Cover Image: We Are Blood And Thunder

We Are Blood And Thunder

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A fantastic new addition to the UKYA fantasy scene, Kesia Lupo brings in a fascinating new world full of prejudice, magic and elaborate plots. The different prejudices come forth right from the start where we meet Lena, banished to the tombs to tend to the dead out of sight of the general population. 

The intricacies of the fear and prejudices that have been built up to surround Duke's Forest and the way that they are used to keep the people under control, living in a state of fear of the storm and sickness that plague their land. 

All is not what it seems in Duke's Forest though and the twists and turns that surrounded it all were completely unexpected, but in such a skillfully crafted way that when everything slots into place and you finally see the full picture, it all makes perfect sense. 

I'm hoping to see more from this world, especially the places outside of Duke's Forest and the magic system they have in place. 

I can't wait to see more from Lupo in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, not every book can be enjoyed by everyone and reading is so subjective. I wasn’t able to connect with this one and decided to DNF as it wasn’t keeping my attention as much as I’d hoped.
Was this review helpful?
I'm actually writing this review about a month after I had finished reading it, so if the review seems a bit.. vague(?), this is why! But let me just tell you how excited I was to read a new young adult book from a debut author, but also... this is a fantasy book that was a standalone!! It is very very rare that we see this, so I was all here for it. 

In a sealed-off city, it begins with a hunt. A young woman, Lena, running for her life, convicted of being a mage and sentenced to death. Her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear - those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. She knows only too well how the people of Duke's Forest loathe magic. Years ago she escaped before her powers were discovered. But now she won't hide who she is any longer.

A powerful and terrifying storm cloud unites them. It descends over the dukedom and devastates much in its wake. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine ... Only Lena and Constance hold the key to destroying the spell. Though neither of them realise it, they need each other. They are the blood and they have the thunder within.

Like I said, I was so excited for this book, however, I felt let down. Obviously, I still enjoyed this book because I gave it 3.75 stars, but I think I was so excited for it, that I hyped the book up way too much for my own good. I also lowered the rating slightly because as aforementioned, I'm writing this review a month after reading it, and... I can hardly remember what happened. Which isn't a good sign. I can usually remember the plot of a book after a month, but I was genuinely a little bit lost and had to do a little bit of re-reading to refresh my brain.

The novel follows two different points of views: one that follows Lena, and the other follows Constance. I didn't mind the switching of POVs, it was pretty obvious as to whose chapter it was considering that the chapter wasn't labelled as to whose point of view we were going to be following.

“A moment of hope makes grief even more difficult to bear.”

- Kesia Lupo, We Are Blood and Thunder

The writing style of this book was quite beautiful. I loved the descriptions of the crypt where Lena worked at the beginning of the novel, the cloud that hung above the city of Duke's Forest, and the magic system. The metaphors that were used and the vividness of the writing really captured my imagination and made reading this such an enjoyable experience.

I actually read this in one night. I remember starting it at about 9 pm, and I finished it about 4:30 am because I just couldn't get enough of all of the characters and the world that Lupo had created.

Oh, and let me just tell you this: that. ending. was. insane. I didn't see it coming and it blew me away.

However, there were a couple of things that let this book down. The magic system wasn't the most interesting. Sometimes, it felt a little bit too much(?), and didn't make sense. Now, I know that I said the ending was really good, but that's probably the last couple of paragraphs. The last 50 pages were just rammed. It was the last 50 pages where all of the political mystery unravelled, where all the action happened, and it nearly gave me whiplash. I recognise that authors need to wrap up their story so the novel isn't 5,000 pages, but this is why there are series!

"Take what you can get - and hope by the time the tables turn, you're far enough ahead that you can save yourself."

- Kesia Lupo, We Are Blood and Thunder

I really do think that We Are Blood and Thunder could have worked better as a duology. There was so much political intrigue, and explaining this, and delving more into this definitely would have had a bigger impact if the reader could have been thrust deeper into the world.

