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Blood Sworn

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Three cultures clash in all out war--against each other and against the gods--in the second book of this fantasy duology that's sure to capture fans of The Hunger Games and An Ember in the Ashes. The Races are over. War has begun. Ashlord and Longhand armies battle for control of the Empire as Dividian rebels do their best to survive the crossfire. This is no longer a game. Three cultures clash in all out war--against each other and against the gods--in the second book of this fantasy duology that's sure to capture fans of The Hunger Games and An Ember in the Ashes. The Races are over. War has begun. Ashlord and Longhand armies battle for control of the Empire as Dividian rebels do their best to survive the crossfire. This is no longer a game. It's life or death. Adrian, Pippa, and Imelda each came out of the Races with questions about their role in the ongoing feud. The deeper they dig, the clearer it is that the hatred between their peoples has an origin point: the gods. Their secrets are long-buried, but one disgruntled deity is ready to unveil the truth. Every whisper leads back to the underworld. What are the gods hiding there? As the sands of the Empire shift, these heroes will do everything they can to aim their people at the true enemy. But is it already too late?


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Three cultures clash in all out war--against each other and against the gods--in the second book of this fantasy duology that's sure to capture fans of The Hunger Games and An Ember in the Ashes. The Races are over. War has begun. Ashlord and Longhand armies battle for control of the Empire as Dividian rebels do their best to survive the crossfire. This is no longer a game. Three cultures clash in all out war--against each other and against the gods--in the second book of this fantasy duology that's sure to capture fans of The Hunger Games and An Ember in the Ashes. The Races are over. War has begun. Ashlord and Longhand armies battle for control of the Empire as Dividian rebels do their best to survive the crossfire. This is no longer a game. It's life or death. Adrian, Pippa, and Imelda each came out of the Races with questions about their role in the ongoing feud. The deeper they dig, the clearer it is that the hatred between their peoples has an origin point: the gods. Their secrets are long-buried, but one disgruntled deity is ready to unveil the truth. Every whisper leads back to the underworld. What are the gods hiding there? As the sands of the Empire shift, these heroes will do everything they can to aim their people at the true enemy. But is it already too late?

30 review for Blood Sworn

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    3.5 Stars The cover gets a million stars as I love me some horses!! *Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children’s Books for a digital copy of this book. Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 3.5 Stars The cover gets a million stars as I love me some horses!! *Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children’s Books for a digital copy of this book. Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissasfandomworld

    I’m incredibly excited to get my hands on this 2nd installment and it's definitely going to be pre-ordered whenever I’m able to. Can’t wait to see how this story is going to continue and develop some more because Ashlords was such a great read!! Also can't wait to get a HC copy on the shelves with this stunning cover. It's maybe even more beautiful than the Ashlords cover. My inner fangirl is super stoked about that haha. Follow me here: my BLOG | my INSTAGRAM | my FACEBOOK | my TWITTER I’m incredibly excited to get my hands on this 2nd installment and it's definitely going to be pre-ordered whenever I’m able to. Can’t wait to see how this story is going to continue and develop some more because Ashlords was such a great read!! Also can't wait to get a HC copy on the shelves with this stunning cover. It's maybe even more beautiful than the Ashlords cover. My inner fangirl is super stoked about that haha. Follow me here: my BLOG | my INSTAGRAM | my FACEBOOK | my TWITTER

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Blood Sworn was so easy to devour once I got off of work today. I mean, I loved the first book and once my buddy said it was going to be a good book - I was ready. Like Spongebob. Not going to lie to any of you, I had SO many questions in the first 10 chapters. So freaking many and I actually got the answers that I needed. Not sure if I was hoping for them to go like that but I am a-okay with how it all went down. Even if i I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Blood Sworn was so easy to devour once I got off of work today. I mean, I loved the first book and once my buddy said it was going to be a good book - I was ready. Like Spongebob. Not going to lie to any of you, I had SO many questions in the first 10 chapters. So freaking many and I actually got the answers that I needed. Not sure if I was hoping for them to go like that but I am a-okay with how it all went down. Even if it was a little bittersweet for me. Now the characters - Imelda, Pippa, and Adrian - grew up a bit form the first book. With war against the gods being on their minds, I wasn't that shocked or surprised with that little fact. I just wasn't mentally prepared when I dove into the first 10 chapters. That's why I had so many questions. My love for these three grew so much while reading about their adventure. They were challenge constantly and underestimated by so many people. It was kind of amazing to see everything happening for them all and it just made me smile. In the end, I am so happy that I got to read both books in this duology from NetGalley and I can't wait to own both of these beautiful books.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Sledge

