John you’re a fucking sadist, I’m scared but also thirsty for blood LET’S DO THIIIIIIIS”(Dad called me earlier today to join him for a walk and I complained he stopped me at the end of the book and there was a battle and people there would be blood and very likely dead characters and The dead tell no lies5 STARSIt feeels sooooo good being back in the Banished Lands! My first reaction at reading the acknowledgement in the beginning, how John says Just How Suiting The Title Is For The Book, was: “John you’re a fucking sadist, I’m scared but also thirsty for blood LET’S DO THIIIIIIIS”(Dad called me earlier today to join him for a walk and I complained he stopped me at the end of the book and there was a battle and people there would be blood and very likely dead characters and he answered I said it with bit too much excitement)These two books so far has only had 4 different PoVs (if I remember right about Dread) which is really comfortable to handle, compared to the previous series which had a huge cast. New PoV in this book is Fritha. I adored reading from all of the perspectives. I have especially rooted for Drem, Cullen and for Riv. Fritha’s PoV was really exciting (view spoiler)[though I will NOT forgive her for Flick (hide spoiler)] and lots of fucked up stuff goes down in her chapters. For the next book I do hope we get to follow Cullen's perspective. I want to get inside that murderous, crazed head of his.This instalment picks up where Dread ended. It delivered everything I wanted: blood, action, battles. World building is great. Plot is great. Characters are so greatly written. The ending of the book was intense. I just wish these books were longer. Shit is about go down in next book and I need it like air!
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I'm going to start off by saying well done John Gwynne! You've done it again! 5-stars.Now, I've promised not to give anything away about the plot and I'll stand by that decision. Some years ago I was going through a pretty serious reading slump. I had finished reading all of the available books by David Eddings and by my then favourite author David Gemmell. I had tried a few books during that slump but had given up. Then I found a copy of Malice (Gwynne's 1st book) in a local charity shop. I had I'm going to start off by saying well done John Gwynne! You've done it again! 5-stars.Now, I've promised not to give anything away about the plot and I'll stand by that decision. Some years ago I was going through a pretty serious reading slump. I had finished reading all of the available books by David Eddings and by my then favourite author David Gemmell. I had tried a few books during that slump but had given up. Then I found a copy of Malice (Gwynne's 1st book) in a local charity shop. I had not heard of him before and I will admit that I was a little underwhelmed at the beginning, but then things started to happen and from there on I was hooked.I've said before that I like the layout of Gwynne's books. Short chapters dedicated to each of his characters by name. And it is his characterisation that got me so engrossed. Gemmell, and to a lesser extent Eddings used to have that happy knack of making you care about their characters and I put John Gwynne right up there with David Gemmell. Not only does he make you love his heroes, but he also makes you loathe his villains (and even care about them too).This is a book with a huge amount of combat in it. I know that Gwynne was (and still is) an enormous fan of Bernard Cornwell (which might explain this, as he writes some of the best battle scenes of all). It is clear that the weapons and armour have been well researched and you almost feel like you're weighed down by a heavy chain-mail shirt on the battlefield with the characters at times.It is not as clear-cut who the villains are as it was in the original series. Things have become more complex with the Ben-Elim and their Kadoshim foes. Which of the two warring tribes is worse? The Ben-Elim certainly have their faults and are far from being perfect. The Kadoshim are supposed to be the evil ones but the Ben-Elim are becoming twisted too. I think I shall end by saying that my favourite character is still Drem. I love the giants and the weird and wonderful creatures, but Drem is the most interesting character for me.TRUTH AND COURAGE!I look forward to reading book 3 next year. Thanks for reading
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I always say I wonder what happens next when a series I LOVED ends, and this fabulous author is making me sooo happy. When it started in “A Time Of Dread” I thought Woohoo back in the Banished lands for some more angst and agony! I know people say you can read the two separate series out of order (I totally wouldn’t be able too, I would go straight to the first book as soon as I knew I had picked up a sequel, much less a sequel series) But I just don’t think I can condone that with this series. I always say I wonder what happens next when a series I LOVED ends, and this fabulous author is making me sooo happy. When it started in “A Time Of Dread” I thought Woohoo back in the Banished lands for some more angst and agony! I know people say you can read the two separate series out of order (I totally wouldn’t be able too, I would go straight to the first book as soon as I knew I had picked up a sequel, much less a sequel series) But I just don’t think I can condone that with this series. I think the struggle and characters are so much richer when you have that first series under your belt. I knew a character was lying and I got all fired up, thinking hostile thoughts, and calling b.s. cuz I was there too! You know from the first series. If you don’t read it, you learn it, but you aren’t offended by it like I was. And then I felt all righteous when somebody slapped him down. That’s what I want from my books, to be sucked in and right there with the characters. Gwynne is a Master at that. This installment of the series had to move the story along and sometimes that bogs down the story. Nope, fresh surprises and more tidbits to strengthen the characters and the story to offset the fighting. These books are about struggle and strife and I enjoy the extremely well written fight scenes. Never a dull moment! With the end of ‘A Time of Blood’ I will be counting the days until I can read the final book in this series!
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  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY SHIT THAT WAS EPICI wasnt sure about the first book but this second book brought me around and I'm obsessed nowI cant freaking WAIT for the third book omg
  • RiyriaReads
    January 1, 1970
    John Gwynne's books never disappoint me. They are action packed from start to finish and I always feel connected to and invested in the fate of the characters. He even manages to make me empathize with characters whose actions are incredibly despicable. I enjoy every minute of it.
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  • Wayne
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars and then someAnother great story by the John Gwynne and a brilliant follow up to the first in this series.The world building is excellent just like in the first. You get a real sense of the mediaeval style world they live in and how everything hangs on a real knifes edge. It's also vivid and evokes strong feelings about what occurs in the story.The characters are really growing on me although I admit I long for mentions and Easter eggs concerning my favourites from the Faithful and the 5 stars and then someAnother great story by the John Gwynne and a brilliant follow up to the first in this series.The world building is excellent just like in the first. You get a real sense of the mediaeval style world they live in and how everything hangs on a real knifes edge. It's also vivid and evokes strong feelings about what occurs in the story.The characters are really growing on me although I admit I long for mentions and Easter eggs concerning my favourites from the Faithful and the Fallen books. The new ones are really growing on me though. Drem is really starting to find his feet as is Bleda. Riv though is my favourite. She's tough, loyal and very very fierce. I also like the way Fritha is being portrayed.The plot is excellent and well paced. There's action, intrigue and plenty of twists and turns. There's also a cliffhanger ending and it's a ripper.Another masterclass in how to write exciting interesting fantasy by an author at the top of his game. This series is fantastic and I highly recommend it
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  • Hannelore
    January 1, 1970
    Gwynne is a true artist of the genre. The only thing wrong with this book is I don't have the next one...that ending!
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