There was also a few tropey moments in the novel that didn't really differentiate itself from other YA fantasies, but that's a very minor moan that I have about the book.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, which you can tell from the fact that I read it in one sitting. Kesia Lupo is definitely an author to keep your eyes on because I can just tell that she's going to be releasing some amazing pieces of work in the future!

Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
This book felt like all the YA fantasy tropes and I kind of low-key hated it. You have the hate/fear of magic (so overdone at this point), the run for your life, trust the people you've been taught to fear blah blah and honestly meh.

The world didn't feel original either and the magic felt yet again like something I've read before.

I'm not going to go on and on and bash this book, I'll just say this isn't for me, some people will absolutely devour it as if it's the best thing since sliced bread and some people like me will just...hate it.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating and sometimes dark fantasy debut, however I found We Are Blood And Thunder difficult to get into, with slow pacing making it drag a little, and a story that didn't quite live up to the awesomeness described in the blurb.
Was this review helpful?
I didn't enjoy this as much as I had hoped, that isn't to say it wasn't good because it was. I felt that the story could have had more, it was lacking but I cannot pinpoint where.
Was this review helpful?
The formatting of this e-ARC is so bad as to prevent me entirely from connecting with the story. Words have random spaces inserted into them and there are line breaks in the middle of sentences, which makes it impossible to read a sentence start to finish in one go. It’s a shame, because what I could decipher sounded good, but I can’t read this for hundreds of pages!
Was this review helpful?
We Are Blood And Thunder is a very exciting and intriguing young adult fantasy novel. The world is effective and the story gels together very well. The descriptions are detailed and helps you to imagine the surroundings. I was happy to see that there are two strong and powerful women characters as central protagonists. I adored Lena and Constance. 

one of the best YA fantasy novels I’ve read in a while- simple but extraordinarily effective world building, an intelligent and intriguing background and two engaging strong women at the centre of it all. They are bound together and the story flows to show this. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy with a fast pace.
Was this review helpful?
This is a really exciting debut in a totally original world. Love a bit of YA fantasy and really hope this ends up taking off in the way it deserves.
Was this review helpful?
They say first impressions are everything.

Whether you realize it or not, you cast judgement on anything and everything at first glance.

We see the outside of a restaurant that looks run down and we assume the food mustn’t be any good. We meet a new person who’s overdressed and we think they’re stuffy and unrelatable.

Sometimes these impressions are true, but many times they are not.

That rundown restaurant might be the hidden gem of your town, and that overdressed man might just be a grunt at a business that requires it of him.

Another word for these impressions are expectations.

Looking at the cover and description for We Are Blood and Thunder, I had great expectations. It sounded like a book about two friends who would conquer the world.

Oh, how wrong those impressions were. And not for the better.

We Are Blood and Thunder Review

We Are Blood and Thunder follows two POV characters in alternating pattern without deviance from beginning to end.

First we have Lena, a cryptling with a birth mark living in a highly superstitious city in the middle of nowhere. The city is in self-imposed quarantine because of a pestilence in the land. But really it’s so the King’s Justice can trap and hunt mages.

When Lena is discovered to be a mage, she’s forced to run for her life.

Constance is the exiled princess of Duke’s Forest and she’s trying to get back in to discover the source of the pestilence and put an end to the Justice’s cruel reign of her people.

The book’s blurb would have you believe the two are brought together to put an end to these machinations together, but nothing could be further from the truth.

They meet very early at the beginning and their paths diverge until the last 3-4 chapters of the book.

They aren’t friends, they aren’t sisters, they aren’t anything to each other. I thought this would be a book about two best friends. It’s the book I wanted, but it wasn’t the book I got.

First Impressions

The best part of the whole book is the world.

And what an amazing world it is.

The idea of the storm cloud, a quarantined city, a cryptling who comes into power, nine temples of differing magical disciplines, magical artifacts, the conflict between gods and Chaos.