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Bloodsworn follows a few months after the end of Ashlords. We follow Pippa, now an Ashlords general in the war against the Longhands who are lead by Adrian. Imelda, having escaped the races into the mountains with the rebels, is brewing her own form of revolution to free the Dividians from the Ashlords rule. When new truths come to light showing that the true enemies come from another realm altogether, will the Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Bloodsworn follows a few months after the end of Ashlords. We follow Pippa, now an Ashlords general in the war against the Longhands who are lead by Adrian. Imelda, having escaped the races into the mountains with the rebels, is brewing her own form of revolution to free the Dividians from the Ashlords rule. When new truths come to light showing that the true enemies come from another realm altogether, will these three leaders from different peoples be able to reveal the truth and bring peace to their land, or will it all end the Ashlords way "In Fire and Blood"? Guyyyys. These books are a true work of art. I'm so upset that this is only a Duology and now it's over! The world the author gifted us with has everything you could ask for. Magic, Gods, Horses!!, Revolution, politics, love, hate, bred heroes, unknowing heroes, ghosts....I could go on and on. Pippa is such a deep character who wears many masks. Even when we think we know her plan she flips the script and leaves us agast in the dust of her plans. Adrian really comes into his own this novel as a leader. He steps out of the role that his Daddy convinced him he was meant to die for. Imelda continues to be the pushing force for the Dividians and their chance to step out from under the Ashlords boots. I don't want to give too much away as I want everyone to be as shocked as I was, but the Gods are much more present in this novel and I ate up every chapter with them. The pantheon is original and refreshing compared to Gods you see so often in fantasy novels. The pacing is at a breakneck speed, and every chapter leaves you salavating for more. Five stars for both novels in this series, you won't be disappointed in this Duology. Anyone 12+ will delve in and only come up for air when absolutely necessary. I can only hope the author will revisit this realm eventually, even if it's with a new set of characters. Grab your copy and get ready to be rocked in the best ways.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    I loved the first book in this duology so I was excited to jump into the sequel. The three main characters are so different, they come from different backgrounds and have their own agendas. Rotating between their points of view helped keep the story moving while giving a full picture of the plot. The world the author created is so interesting, the gods and their origins, the phoenix horses, and some other creatures we meet in this book. We got to explore the world of the gods in this one and lea I loved the first book in this duology so I was excited to jump into the sequel. The three main characters are so different, they come from different backgrounds and have their own agendas. Rotating between their points of view helped keep the story moving while giving a full picture of the plot. The world the author created is so interesting, the gods and their origins, the phoenix horses, and some other creatures we meet in this book. We got to explore the world of the gods in this one and learned more backstory of how the gods became part of the human world. There's also a lot of action, fighting, and some nice romance too. Imelda is my favorite, she's so smart in alchemy and figuring things out and her relationship with Bastian is pretty cute. I enjoyed seeing her with the phoenix horses and how she's able to think on her feet. Pippa and Adrian are fighters, they both lead armies trying to destroy the other, but there are feelings there and they both are able to see the big picture and what would be best for their people. The pacing in this is great, I loved the reveals and plot twists, and thought the ending wrapped up really nicely. What a fun series to read! I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  6. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this young adult fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . To those new to the crew, ye should know that horses were me first love before the sea stole me heart.  So obviously I wanted to read this series about magical horses, known as phoenixes.  Basically these horses were gifts from the gods, are powered by the sun, and last a day before bursting into flames and turning into ashes.  The riders save the as Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this young adult fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . To those new to the crew, ye should know that horses were me first love before the sea stole me heart.  So obviously I wanted to read this series about magical horses, known as phoenixes.  Basically these horses were gifts from the gods, are powered by the sun, and last a day before bursting into flames and turning into ashes.  The riders save the ashes and when they are set back out in the rising sun, the phoenix horse is reborn.  Of course there be a catch.  If ye mix certain chemicals into the ashes, the phoenix's properties can change.  They can become faster, grow armor, etc.  Cool. This is the second book of a duology.  War is at hand and the three classes - ruling Ashlords, middle class Longhorns, and Dividians at the bottom wait to see who is going to get the upper hand.  But it seems like the Gods are also at war and the consequences are interesting and unexpected. This story continues with the three points of view - one from each of the three classes.  One thing to note about the points of view are that they change tenses: third person, first person, second person present tense.  Ashlord Pippa and Longhorn Adrian are at opposite sides of the conflict.  Imelda continues to be the surprising wildcard.  Like in the first book, I liked the two girls but found Adrian to be rather bland. Unlike the first book, the phoenix horses do not play much of a real part in the plot.  I missed them.  The tone and focus of this book was completely different to book one.  It sometimes felt like another world altogether.  I did think the pacing was a bit off and the book could have had some restructuring or trimming to strength it.  I did, however, enjoy the better understanding of how the gods worked and did not expect the plot to go in the direction it did.  I would have liked more focus on the specifics of each god.  I was glad that the romance aspects were very lightly done. Though I wasn't thrilled with the rebellion aspect of this book, I am glad I finished the duology.  I just wish the phoenix horses had played as much of a part in this book as they did in the first.  Arrrr! So lastly . . . Thank you Crown Books for Young Readers!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* NetGalley *Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* Blood Sworn, by author Scott Reintgen, is the second and final installment in the authors Ashlords duology. The Scorpio Races are over. A winner has been chosen. A war is here. A fight against the gods themselves to determine who will control the world—and the underworld, is at hand. This story is a page turner featuring three main characters: Imelda Beru, Pippa, and Adrian Ford. Each represents a different faction of people wh *Source* NetGalley *Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* Blood Sworn, by author Scott Reintgen, is the second and final installment in the authors Ashlords duology. The Scorpio Races are over. A winner has been chosen. A war is here. A fight against the gods themselves to determine who will control the world—and the underworld, is at hand. This story is a page turner featuring three main characters: Imelda Beru, Pippa, and Adrian Ford. Each represents a different faction of people who live in this world. Dividians, Ashlords, and Longhands. Each chapter features one of the three main characters. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Rideout

    I was granted complimentary ARC access at Blood Sworn via NetGalley as part of my participation in the blog tour for this title with TBR & Beyond, but when I discovered that my review date for the tour was slightly after publication and I had a couple of long reads right before this date on my tour posting schedule, I elected to wait and use an Audible credit to let the narrators read it to me after release day. Thank you to all involved in granting me access to the ARC anyway! My thoughts are m I was granted complimentary ARC access at Blood Sworn via NetGalley as part of my participation in the blog tour for this title with TBR & Beyond, but when I discovered that my review date for the tour was slightly after publication and I had a couple of long reads right before this date on my tour posting schedule, I elected to wait and use an Audible credit to let the narrators read it to me after release day. Thank you to all involved in granting me access to the ARC anyway! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest. Blog tour post: https://www.westveilpublishing.com/?p... When I received the email inviting me to apply for this tour, I didn't know anything about Scott Reintgen or the Ashlords duology, but I saw a gorgeous Friesian-looking horse and a genre label of fantasy and had to check it out. I was hesitant to apply knowing it was a second book and that the tour would not be providing the first, but fortunately a library I have access to through Libby had both ebook and audiobook licenses of Ashlords, the first book, available. I flew through my listening experience of Ashlords, rated it 5 stars with a rave review, and shamelessly begged to be granted a spot on the tour on whatever date was available in the comment box at the end of the application form. I had to know how this story concluded, and as a book blogger, I wanted to share my love for this story with a wide audience. Now that I have experienced Blood Sworn I can confidently say that I am not disappointed in the least, Reintgen has does it again, and I give the whole duilogy 5 stars! If you have not yet read book one, Ashlords, keep in mind that I cannot possibly give an adequate review of Blood Sworn without mentioning things that could be considered spoilers for Ashlords. If you don't want Ashlords spoiler for you, stop at this paragraph and know that I highly recommend this duology to all fans of high fantasy, fantasy adventure, YA overthrow the dystopia storylines, or "anything with frequent horses." Blood Sworn picks up right where Ashlords left off and continues with the three POVs: Pippa, Imelda, and Adrian. Imelda and Adrian POV chapters continue to be presented in third-person and Pippa's in second-person. In the audiobook edition, the same narrators who voice these characters in Ashlords have reprised their roles. In short: Everything to do with narrative voice and literal narration remains unchanged from book one. Overall very good choices there, why change what worked so well? My only potential critique is that by making just one POV written in second person the reader is forced into that role, forced to be from the Ashlord society, and by this point in the story we're already quite sympathetic to the other factions, so this POV trick doesn't hold the same weight anymore. Either way, I'm used to it by now and I barely took notice when Pippa's parts switched from she to you. Adrian is reunited with his father and takes his intended place leading their army against the Ashlords. Imelda's newfound tribe of rebels wastes no time in joining in on the battle, while not necessarily joining up. Pippa takes up the helm as a general for the Ashlords. The god who had a hand in changing fortunes during the race is still here too, and still working to tip the scales in favour of whoever promises the best sacrifices. Early on in this new war, however, the god's meddling begins to have the unintended effect of bringing Pippa and Adrian together in more, uh, "friendly" means, and all three young leaders begin to spend time in the underworld. What awaits them there is a long-forgotten secret about the nature of the Ashlord gods, and with this answer comes the potential for a lasting end to war in their world if they can set their sights on their true enemy. This book is full of surprises! Every time you figure something out, something you weren't even watching for pops up and presents a new puzzle. Just like the first book, Blood Sworn was absolutely impossible to put down. This is a thrilling magical adventure that demands to be read in one sitting, so prepare to devote your whole day to this book or prepare for distraction as your count the hours until you can get back to it. One thing I very much appreciate about Reintgen's writing style is that there's just enough description to know what's going on, but the description gets out of the way and lets the plot march on. Not a single paragraph is dull or dry. There are no signs of world-builder's disease here. We can picture a desert-like country as the setting, we understand that the phoenixes look like normal horses, but work like mythical phoenixes with nightly rebirths, we get to know as much as we need to know about the alchemy of blending minerals into phoenix ashes to influence what the next phoenix looks or acts like, and we have broad strokes descriptions for our three main characters. That's really all we need to know. There isn't so little description that we end up with talking heads or generic horses running through nothingness, but the reader is left to imagine a lot of the finer details, and that's how I like to read. Inspire my mind's eye director, but let me do the mental casting. I do like the resolution this book comes to, though I feel like the way the winning side establishes their new rules for society was handled a little too quickly and with a slightly rosy tint. It's a very appropriate YA ending, but this story had the potential to go in so many directions I guess I was hoping for either a grittier ending or one that left some strings untied. I would also like to say that while this works extremely well as a self-contained duology and I'm not going to sit here and pointlessly wish for a continuation of the series, I would be absolutely delighted to get a short story, article, novella, whatever deep-diving on these phoenix horses. I want the history, I want training tips, I want anecdotes about famous phoenixes, and I want to know more about how having access to a magical beast of burdon affects the development of a society. That's really the only aspect of these books that I felt needed more description, more world-builder's info dumps, and I expect most horse lovers in the audience will too. Overall both this book and the duology as a set have been an absolute pleasure to experience, and I'll definitely return to these for re-reads just for fun in the future. They're new favourites, and I want everyone to know that they're absolutely worth reading!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharelle Don Larsen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ~Netgalley gave me an ebook copy in exchange for an honest review~ "We danced the moon into coming out, the stars into shining. We danced to welcome a whole new world into existence. It is a song that no one can take from us now." 5⭐ Bloodsworn is such a fast paced, mesmerizing and invigorating story! It picks up right after Ashlords and is simply underappreciated. I found this tale to be a breath of fresh air in the fantasy genre. The magic systems and world building aren't complicated, but still ~Netgalley gave me an ebook copy in exchange for an honest review~ "We danced the moon into coming out, the stars into shining. We danced to welcome a whole new world into existence. It is a song that no one can take from us now." 5⭐ Bloodsworn is such a fast paced, mesmerizing and invigorating story! It picks up right after Ashlords and is simply underappreciated. I found this tale to be a breath of fresh air in the fantasy genre. The magic systems and world building aren't complicated, but still intriguing. The politics and rebellion are everything and the way Scott Reintgen changed the game and flipped the script had me yelling "oh sh!t" right in the middle of this book! I thoroughly enjoyed this duology and wish more people would read it. I'll definitely have to read Scott's other books! Also I really loved the very last chapter when Pippa starts to finally drop the facade and speak in 1st person. It was such a beautiful tie in to her character. It drove me nuts that she spoke in 2nd person, but that last chapter undid me in the best way! Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan - H&WR

    DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. EXPECTED FEBRUARY 16TH, 2021 3 STARS The Races are over, but the war is only just unfolding. At the end of Ashlords, Imelda Beru upended the Races by escaping the course and allying herself with the rebels, while Adrian Ford and the Ashlord Races darling Pippa went their separate ways following Pippa’s victory. Now, with Blood Sworn, the war is in full swing, Ashlords versus Longhands versus Dividians, DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. EXPECTED FEBRUARY 16TH, 2021 3 STARS The Races are over, but the war is only just unfolding. At the end of Ashlords, Imelda Beru upended the Races by escaping the course and allying herself with the rebels, while Adrian Ford and the Ashlord Races darling Pippa went their separate ways following Pippa’s victory. Now, with Blood Sworn, the war is in full swing, Ashlords versus Longhands versus Dividians, all vying for the chance to reshape and rule the world they burn through. But there are other forces in play, forces with their own stake in controlling the outcome of the war, and it will require everyone’s strengths to change the tides of war, to even survive. “No one ever really wins these wars we fight. Except the gods.” This is the thing that kept me attached to Ashlords: the gods were a threat during the Races, an ominous, almost omniscient sort of power, and you could sense they were up to no good. But now, in Blood Sworn, they’re an active enemy, sometimes a reluctant ally, and they’re one of the most towering obstacles the main characters face. And who am I, really, to turn my nose up at a book about knocking the gods down a few pegs? I’ll admit it: mortals triumphing over supposed immortals is a particular favorite trope of mine because it just drips with satisfaction when done right! Plus, in this case, it allows our protagonists to showcase their individual skills. Pippa’s ability to plan three steps ahead shines (especially thanks to her unusual second person POV, which sets up a brilliant plot device), while Adrian excels in his budding leadership skills. And Imelda, my favorite, finds her stride with ancient alchemy and a hint of magic, proving herself perhaps the smartest of them all. It’s a great way to bring former enemies together onto the same side, and it came with some deeply satisfying character victories. Pacing, though, suffers during the war. Not patience, mind you. Pacing. It’s the major fault of Blood Sworn, and the reason I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Ashlords. The Races were fast. They were angry and twisty, and the outcome was uncertain until the very last second. And even more than that, they defied all expectations, never letting the reader grow too comfortable in their assumptions. The breakneck pace suited the story, and made for a roaring ride. Without the Races, though, speed suffers. The plot takes far too long to set up, or even to wind down. Sure, I think most of the scenes feel pretty critical to the plot, and cutting them would make a mess, but I can’t help but wonder if there might have been ways to tighten it all up. Ages spent watching Pippa fake her way through the treacherous Ashlord leadership weren’t especially interesting, not when I wanted to know what she was actually planning. Or it’s another battle for Adrian Ford, one that doesn’t really bring us closer to a resolution just yet, even though it teaches him a valuable lesson. The ending was a particular sort of strain because of this. As fascinated as I was to see a book actually tackle the topic of reparations for long-standing systems of violence, it dragged. I wanted it to be over. I wanted to see what happened to these characters who finally stood together when it mattered at last. What I didn’t want was a slow motion walkthrough of the changes unfurling. And perhaps of less weighty significance, though irritating to me, was the amount of time it took Imelda and Bastian to fall in love. I get that the book happens over quite some time, but Imelda seems to me like the kind of girl whose affection absolutely must be earned, and Bastian…just wasn’t around a lot to earn it? Cool, he’s a rebel leader and he’s at least a little suave. But to say on page she’s in love with him already? Wow, okay, maybe cool your jets a little. Or a lot. Some people will love how this story ends, and some people are going to walk away disappointed. That’s true of every book, but it always feels the most true about books I give a middling rating to. Blood Sworn isn’t bad. In fact, it’s an awesome concept with cool characters, neat tropes, and even some plot approaches that pleasantly surprised me. But it also suffering from atrocious, frustrating pacing that I couldn’t overlook, especially in the wake of Ashlords. If it’s on your TBR and there to stay, though, good news! It’s out tomorrow, February 16th, so you don’t have to wait long to find out how Imelda, Adrian, and Pippa square off with the powers that be! And yes, there are still some pretty cool phoenix horses, including some new variants any fan of Ashlords will be thrilled to see. 🐎🔥 CW: violence, suicide, loss of a loved one, nudity, body horror, slavery, gore