It’s all rather amazing and I loved the world.

We see a mechanical mask that can view the spellscape, a gauntlet that absorbs magical power, mechanical appendages, and mechanical pets that can house magic for purposes such as healing a loved one when they are hurt.

It’s sort of steam-punky in a way.

The nine disciples of magic and the possibilities for training in the subsequent temples was very intriguing.

And the greater overall magical conflict between those subservient to the gods in the temples, and those who rebuff the gods is an interesting point of tension.

The problem is none of that is relevant.

Everything I like about this book, isn’t what this book is about.

A Deeper Look

Lena is by far the most interesting character in the story.

A girl who has no magic suddenly comes into power, learns that she could die if she doesn’t get it under control and is taken to a temple to find her discipline and train.

Except her training lasts all of one week, and she suddenly becomes the most powerful person around with little to no effort.

During that same week, she finds a boy, who has romantic feelings for Constance by the way, and they engage in an instalove subplot with no meat.

It’s really hard to have the following conversation without spoiling anything so I’m going to attempt to be as vague as possible.

One of the characters was the most unlikable, confusing characters I’ve ever read. Their appearance is not as it seems and there are no clues in the story to tell you otherwise until, bam, you’re hit with it.

It was such an assault on the senses.

And then the very thing that drives them. The thing that made them who they were, that very thing is abandoned at the littlest amount of resistance. What a weak and depressing character.

The rest of the characters are the exact opposite. You can see their duplicity a mile away. When one of the main characters, Constance, suspects they are wicked and evil doers, they are. There’s no hints of surprise, there’s no guessing wrong.

Overall, it’s just an uninspired story.

The world is fantastic, the story, not so much.

Final Thoughts

We Are Blood and Thunder is a standalone, but the author has plans to write more in this world.

Depending on the topic, I may or may not give it a shot.

As I said, I love the world, so maybe a new book with new characters will be interesting.

Would I recommend you read We Are Blood and Thunder?

That’s up to you. I won’t ever be rereading it, but it’s not a bad book by any means.

2.5/5 stars
Was this review helpful?
Really enjoyed getting to know the two main characters, Lena and Constance. Beautifully written and engaging.
Was this review helpful?
This book is told from two perspectives. One characters story is however more fast paced than the others which was a bit weird because I felt like with one story it was the typical YA book about a special girl and her figuring things out and with the second story we were placed half way into her story. I know this was done for plot reasons but it made me feel like I was missing out on background/world-building elements that I needed to understand the character better. I did like the characters but I felt like their relationships with other characters were either rushed or with Constance I felt like she did not care for her relationships so I didn't connect with these characters either. I did enjoy the plot and the whole magic/gods element however I didn't like the ending and was disappointed at how Constance's story ended.
Was this review helpful?
I loved parts of this book, while others frustrated me, but overall I'd recommend it. It's a thrilling, unique fantasy with characters you can root for, a fascinating world, and a really exciting story. But that ending left me really unsatisfied, and I can't get past it. I wish this was a series.
Was this review helpful?
Where oh where to start with this book... okay lets admire the beautiful cover because thats about 90% of the reason why I bought this book - something to remind me not to buy a book because of it's cover. 

This was a really hyped book all over #bookstagram so I was really excited to finally get around to reading it and I have honestly never been quite so disappointed in a book. The blurb makes the book sound so so good but actually reading the book I just felt quite underwhelmed and in all honesty... bored. Most of my tabs for this book were green which in this instance meant "this annoyed me".  I feel like it had all the recipes for a good book; two strong female leads, a myraid of secondary characters, betrayal and plot twists, and a magic system - but it just didn't come together well for me. 

Let me break down my main issues with this book:

1. The characters. Neither Lena nor Constance felt very well-developed at all; Constance was arguably a bit more developed than Lena but they both felt very one-note throughout the entire book and never really seemed to move forward in their development. Neither of them seemed to have any real personality and just felt very bland and boring. With Constance we get to understand her motivations a bit more; she was a young girl who lost her mother and felt sidelined by her new-stepmother, who incidentally hated her. At least from this we can understand some of the pain she has been feeling and why she did what she did, even if it went insanely out of hand. With Lena, I didn't like her at all - she was just irritating tbh.  She seems so contradictory and doesn't seem to know what she's doing one day from the next; there's one bit towards the end when she's mentally suggesting that Constance doesn't care about any of the people because she's moving forward through them all, with the intention of going to break the spell WHICH WILL SAVE THEM ALL, whilst Lena mopes forward and keeps stopping, which is holding them back FROM SAVING ALL THE PEOPLE. I just didn't get it. I really struggle with a book if I can't connect to the characters and I just didn't really connect to any character here; even the side characters.

2. Point 2 links to point 1 in that we have my most hated trope - INSTA LOVE. I absolutely hate insta-love in books and this one came so far out of left field it leaves you reeling. Lena and Emris at some point fall in love but there is absolutely no depth to it. We get a couple of comments from Lena about Emris holding her waist when they're riding a horse but that is about it - and then suddenly they're attracted to one another and get to ride off into the sunset. It almost felt like the author forgot she had that planned an then had to rush it in. It just didn't feel natural at all. There's also a bit of romance between Constance and Xander (one of the only characters that was tolerable) but that is more her using him than actual romance. 

3. Lupo seems to use the "tell not show" method throughout this book; such as with the above romance but also with quite a lot of the fight scenes - there's no real excitement because you don't get to experience things on the pages and so it just falls a bit flat. 

4. The magic system for me felt weak and underdeveloped. I couldn't quite wrap my  head around it because we had so many mixed messages about the magic system and it just sort of flopped for me and never felt exciting. With books like Harry Potter, Nevermoor, Shades of Magic series I completely understood all the magic worlds and systems which made the books more enjoyable, but this one just didn't work for me. 

I honestly just felt like this book dragged, it was far too long so it just ended up becoming boring at times. The plot felt really under developed and it didn't feel like decisions were well thought through - at one point Constance agrees to solve the storm cloud in two days or the villagers will riot... but it just didn't make any sense why they agreed to two days and what on earth they thought they could do better. I feel like it was meant to add some tension but it really didn't.  I just found myself becoming very bored with this book and in the end I wasn't really rooting for anyone; I almost feel like we were meant to see Lena as a hero and Constance as a villain but that never worked for me because, for all her faults, Constance was trying to save the people the only way she knew how, whilst Lena was reluctant to do anything less she not be "special" anymore. 

I honestly couldn't recommend this book as I feel there are so many other fantasy/magic books out there that are just much better. A very disappointing read.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy from Netgalley.

Unfortunately another one for the DNF pile. This one just did not work for me. It's long winded and boring and just another bland YA fantasy revolving around forbidden magic and disputing nobles and religious groups who all have their own agenda. I got half way through but can't find the willpower to pick it up again. I tried the other day and barely got through ten pages. Boring and just not up to par with the YA fantasy available, at least not for me. Time to call it quits. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.
Was this review helpful?
This definitely didn't go the way I expected it to from the synopsis, but I ended up enjoying it nonetheless. There's necromancy, magic, dark forests, and cult-like temples, and I enjoyed the way the magic system was built up throughout the novel. Although I didn't connect with many of the characters, that ending really knocked me for six. Game of Thrones eat your heart out.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for a copy of this book.

The atmosphere, characters and the plot for all these books are good.  However, I think all the fantasy novels I read now are compared to Sarah J Maas Throne of Glass series and nothing can live up to it.  This comes a close second though :-)
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This YA Fantasy has a really cool premise and setting which piqued my interest initially but unfortunately didn't hold it. 