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This a was awesome. I wasn't sure how this was going to play out after Ashlords ended. Ashlords was more focused on the races, where this is focused on the aftermath and the political unrest that was hinted at in the first book. Much like in Ashlords the story is told from the perspectives of Pippa, Adrian, and Imelda who each have an important role to play. War has been brewing for a very long time between the Ashlords and the Longhands wit I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This a was awesome. I wasn't sure how this was going to play out after Ashlords ended. Ashlords was more focused on the races, where this is focused on the aftermath and the political unrest that was hinted at in the first book. Much like in Ashlords the story is told from the perspectives of Pippa, Adrian, and Imelda who each have an important role to play. War has been brewing for a very long time between the Ashlords and the Longhands with the Dividians caught in the crossfire. Our three leads learn the many secrets of the long standing hatred between their people in an unexpected place, the underworld and home of the gods. As they learn more, they uncover the solution to ending the war between their people for good. I really love this series. Our three main characters are faced with alot and they quickly have to grow into leader and guide their people to victory whether they want to or not. They have to unravel the clues that are left for them in order to build a better world for their people. We do get quite a bit of character development from each of the, but I loved Pippa's transformation the most. Her persona from the beginning of book one to the end of book two was awesome and unexpected. Unlike in book one we don't get as much of the alchemy and phoenixes. The phoenixes are still a part of the story, but their rebirths and the alchemy surrounding their abilities isn't discussed in much detail in this installment. The focus is on the action of the characters and the strategies they are developing and the decisions they are making in the course of the war. I feel that is worth mentioning because it is a bit of a different focus from the first book. It also slows down the pace a bit because there is lots of strategizing and discussion vs action. There are some great action scenes in this, but it isn't the same as the fast paced action as in the race. Overall I loved this duology and can't wait to see what the author has in store for us next. His books are so creative and unique! This is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, An Ember in the Ashes, and other darker or dystopian YA.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissasfandomworld

    4,5 stars! --- "We danced the moon into coming out, the stars into shining. We danced to welcome a whole new world into existence. It is a song that no one can take from us now." Wow, this was such a super fast paced, entertaining and above all: a refreshing/renewing read that surprised me in the best way possible! The basics of the world, the writing, the characters and story-line is just as awesome as it all was in Ashlords, but the author managed to bring us a renewing 2nd installment, and t 4,5 stars! --- "We danced the moon into coming out, the stars into shining. We danced to welcome a whole new world into existence. It is a song that no one can take from us now." Wow, this was such a super fast paced, entertaining and above all: a refreshing/renewing read that surprised me in the best way possible! The basics of the world, the writing, the characters and story-line is just as awesome as it all was in Ashlords, but the author managed to bring us a renewing 2nd installment, and taking things up to the next level, which was a magnificent surprise! All that I fell in love with in Ashlords was present, but then there's a great amount of 'newness' added to the mix story-wise that I truly wasn't expecting to get (don't want to spoil so I'll remain superficial here haha) and I couldn't get enough of it! I'm a bit sad it's just a duology and that it's all over now... I seldom come across a follow up book that is able to surprise me in such a good way. This book was mostly everything I was hoping for to get beforehand; action, more in depth development, being able to see more of this fictional world and good/strong/solid character development. If you've loved Ashlords, you're in for a treat with Bloodsworn! Be ready to be amazed and above all: Enjoyyyyy, because this epic journey is over before you know it seeing it's super fast paced! I buddy-read Ashlords last year with my friend Marylon, and we decided to buddy-read Bloodsworn as well which made this experience all the more fun! It's great to talk about the book in between reading-shifts and discuss together about what's all happening!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen (thefictioncorner)

    3.5 Blood Sworn begins a few months after the end of Ashlords. The war that the Longhands wanted is happening. Imelda along with the other Dividians are forming their own troops to fight for their own revolution. Adrian is leading his own troops against Pippa's. As the war carries on, a secret the Ashlords have been hiding comes to light and instead of giving them answers, it serves only to bring more questions. I think the concept of the gods and the phoenixes are really interesting and I wish th 3.5 Blood Sworn begins a few months after the end of Ashlords. The war that the Longhands wanted is happening. Imelda along with the other Dividians are forming their own troops to fight for their own revolution. Adrian is leading his own troops against Pippa's. As the war carries on, a secret the Ashlords have been hiding comes to light and instead of giving them answers, it serves only to bring more questions. I think the concept of the gods and the phoenixes are really interesting and I wish that that was the main focus of this book. However, it really focused on the three main characters Adrian, Pippa, and Imelda. While I don't think they're necessarily dull or boring characters, I couldn't help but feel like I didn't want to keep reading Adrian and Pippa's perspectives. I really liked Imelda's perspective because it did delve a little more into the behind the scenes and showed more of the gears on how the gods worked. I think it was really cliche to have Adrian and Pippa fall for each other. I would have preferred to see a different relationship form between two different people. Back to the concept of the gods. It was so interesting to see how the gods had convinced the humans that they had no power over them, but as the story progressed, we see that that was a complete lie. The folklore and the past relationships between the gods and the humans was what really kept me going in this book. I thought the most interesting god was the Butcher and his collection of dead humans and animals from the different centuries that he lived through. I received a copy from Crown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole (FearYourEx)

    5/5 stars Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the early e-galley. I read Ashlords as an ARC and fell in love with the story and the idea of the horses. The rave in the first book was a huge source for action and tension in the book, so I wasn't sure how fast paced Blood Sworn would be. Scott Reintgen definitely managed to deliver another fast paced book. In the first book the idea of rebellion and war is barely on the table, but in this book war is the main force behind everything until o 5/5 stars Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the early e-galley. I read Ashlords as an ARC and fell in love with the story and the idea of the horses. The rave in the first book was a huge source for action and tension in the book, so I wasn't sure how fast paced Blood Sworn would be. Scott Reintgen definitely managed to deliver another fast paced book. In the first book the idea of rebellion and war is barely on the table, but in this book war is the main force behind everything until our main characters Imelda, Pippa, and Adrian work to change the world. I didn't see the turn this book had coming or the ending. I honestly still haven't read the synopsis but this was an ending I'm 100% happy with.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Blood Sworn is the second book in the Ashlords duology and friends, it did not disappoint. It starts shortly after the first book in a world at war. I loved diving deeper into each of these characters and see their stories becoming increasingly intertwined. We get a lot of backstory on the gods which was super interesting. There was a twist that was absolutely fantastic and overall my hopeful idealistic heart is so happy. This is incredible YA fantasy with so much heart and nuanced with commenta Blood Sworn is the second book in the Ashlords duology and friends, it did not disappoint. It starts shortly after the first book in a world at war. I loved diving deeper into each of these characters and see their stories becoming increasingly intertwined. We get a lot of backstory on the gods which was super interesting. There was a twist that was absolutely fantastic and overall my hopeful idealistic heart is so happy. This is incredible YA fantasy with so much heart and nuanced with commentary on our world today. Be last half was binge worthy. Totally satisfying conclusion yet I don't want to leave. 💜 Full RTC

  16. 4 out of 5

    CR

    I loved the first book in this series and was excited when this one was approved. This cover is so gorgeous and the story was even better than book one. I enjoyed the round robin flow of the POVs it really worked with the pacing of the story. I loved all the backstory that we got in this one and the characters shine even more. I loved every page and I wished it was going to be more than just two books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    August

    I love Scott Reintgen’s books. Nyxia is an all time favorite, and I loved the first Ashlords book. This book was very good, and creative, and well-written. Unfortunately, my expectations were sky-high based on the other books so I think this one just fell a tiny bit short for me. It was still quite good, but it didn’t have the same “oh my god must read” that the other books have. It is still a SOLID 4 stars and I still recommend anything Reintgen writes to anyone!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle

    Bloodsworn // by Scott Reintgen When I first saw this cover on NetGalley, I knew I had to read the book. I mean, I didn't really have a choice of course. I was THRILLED when my request was approved and promptly used it to buy the first book of the series, which has a cover that is just as amazing. I can't wait to eventually have both of these on my shelves. I already said it in my review for Ashlords but I have really struggled with YA books this year so while I was very excited about reading this Bloodsworn // by Scott Reintgen When I first saw this cover on NetGalley, I knew I had to read the book. I mean, I didn't really have a choice of course. I was THRILLED when my request was approved and promptly used it to buy the first book of the series, which has a cover that is just as amazing. I can't wait to eventually have both of these on my shelves. I already said it in my review for Ashlords but I have really struggled with YA books this year so while I was very excited about reading this series, I was also a little nervous as well that maybe my expectation were a bit too high going in. Thankfully that was not true at all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both books and having them available back-to-back was a great plus. Neither one is extremely long, which made for a few fun low-stress days. While I generally like sweeping epics with highly detailed descriptions, it was also a nice breath of air to not have that in this series. Just like book 1, Bloodsworn was packed full with action. There was enough description to easily be able to picture the worlds above and below, but not enough to slow you down and keep you in one spot for too long. Most of the chapters are relatively short, which has you feeling like you're moving at a crisp pace as well. This is not to say that anything feels rushed but rather that this is a book that has constant movement and never leaves you yearning for more action. While there was not a whole lot more that we learned about the magical system, we did get to see a few more applications of it that were really fun. It did surprise me that sometimes the opposing side was surprised and unprepared for certain attacks as you would think that after having phoenix horses for multiple generations, their utilization would be more studied and prepared for. But overall, the battles were still interesting and fun. While sometimes situations seemed a bit too easy to get through, once you think about it more deeply, it does work well with the history of the populations to work out the way it does. The multiple point of views continued the same way as in book 1 and I thoroughly enjoyed the cleverness of the author in this later on. While I struggled a bit with the 2nd person POV in book 1, it really ended up growing on me and I did not have any issues at all with it this time. I loved being able to see the war from each characters' view, especially once things got a little more heated and delicate. Several times did I find myself doubting what I was reading because I couldn't fathom the characters acting a certain way but eventually, everything came together perfectly. I am impressed at how well Reintgen played the characters off each other and kept me guessing throughout again and again. While I personally would have loved to find out much more about this world and especially the phoenix horses, this series is a solid 4 star read for me. I find this a fun read for adults and also very appropriate for YA readers as it has some great themes that can encourage great conversations. I'm not a huge fan of perfect endings and love that this one leaves room for imagination and growth for its characters. Since this is a duology and we won't hear how the characters fare beyond the ending, it does show that things don't always have to be perfect down to the last little detail to be better than before. Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julie Jaeger

    Action packed! Great end to the duology.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Inkslinger

    ARC provided by Random House Children's/Crown Books for Young Readers and Scott Reintgen via TBR and Beyond Tours. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub 02-22: 'Bloodsworn' by Scott Reintgen is book two in the Ashlords duology, a story about the war between three cultures and their rise against the gods themselves. Struggling for control of the Empire, the two strongest factions.. the Ashlords and the Longhands strike each other's strongholds in a ARC provided by Random House Children's/Crown Books for Young Readers and Scott Reintgen via TBR and Beyond Tours. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub 02-22: 'Bloodsworn' by Scott Reintgen is book two in the Ashlords duology, a story about the war between three cultures and their rise against the gods themselves. Struggling for control of the Empire, the two strongest factions.. the Ashlords and the Longhands strike each other's strongholds in a life or death game of chess, while the Dividian rebels are just trying to survive the collisions. Three leaders, Adrian.. Pippa.. and Imelda, emerged from the Races with changed perspectives and a lot of questions. As they unearth the truth of their origins, it becomes apparent that the hatred which drives them to war.. begins with the gods. Though the details of the rise and fall of their people are secreted away, one dissatisfied god shows a willingness to share the history of their roots. With every sign leading back to the underworld.. how far must they go to learn what the gods don't want them to know? I don't know why I wasn't moved to pick up 'Ashlords' last year when it was released. Looking back and glancing over the synopsis again, I can only say that the synopsis leaned heavily into the phoenix horses.. without really giving me a reason to care about the Races themselves.. and the comparisons given were books I wasn't familiar with. Books I still haven't read, if I'm being honest. Though.. if they're anything like this.. that's going to need to change. Since I hadn't read book one when I began this title, the early pages for me were spent getting my bearings in their world. Immediately the story felt immense to me. I don't mean to say it felt long or particularly dense. It's that there was a weightiness to what was being delivered that made this story feel uniquely important. Told through a constantly shifting multiple POV narrative, the result is a story that feels almost as if it's being told in concentric circles.. starting from the outermost ring and rippling ever inward. Of course, in reality.. it's the tale of three fated paths set on a trajectory toward one final explosive point of battle. Initially, I started out kind of coolly distant from the characters, but I quickly became devoted to each groups' story. The three leaders only seem to want good things for their people, with most under the impression the others are deserving of distrust and hatred. But the truth is never as simple as we think it is and that's certainly not the case here. There are a lot of pieces on the proverbial board in this fast-moving, page-turning story of what could be redemption for someone.. only if everything falls into place. I found myself deeply attached to members of each group of soldiers, which left me in a perpetual state of worry for their safety. Reintgen's world-building is top notch. Where many might struggle to flesh out a detailed fantasy setting so clear the reader can see it in the mind's eye.. this author flexed on us by doing it twice in the same book. Each world and likewise, each character he focuses on within those places, distinctive enough we could pick them out with just a few words. The phoenix horses themselves, sound so much simpler than they really are.. and it's this magic especially that I loved as I came to understand how they work. Just as with the world and character development, the magic system is richly layered. Between the source of the power and the way it's used, creating magical sub-structures, I feel like he accomplished in (for me.. one book).. what might take a less skilled writer.. a several book series. Do yourself a favor and read these books. If you don't, like me.. you'll be kicking yourself later. PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSAMILLION | GOOGLEPLAY BOOKS | INDIEBOUND | INDIGO | KOBO

  21. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I first discovered Scott Reintgen when the first Nyxia book was announced, which I wanted to read not only because it sounded awesome but because I knew he was a North Carolina writer and I always want to support my home state authors. I absolutely loved the Nyxia trilogy (see my tour post + review for Book 2 here), and as I said in my review for Nyxia Unleashed, “I have a feeling he’s THE teacher in whose class all the kids want to end up! And he is now an author whose work I will always follow I first discovered Scott Reintgen when the first Nyxia book was announced, which I wanted to read not only because it sounded awesome but because I knew he was a North Carolina writer and I always want to support my home state authors. I absolutely loved the Nyxia trilogy (see my tour post + review for Book 2 here), and as I said in my review for Nyxia Unleashed, “I have a feeling he’s THE teacher in whose class all the kids want to end up! And he is now an author whose work I will always follow.” And follow I have! While I have not yet read Scott’s middle grade Talespinners series, I’ve read all of his YA books and absolutely love his writing. While the ideas behind both the Nyxia trilogy and the Ashlords duology are creative and unique and so much fun, I think that his characters are the absolute best part of his books. His history of teaching creative writing and ELA to high school students informs every book he writes, in that he writes stories specifically so that his students can see *themselves* in these books. Again, as I noted in my review for Nyxia Unleashed, “I love knowing that Scott honored his students by creating characters that are representations of their personalities, their histories, their struggles, and their triumphs.” His characters are diverse in race, sex, personality, history, and thought, and I have loved them all. I actually hadn’t yet had a chance to read Ashlords last year, so I binged Ashlords and Bloodsworn for this tour, and what a blast I had. Ashlords focuses on the awesome phoenix horses and the Races, with hints of the political intrigue and history of the Empire, its peoples, and its gods, while Bloodsworn takes us straight into that political intrigue and the war for the right to control the Empire. The Ashlords are trying to defend their role at the top and quell rebellion from the Longhands, the Longhands are trying to overthrow Ashlord rule, and the Dividians are trying to both avoid the crossfire and also hopefully carve out a place in the world that doesn’t keep them oppressed. We meet new characters (hello, Bastian!), learn much more about the Empire’s gods, and follow our three main characters into battles and even into the Underworld. Soon Pippa, Adrian, and Imelda find themselves working together toward an attempt to burn down the world they each inhabit and build back something better. I love the message behind Bloodsworn: that we can and should throw off even centuries of tradition, confront and acknowledge the parts of our history that are bad, and work together as a united front to build a world of true equality. It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary work, and we can each do our part to make something better. I hope that even if you pick up Bloodsworn just for the story, you’ll also pay attention to that underlying message and take some hope from it. I think it is a message we sorely need right now. Before I end, I’d just like to say while I loved this series as a duology, I am *all about* a prequel story to learn about Bastian’s history and a companion story to learn about Farian’s future, please and thank you :) Rating: 5 stars! **Disclosure: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This review is voluntary on my part and reflects my honest rating and review of the book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ana-Maria D.A

    ◦ I've received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ◦ “His grins widens a little. Half the time I want to kiss him. The other half I’m tempted to kick him in the shins. Sometimes I want to do both.“ The races just ended and the war begun. Ashlords, Longhands and Dividians each one of them are battling their own war. Ashlords and Loghands battle for the control of the Empire, while the Dividians are caught in the middle and trying their best to survive the crossfire. After the race ◦ I've received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ◦ “His grins widens a little. Half the time I want to kiss him. The other half I’m tempted to kick him in the shins. Sometimes I want to do both.“ The races just ended and the war begun. Ashlords, Longhands and Dividians each one of them are battling their own war. Ashlords and Loghands battle for the control of the Empire, while the Dividians are caught in the middle and trying their best to survive the crossfire. After the races ended, Pippa, Adrian and Imelda each one of them took the roles they were born for. Pippa became the winner of the races and the leader of the Ashlords war, Adrian came the 2nd on the races and is the leader of Longhands war and Imelda, all she wanted was to “win” the races on her own, stealing the powders for rebirths and escaping the races and hiding in the mountains together with the Dividians rebels. During the war, things start to change, Quinn the spirit that was gifted to Pippa during the races, is summoning Pippa to the underworld and shows her the plans she has for her world and this is when everything starts to unfold. Their gods are dropping dead, one by one, first one killed by Quinn, the second by Pippa and that’s when they find dark secrets and The Bloodsworn for me has been a nice read, the half of the book I found it to be a little bit boring because it contained a lot of war elements, things that I felt were dragging a little bit too much and I am not a fan of war tactics so all of that for me wasn’t very interesting. However, when their gods started dropping dead and they started finding a lot of secrets about their past, that’s when things started to get very interesting for me. I adored the fact that all 3 of them, even if they were born and raised to hate each other, they all came together and fought the same war – against their gods, against the oppression they went through and for a better world that was no more ruled by the greedy gods. I felt like this book has really found the perfect balance for a normal world that everyone should live in, where no more should be richer than the other, and everyone should be equal, the book didn’t felt just as a fantasy book for me, but also as a political lesson on how things can be improved so everyone in this world can have a normal life and not feel in inferiority than the neighbor. The book for sure doesn’t let you know what the outcome is, because if at the beginning they all hate each other, towards the end things change, and they’re so involved into their common ground that they are ready to fight everyone who doesn’t have the same perspective as theirs. I can’t say the book had a lot of plot twists, there are some but I think that’s what made the book interesting, the lack of multitude of plot twists and just the ongoing development of the story. The book is still being told the same way as the 1st book which means from Pippa’s perspective, Imelda and Adrian’s which helps you see their thoughts and their struggles and their opinions about the war and what they find.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    I am a huge Scott Reintgen book fan and Bloodsworn did not disappoint me at all! I believe it might be Mr. Reintgen's best book yet! There were twists and turns I didn't see coming. I am usually good at timing in my mind where the denouement will be in a story while reading, however, low and behold Scott got me and turned my judgment of his writing skills to a higher plain. Bloodsworn will draw you in with its gorgeous cover and the fact that you need to know what happened after we left Dividian I am a huge Scott Reintgen book fan and Bloodsworn did not disappoint me at all! I believe it might be Mr. Reintgen's best book yet! There were twists and turns I didn't see coming. I am usually good at timing in my mind where the denouement will be in a story while reading, however, low and behold Scott got me and turned my judgment of his writing skills to a higher plain. Bloodsworn will draw you in with its gorgeous cover and the fact that you need to know what happened after we left Dividian Imelda, Ashlord Pippa, and Longhand Adrian at the end of book #1 Ashlords. There were so many scenes in the story that made me think wow, this would make a great movie! The action, the world-building of the Gods and their kingdoms in the dark and dreary underworld, the one place that you were curious about the most when it came to Ashlords and little Quinn, Pippa's Gods appointed helpmate in the Races - the land she lived in. I felt as if it might be akin to Hoth - hotter than Hell, dryer than the Sahara, drearier than the Wombat creatures cave that the Millenium Falcon hid in while in the asteroid field, and full of creatures that you just can't imagine but Mr. Reintgen did. The intriguing part of this book was the Bloodsworn alchemy mix Imelda found and reproduced into her own formula to go beyond just an amazing Phoenix Horse. Without it, this book would be very short and very two-sided instead of a triangular point of view which makes this book very exciting and of course the name of the book. Well done, Mr. Reintgen, well done! This book is a lesson in writing entertainment, castes, races, and social injustice for any new writer or reader. The need to build new worlds when corruption is at its highest and the need to find light-heartedness even in the dark times make Bloodsworn, not only entertaining but also very worthy for the times we live. This book is a most excellent read for young adults, (and us adults) that love to use their imagination, a gulp of danger, and want to escape to another world altogether! I know that it will be recommended to those kids I know that love Fantasy, Sci-Fi and unlike Marvel characters who bounce back from danger and the occasional bad wounds, not everyone gets out alive with your favorite characters. My only negative comment would be that I would've liked more of a detailed taste of Quinn's world when it came to the people who served the gods in the underworld. I would've loved a few pages on that. Nothing else comes to mind in critiquing Bloodsworn. I was sad that this book is a Duology and I let the author know I needed more! Whenever Mr. Reintgen wants to revisit his three Viceroy friends he needs to share it! I know I will be standing in line with the rest of his devoted and hopefully so many more new readers. Thank you, Netgalley, Random House Children's Books, and Scott Reintgen for allowing me the privilege of reading the next chapter and sequel to Ashlords. Bloodsworn is my favorite read of the year thus far! The author's Imagination Cable is thick with this one. 😉