I didn't really gel with the two central characters and I felt there could have been more made of the worldbuilding. The magic system pretty much lost me completely and the instalove was the final nail in the coffin for me. 

I don't want to flog a dead horse with personal criticism. This is not a bad book by any means and I know some people absolutely loved it, but it didn't really float my boat I'm afraid.
Was this review helpful?
I’m not really going to do much of a non-spoilery section because I have so much I want to talk about that contains spoilers, but here’s a paragraph on what I thought of the book overall.

Non-Spoilery Section:

Firstly I loved the main characters. The story is told from two perspectives, Lena and Constance. These two women are so different and at first they don’t seem to be very connected. However, the way that the story is weaved together brings their two stories so close that by the end its impossible to see how they didn’t relate to each other at the start.

The world and its magic system is another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed. The book is set in two primary locations, The Duke’s Forest, which is the place where the storm cloud which haunts the plot of the book is situated, and the City of Kings. Both places and their societies are based around magic. The Duke’s Forest and its people and afraid of magic and the people who wield it, while in the City of Kings there are temples specifically to train mages and improve their magical abilities. I really loved how these two settings worked within the story and also how the storm cloud that hangs over the Duke’s Forest not only informs the settings but is almost a character of its own.

The final thing I really liked in this book was the politics. The politics themselves weren’t overbearing but they did play quite an important role in the whole story. What really impressed me was how the politics were woven into the story, there wasn’t a lot of info. dump moments because Kesia Lupo has managed to make it so that every piece of information you need is intermingled with the plot and the characters and their actions. It made reading this book engrossing and really enjoyable.


So let’s go back to the characters. Because I have a lot to say about the characters.

Firstly Lena. I think out of the three main characters (Lena, Constance and Emris) Lena was my favourite. She was the outcast in the story, the character who really didn’t understand much about the world she existed in because her life had only ever been one of isolation underground in the Duke’s Forest as a cryptling. I really liked how Lena was a character that was quite often unsure and always questioning. She learnt something on every page I turned and grew and grew as the story went on. I especially liked how she learnt to accept who she was. She went from being afraid of the magic inside her, to not truly understanding what it was or even who she was in the temples, to wanting to get rid of it when she returned to the Duke’s Forest, to finally realising that it was a part of her she couldn’t live without and accepting it for that. Lena felt so genuine to me and so real, I couldn’t help but not fall in love with the scared little cryptling girl who grew two be a kick-butt mage.

Constance was a bit of a wildcard for me. When the story started and we first met Constance I wasn’t really sure about her. She came across to me as a character who didn’t feel very real or fleshed out. We got a lot of backstory about her but she didn’t seem to have any qualities other than feeling entitled to her birthright. It was only as the story progressed that I really started to enjoy reading Constance’s part, and I think a lot of that had to do with many of the revelations about the storm cloud being closely tied to her: her trying to find the source of the storm cloud, her revealing that it was a necromancy spell and finally the reveal that she actually cast it while trying to rip it from Lena’s body. What I really liked about her character was that she completely surprised me in the end. She was coming across at first as the do-gooder woman who just wanted justice for her people and to stop the great evil. I never expected her to be the great evil! Except in the end she wasn’t really. She was really human. When she gave her reasonings for casting the storm and for wanting to claim it again it gave her a sense of humanity that I really liked, even if that stone sank to the bottom when she refused to help Lena bring Emris back to life. Constance turned out to be a lot more complex than she first appeared.