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fin D

    Bloodsworn was an incredible, heart-pumping conclusion to a magnificent duology. In the aftermath of the Races in Ashlords, the Empire has gone to war with the Reach, as our heroes now lead armies and fight battles. But even as Imelda, Pippa, and Adrian try and do what's best for their respective peoples in their mortal war they each begin to take stock of the full scope of the meddling and treachery of the gods as their fight takes them to the Underworld. Bloodsworn takes all of the beautiful w Bloodsworn was an incredible, heart-pumping conclusion to a magnificent duology. In the aftermath of the Races in Ashlords, the Empire has gone to war with the Reach, as our heroes now lead armies and fight battles. But even as Imelda, Pippa, and Adrian try and do what's best for their respective peoples in their mortal war they each begin to take stock of the full scope of the meddling and treachery of the gods as their fight takes them to the Underworld. Bloodsworn takes all of the beautiful worldbuilding from the first book and digs deeper into the mythology and implications of things set up in the first in such wonderful ways. I am utterly obsessed with this book and still so absolutely honored and happy I was able to read and ARC of it. I loved Ashlords so much but somehow Reintgen managed to deliver an even more powerful and addictive read this time around. This book was incredible. it took everything I loved from Ashlords and multiplied it, making everything deeper and richer. My one complaint from the first book was that I wanted our three main characters to interact more and he delivered in this one and in such great ways! I remember reading Ashlords, even though their interactions were few, I felt this real palpable and interesting tension between Adrian and Pippa that I really wanted to see more of and I am pleased to say that it seems my hopes were listened to because I loved how their storyline intertwined in this book, it built so nicely off of the foundation from Ashlords and I was just eating it up with a spoon. Another thing that made this book so riveting was that it was just so dang cinematic. like I could see these sweeping fight scenes play out and these beautiful settings and the description were so crisp. I can sometimes have trouble picturing things clearly but it was all so vivid for me in this book that I could practically hear an epic soundtrack going in the background. No spoilers, but I also thought the writing was just so clever in some ways. Reintgen did such a good job of subtly laying the groundwork for things throughout the books. it can be frustrating when I'm reading other books when this big dramatic plot twist happens and it feels like the author just pulled the solution out of thin air like a Deux ex Machina but that wasn't the case here! Instead, I'd often go "OH! You're using that thing you mentioned way back then" and I love that. it's so much fun to read. Overall, in case it wasn't obvious, I loved this book so dang much and I have a feeling this duology is going to be one of those series I go back to over and over again to get out of reading slumps because it's so well written and addictive full of such wonderful and expansive world-building and mechanics and so many lovely characters. I am so sad to have finished this series but I am so satisfied and pleased with how we ended up. now I'm just going to go shout about this book from the rooftops now thank you!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Thank you to Crown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Bloodsworn is a breathtaking story in which our three incredible main characters now work to defend their people, end a war, and defeat meddling gods. If you enjoyed Ashlords, then you are going to love the awesomeness that is Bloodsworm. The reader is dropped right into the ugliness of war a month or so after the events of Ashlords. Through the alternating POVs of Imelda (a Dividian), Adrian (a Longhand), an Thank you to Crown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Bloodsworn is a breathtaking story in which our three incredible main characters now work to defend their people, end a war, and defeat meddling gods. If you enjoyed Ashlords, then you are going to love the awesomeness that is Bloodsworm. The reader is dropped right into the ugliness of war a month or so after the events of Ashlords. Through the alternating POVs of Imelda (a Dividian), Adrian (a Longhand), and Pippa (an Ashlord), we get a feel of where things stand, what the two warring sides (Ashlords and Longhand with Dividians stuck helplessly in the middle), and how the war has been internally affecting the main characters. For me, this part went on a little too long because I was super eager-beaver to get the action going and learning what it would take to stop the war. The story is a thrilling and sometimes emotional escapade. I (and our protagonists) was surprised by how much deeper the situation was. How far the animosity went back. Revelation after revelation, surprise after surprise, further entrenched me into the plot. I loved learning the who-what-when-where-why-how of it all, about the ash horses, and how the Ashlord gods changed everything. But what I loved most were the three young characters who spearhead this story – their strength, courage and leadership. They and the other young secondary characters close to them are indicative of how youth today have the power to make a difference and change the world for the better. Imelda, Adrian, and Pippa make something out of nothing. The world-building is so fresh, magical and amazing. Very rich and complex. The author has truly crafted a unique world with unforgettable characters (new and old). The whole idea behind the horses made of ash is so fascinating and works as a great metaphor to the overall story. And I like the physically active role gods play in what’s happening, which I hope to see more of in fantasy in general. It adds an extra layer that can affect the plot and/or characters. The last third of the story was heart-stopping action and several emotional (for me) moments that all led to a very satisfying conclusion. I wish there was more to read because I want to know what’s next for certain characters! I really enjoyed this duology. The promise of romance – as small as it was – was unexpected but I liked it and it is well deserved. What a great read!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda B

    Blood Sworn is the sequel to Ashlord (which I reviewed here.) In this book, we follow the same three characters, Pippa, Adrian, and Imelda. The way the first book ended left me wanting to know more. I wanted to know so much more about this world, the gods, and where the story is going. I got everything that I wanted from this book. Once again, the story is told in first person for Imelda and Adrian, but Pippa’s story is told in second person. I think Pippa’s story being told in this way was such Blood Sworn is the sequel to Ashlord (which I reviewed here.) In this book, we follow the same three characters, Pippa, Adrian, and Imelda. The way the first book ended left me wanting to know more. I wanted to know so much more about this world, the gods, and where the story is going. I got everything that I wanted from this book. Once again, the story is told in first person for Imelda and Adrian, but Pippa’s story is told in second person. I think Pippa’s story being told in this way was such a creative choice and it really does something to the story. Pippa’s chapters were absolutely my favorite parts of this book. She has the most growth and change in this series. She starts off so loyal to her people, the Ashlords, but slowly she realizes that everything isn’t as it seems. She finally learns the truth from one of the gods and that’s where this story gets really interesting. I think Pippa is so incredibly smart. I am awed by the plans that her brain manages to create. I think she’s an incredible character and I loved her. I also really enjoyed the way that Pippa’s relationship with Adrian changed over time. Adrian was an interesting character as well. But I feel like he sort of just went along with Pippa’s plans. I know this isn’t the case, but we didn’t actually see Adrian and Pippa make their plans so, it’s not hard to assume that Pippa (the master strategist) is the one that came up with the majority of their plans. I liked that Adrian did his part to show the Longhands that things could be different if everyone worked together to make a change. Finally, Imelda. I wanted more phoenix horse stuff, but we got enough that I wasn’t terribly upset about it. I like that Imelda is also super smart, but in different ways than what we see from Pippa. I think Imelda’s part of the story was interesting because the Dividian’s are the underrepresented group of the story, despite having a large population. I liked following Imelda because with Pippa and Adrian working together, their stories were similar, but Imelda’s path is so different from the others. She stumbles into something she doesn’t totally understand, but manages to find herself working toward the same goals as Pippa and Adrian. Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I loved this duology. I will recommend this series forever. Phoenix horses, political drama, characters that are complex and loveable, and a fascinating world and interesting gods, there is everything you could possibly want in a fantasy story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mal Reads

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! I do love a pretty horse cover. This cover artist has done amazing for this series. I have got to say this book may have been even more exciting than the first! I absolutely loved the transition from the races to this new war. The war between humans was cool but the most interesting aspect of this book was the war with the gods. With all the characters we got a huge spurt of growth whether it was Pippa or Adrien Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! I do love a pretty horse cover. This cover artist has done amazing for this series. I have got to say this book may have been even more exciting than the first! I absolutely loved the transition from the races to this new war. The war between humans was cool but the most interesting aspect of this book was the war with the gods. With all the characters we got a huge spurt of growth whether it was Pippa or Adrien each character grew into their potential. I loved how Adrien and Pippa opened their eyes to what was really going on around them while Imelda learned to grow her confidence. Even the side characters had some great parts teaming up with Pippa as she learned to grow allies out of the people she originally thought of as expendable pawns. That plot twist almost caught me but I figured out the difference! The writing and twists were absolutely amazing, there wasn't a single character I hated when it switched POVs. The plot was a bit slow at the beginning just because it had a lot of war information but it picked up quickly and never slowed down after that. The whole premise of the gods was so fascinating that I couldn't put it down until I was finished. My one thing was a couple of times it seemed like the characters had a bit of an easy way out, especially in some fights. The plot twists and fast paced adventures kept me on the edge of my seat. I did like the way that most of the plot stayed separate until he slowly weaved them together into one perfect moment. The worldbuilding is where this book really shines. The gods very much take a front seat in this book and it was so interesting. From the lore to each individual god, everything had a place that fit it perfectly. I found some of them more fascinating than others but the creepiness and ruthlessness was cranked to the max for each one. The horses still had a place in this book with the new mysterious version but I do wish they had a bit more of a center seat (that may just be the horse lover in me talking). Overall this was a wonderful ending to this duology that smashed every expectation I had and went far beyond. This is definitely a book to be waiting for in 2021!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kacey

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy. So it's been a while since I read the first book and I tried reading back through my review to get some idea of what happened before getting into this. Honestly, it's like two different books. The first one is about the race and creating these amazing phoenix horses in order to complete the race, with a bit of rebelling against an oppressive gove Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy. So it's been a while since I read the first book and I tried reading back through my review to get some idea of what happened before getting into this. Honestly, it's like two different books. The first one is about the race and creating these amazing phoenix horses in order to complete the race, with a bit of rebelling against an oppressive government and godly meddling sprinkled in. You almost don't even need to read the first book in order to follow this one as the tone and plot is completely different. Once again the gods are probably the most interesting part of this world and I kept thinking how much I would rather read about them than the main three characters. Not that the main characters are dull, I guess, but let's just take The Butcher, for example. When he's introduced, I got excited because everything about him was so intriguing. I immediately wanted to know more about his character. The same could be said about The Dread, the Madness, or any of the other gods. I don't like spoiling things in my reviews but I have to say how disappointing and crushing it is to be teased with so many interesting characters and almost nothing done with any of them. As for the plot... I can safely say I wasn't expecting any of that. A lot of what was going on I couldn't be invested in because I had no idea what the consequences would be at the end. I still didn't have a clear idea on how the world worked or the stakes involved in winning or losing. I guess we're just meant to assume everything turned out great for everyone once it was over. Also a little nitpick, but it felt like the book was trying to end about three or four times before it finally did. Another nitpick is in the narration. I still have no idea why Pippa's chapters were done in second person. It was so distracting and had no reason for being that way when the other two were in first person. It was a decent enough book, I guess, but man I wish that the gods were focused on a lot more. Just write a book about them, Scott.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yakira Goldsberry

    Full Review on The Nerd Daily: https://www.thenerddaily.com/review-b... Right from the start, Blood Sworn is packed with action and intrigue. The story picks back up with Imelda, Pippa, and Adrian months after the end of Ashlords and the bloody war that rages across the known lands. Things have turned darker and much more mysterious as the gods come into play. Out of all the characters, I’d have to say that I’m extremely loyal to Imelda. I don’t know why but she’s my absolute favourite. Maybe beca Full Review on The Nerd Daily: https://www.thenerddaily.com/review-b... Right from the start, Blood Sworn is packed with action and intrigue. The story picks back up with Imelda, Pippa, and Adrian months after the end of Ashlords and the bloody war that rages across the known lands. Things have turned darker and much more mysterious as the gods come into play. Out of all the characters, I’d have to say that I’m extremely loyal to Imelda. I don’t know why but she’s my absolute favourite. Maybe because of her love of the magical, mystical ashborn horses. As a horse-lover myself, I would be totally content with reading an entire book of Imelda travelling across the known world into unknown territories in search of new ingredients to create new horses. I mean, come on, all possibilities are endless! But also because of her steady character, and how she never changes throughout the books. She remains clever, quick-witted, and wild to the core. Okay, I do like Adrian as well. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and a good sense of when to fight and when it’s better to not. Pippa, however, I felt it harder to connect with. Maybe it’s the point of view the author chose, or her somewhat uppity, snobbish ways, I don’t know. But while I didn’t really like her all that much throughout Ashlords and most of Blood Sworn, she eventually grew on me. Reintgen’s world building is amazing. While the first book centered around the races and the war brewing just beneath the surface, Blood Sworn starts out with the rebellion well under way and the three main characters each in a different position during the war. But as things progress, Reintgen subtly brings in more and more worldbuilding until an explosive truth is revealed and everything known is turned on its head, giving the world a surprising amount of depth and realism. Reintgen’s prose is wonderfully beautiful, with sharp sentences and an excellent use of words. I grew sort of jealous of his amazing word mastery, but I digress. Reintgen’s talent is something to be admired, and I hope to one day be able to write like him.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Scott

    eARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had really high expectations going in to this conclusion and I was not disappointed. We pick up shortly after the end of book one and continue following our three main characters, Imelda, Pippa and Adrian. We watch as they navigate their world and the underworld, all while strategizing and maneuvering through the war they just started. I won't go too heavy in to the plot, but there are phoenix horses, alchemy, blood sacrifice d eARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had really high expectations going in to this conclusion and I was not disappointed. We pick up shortly after the end of book one and continue following our three main characters, Imelda, Pippa and Adrian. We watch as they navigate their world and the underworld, all while strategizing and maneuvering through the war they just started. I won't go too heavy in to the plot, but there are phoenix horses, alchemy, blood sacrifice demanding gods and an oppressive political system. This duology truly has it all. You get all the fun fantasy elements with the gods and the magic but you also get really strong characters leads with complex emotions. I've also read this author's first series, Nyxia, and he continues to write in a way that is so accessible and easy to follow while also being descriptive and creative. It was easy to fall right back in to the story and I really enjoyed my time back in this world. The other really great element of this story is how surprised I was at the direction it took. With only two books in the series, I was skeptical that everything would be wrapped up in a way that made sense and wasn't rushed. I ended up loving the ending and I feel like everything that needed to be handled was done so. I really loved this series and I think anyone who enjoys the typical tropes of YA fantasy will also love it. The genre has been oversaturated lately with a lot of mediocre work but all of Reintgen's work has really stood out among the crowd. He uses diverse voices and ideas and I think it has once again been done really well in Blood Sworn. Also, another thing I actually really enjoy about his work is how he weaves in romance. Romance is NEVER at the forefront of the story and I can really appreciate that. It's still there, but it isn't the focus for the reader or the characters. If you love magic, messy political systems and strong main characters, I highly recommend picking up this series!

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