So to talk about Emris I also need to talk about the romance in the story because a lot of my thoughts about him are related to that. After Lena, Emris is definitely my favourite of the three main characters. I loved that Emris was a bit of an enigma, a mystery. He reveals enough about himself to be interesting, but not so much that you know a lot about him. His perspective as someone who had been a rogue and gone through the same things that Lena was a really great way to learn about the temples and the system of magic with the setting of the City of Kings. His mysterious character also meant that I never really knew what to expect from him in each chapter. He kept a lot of things close to his chest and that allowed for some really great world and culture building using Emris’ eyes and his actions. I think what I liked about him most though was his relationship with both Constance and Lena. With Constance the relationship is complicated. He’s gone through a lot with her and because of her. When it turned out that they were both members of the Temple of Mythris a lot of the angst made sense. However, Emris’ relationship with Lena was one that I jumped on board right from the very beginning. I just loved how natural it was! They go from being strangers, to tentatively trusting each other, to what I would call friends. It’s only in the heat of the moment that they both realise that they mean more to each other than that. I also loved that even at the end of the book its not true love. Emris and Lena both make it clear that they are leaving the Duke’s Forest and that this will be a chance for them to live and grow and learn more about each other. It was love, but it was a real kind of love that slowly grows, tentatively changes and requires work.

The Justice was another character in the story that I fell in love with (or loved to hate)! There are really two reasons for this. First I loved his character in general. I loved how misguided and yet completely dedicated he was. He was a fanatic, but he truly believed what he was doing was right. Secondly I liked how he was a kind of misdirection. Both the Justice and Dr Thorn appear to be the bad guys in the beginning. (Of course it becomes apparent quite quickly that Dr Thorn was being used by the Justice for his own gains, and I particularly liked how Kesia Lupo wove the gauntlet into the story to just emphasise that and add another really interesting aspect to the plot.) However, as it turned out, the Justice was the lesser of two evils when put beside Constance and that was an aspect of the plot I really loved. With so many people out for power and themselves and their own gains it was very hard to tell who was the bad guy and who wasn’t.

I was surprised honestly just how many characters there were in this book, especially considering it is a standalone novel. A few of them, particularly the ones I have mentioned, were really great. They drove the story and grew and changed as the book went on. However, there were a few characters that I felt either needed more fleshing out, or needed a smaller part in the story. The two that really stand out for me are Winton and Xander. These two characters in particular seem to play a large part in the story when Constance first returns to the Duke’s Forest. However, as the story progresses their involvement dwindles and almost becomes obsolete. Xander in particular was a bit of a let down for me, he started off really strong, but to me in the end it didn’t feel like he had much purpose.

Magic! I can’t talk about this book without talking about magic and the magic system that Kesia Lupo built. On the surface the system seems quite simple really. People with magic in them are called mages and can use that magic. However, as the novel progressed the system unravelled and became much more complex and that has a lot to do with how the magic system is intermingled and intertwined deeply with the world building.

In the setting of the Duke’s Forest magic is something to be feared, mages something to be hunted. The storm cloud, which the whole book is obviously set around, is literally a cloud that hangs over the heads of the city, oppressing the people and reinforcing the fear of magic and its users. I thought it was really interesting that this was a city plagued by magic that was literally cut off from everywhere else because of the pestilence magic had caused. The isolationism of the city became a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. People feared magic, yet magic was causing all the problems in the first place, so people were influenced by the magic, so magic and its users were hunted, so people feared magic. I really liked this perspective and this idea. It’s unusual to find a book that has such a small setting where magic is feared and outlawed and hunted. Starting the story in this setting is also one of the reasons that Lena’s character growth and change is so effective. She starts as the girl hunted for magic she didn’t know, goes to a place where magic is accepted and taught before she has to return to the place that feared her so much they tried to execute her, to use the magic she has to save the city from destruction by magic. Within the setting of the Duke’s Forest, magic is shown to be both good and bad. It is the setting that truly emphasises one of the key rules of the book: chaos is bad, in the wrong hands its worse, magic is only good or bad based on its user.

The magic within the City of Kings was even more interesting. I loved the fight between the traditional temples and their gods that mages bound themselves to, and the ‘mechanical magic’ or Lord Chatham and his followers, and how in the middle of these two were Rogues. I liked the fact that the whole world was built, not just parts of it, every temple was named even if we didn’t see it, every belief of Lord Chatham and his followers explored even if it didn’t have a direct consequence for the story. Having Lena experience the confusion of trying to decide what kind of magic worked for her and not really finding her place in either created a complex situation where magic had to be explored and revealed for Lena to discover who she was. It was another one of those moments where world building, the magic system and character growth were all bound up together incredibly well.

I also really liked how there was a kind of consequence of magic, Chaos. In a lot of stories magic is only bad when used for the wrong reasons, and while Chaos was always described as an evil force that took over and controlled someone’s magic, it was never only reserved for bad people. There were instances where Chaos was involved because of a characters lack of teaching in magic (something Lena is often warned of) or because they were too weak willed to contain it, but so ambitious that they wanted its power. What I really loved though was Lena’s magic and how it related to Chaos. When it is revealed that Lena’s magic is actually the heart of the storm spell it is described at that point as being a kind of Chaos. What Lena’s magic shows is that the magic in this system, the Chaos that destroyed Lord Chatham and some of his followers, is not an unstoppable or uncontrollable force. It is all about strength of will and character, as much as the teaching that mages receive.

The best part of the book for me, after everything had happened, was the climax. The pacing and the plot kept me hooked until the very last page. Constance’s betrayal, Emris’ attempt to banish the storm cloud magic, Lena claiming the magic for herself again but killing Emris in the process, bringing Emris back to life. It all happened so quickly, but it didn’t feel jolty or too fast or too slow. It was pacey and gripping and there were so many ‘no way’ moments that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The climax of this story was a well-woven, well-executed event that had me reading as fast as I could while also not wanting it to end as every piece of the puzzle slotted together.

The ending of the book itself was unexpected. The only thing I didn’t like about it was how we jumped from the crypts when Lena brings Emris back to life, to a few weeks later when the aftermath of the events was being dealt with. It felt a little jolty to make that jump, but I understand that either the jump was made or the book would have had to end with the storm cloud being dissipated. I did like that there was a sense of resolution. The bones of those executed for using magic were laid with the ancestors, Winton was in charge and Lena and Emris were planning for the future. The jump gave the book a promise for a hopeful future. What I liked most about it though was Constance’s funeral pyre. The moment where Lena acknowledges that she wouldn’t be the person she was without Constance, no matter the bad things Constance did. This moment showed a maturity to Lena’s character that I feel is often lacking in YA books, there is an understanding on Lena’s part that out of every tragedy there is something good, that you cannot remove the bad and expect to be the same person. There is an understanding, as Constance’s body burns, that for Lena to become the person she was to become the person she needed to be, she needed Constance and her ugly agenda. She needed to see the end of Constance’s story so that she could begin her own.

All in all We are Blood and Thunder was a tale of magic, politics and high stakes adventure wrapped up in characters that had me gripped from beginning to end.
Was this review helpful?
2.5 stars

Lena lives in a city that has been sealed off in quarantine for several years. This is because of a strange, magical storm cloud and the Pestilence which has killed many.
Sentenced to death by the Justice, who believes that Lena is a mage, she manages to escape, but finds herself surrounded by magic, something she has been taught to fear.
Constance left the city years ago but has returned to stop the spell that caused the strange cloud.
Can Lena control her new magic?
Will Constance be able to stop the storm from destroying the city and everyone inside?

I really liked the premise for We Are Blood and Thunder, but for me it fell flat.
I didn't particularly connect with Lena or Constance, and there weren't any characters that stood out for me.
I found the plot to be very predictable. There were only one of two things that I didn't see coming, and given that the book is over 400 pages, this made it feel even longer.
The setting was interesting, as well as the magic and the concept of pledging yourself to the Gods. I would be intrigued to find out more about how the Gods were able to control people's magic and about Chaos.
The writing style was okay. It was easy enough to follow but I wasn't gripped and at times I found myself skimming the pages.
I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more.

Overall this was an okay but disappointing read.
Was this review helpful?