Cover Image: We Are Blood And Thunder

We Are Blood And Thunder

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Member Reviews

I really wanted to love this one but it just didn't work for me. The characters didn't feel fleshed out enough and I wasn't invested in them or understood their motivations. The ending also felt a bit rushed. The premise was great though and this had the potential to be brilliant.
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Where to start with this book? There are so many things I want to talk about. I'll start with the setting. I was convinced, from the description of the storm cloud, that this book would read as kind of a post-apocalyptic fantasy story (akin to N K Jemisin) but was surprised to find that at least half of this book read more like the detailed court politics and intrigue of a Melinda Salisbury novel. I love both types of story but it's always nice to be surprised. I loved the way the storm cloud was always a looming threat but that life was still going on in a kind of new normal. It was interesting to read a world where everything was going wrong but people were still living their lives. It was cool to have that kind of resilience of society as opposed to the normal societal breakdown.

That's the best word I can use for this book, it surprised me. I was surprised by how much I liked both characters. I found that you got the best of both worlds. You get the 'young girl learning that she is more powerful than she ever believed and harnessing her magic' storyline and you also get the 'girl who knows her power claims her rightful place in her own society and takes no nonsense from anyone'. Often my problem with books that have dual POV where the characters are clearly connected in some plot-relevant way is that these characters are separated before we have a chance to get to know them together. In this instance Lupo manages to have these characters barely ever meet one another, not really knowing of each other's existence, but still have both stories fit together - it absolutely feels like one cohesive book as opposed to two books that only come together at the end. 

One of the strongest selling points of this book that I can't go into much detail about in this review because it would be spoilerific is the ending. Just trust me - it's amazing and phenomenally well done and basically sold the whole book to me and means I will absolutely be recommending it to anyone who loves YA fantasy but is feeling a little stagnant. You'll just have to trust me - it's great.

There is some romance in this book. This was the only aspect that felt kind of 'classic YA' to me, but it manages to fall into place within the wider plot to the point where you don't really have to notice it if you don't want to - but it's a nice addition if you do! Those who enjoy the kind of romance that springs forth from 'let me train you how to do the thing' will hopefully be pleased with this one...

Can you tell I loved this book? For me a five-star rating is 99.9% based on gut feeling and this hit that for me. I feel as though I've been stuck in a string of four-star ratings lately and this book was so refreshing, simultaneously bringing together a lot of my favourite things about this genre and also flipping them on their head so they read totally new. I will certainly be recommending it to all my fellow YA fantasy fans.

My rating: 5/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

We are Blood and Thunder follows two point of view characters: Lena, a societal outcast from an isolated dukedom on the run for the crime of being a mage, and Constance, a woman who has returned to her childhood home to search for a cure for the mysterious storm cloud that has brought nothing but trouble.

I found both characters’ stories had enough intrigue to keep you interested, both weaving together to tell one complete and simple story. Lena, learning about the new parts of the world alongside the reader and Constance, who already knows the world and instead is digging below the surface to uncover its secrets. They were both driven characters, although in unique ways which kept the character voices from blending together.

With Lena learning to embrace who she is and Constance struggling to face the person she used to be in comparison to who she is now, there are a lot of interpersonal conflicts that add to the drama of the whole thing.

I liked a lot of the side characters, all of which had their place and purpose. In particular, Emris stole the show for me – his backstory is definitely something I want to know more about. He legit could carry a fantastic story with just a prequel.

My favourite part was definitely the world building of this land. I loved the magic system and the gods and how the religion interconnects with how magic is viewed in the world. There was the way that more steampunk-y technology is weaved into this world – mechanical devices infused with magic – which really stood out to me as something different in the fantasy world.

The whole mystery around the storm cloud definitely kept my interested peaked. Lupo did a decent job at revealing little bits in both point of view characters and bringing them together. And the plot twist really caught me by surprise!

There were some aspects of the plot I wanted more from – for example, the non-magical conflict in the dukedom was something I would have loved to read in detail. All the political intrigue I feel would have helped build this world even further than it already is. These shortened sections did help keep the pacing at a quick speed but to have them unravel in a slower manner would have helped with some of the trickier character and plot developments.

Some of the characters were also quite forgiving of what both Lena and Constance had chosen to do throughout the story, and that took away some of the stakes when it came to their relationships with other people. These characters also felt one dimensional at times, their personality made up of one particular trait. However, as a lot of these characters are shown basically only in one character’s POV, I am willing to believe that this could just be how she reviews them.

We Are Blood and Thunder is a unique debut with an awesome world and some engaging characters. Lupo’s writing is detailed and easy to read. There are some beautiful descriptions of the world, and the way that magic is shown within the book is done incredibly well. There is so much potential here and I look forward to find out what Lupo writes next!
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We Are Blood & Thunder is a stunning, multifaceted and wonderfully entertaining standalone young adult fantasy debut from a new voice in the genre. So easy to pick up, virtually impossible to put down. I admit that it isn't the most original plot in the world, but there are so many aspects of the book that are to be admired and Ms Lupo manages to avoid most fantasy tropes to her credit. In fact, the author subverts some age-old tropes which was quite refreshing. 

The storytelling is great with a plot that is captivating and well thought out, the writing is almost lyrical and flows beautifully from one page to another and each character is complex and multilayered just like us humans. I particularly appreciated the fact that each character was not simply cast as bad or good as they had, like us, a complicated outlook and three-dimensionality. 

The plot encompasses many different topics - magic, history, secrets and betrayal. The way it is structured is genius and works to ensure you keep turning those pages. Each chapter alternates back and forth between Lena and Constance's perspectives. I certainly wasn't expecting the plot twist towards the end so it was a welcome surprise. This is a very assured female character-driven debut which fantasy fans will devour just as I did.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for an ARC.
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A city, secluded and quarantined since a great disaster, is the setting. Lena, hunted by her fellow inhabitants, is trying to get out. Constance, who grew up outside the city, is trying to get in. And on the horizon a storm is brewing – one propelled by magic not nature. Each young woman holds half the solution and their paths are about to collide.


This was gripping and exciting, skirting or subverting most YA tropes. I enjoyed both protagonists POVs and found the book fast paced and engaging. Really enjoyed this unusual YA fantasy.
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HOLY COW this book was AMAZING!!! Beautiful cover, beautiful writing. I literally cannot recommend this book enough. Both Lena and Constance were enjoyable to read about. The plot of this book was totally unique. I was sucked in from the first page, which is honestly a rarity for me. Sometimes it takes me a couple of chapters, sometimes it takes me half of the book to finally get into it. This one gripped me from THE FIRST PAGE. Seriously pick this one up!
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This book was exactly my kind of thing. It's a fantasy young-adult stand-alone debut novel and that is a lot of words. It has two main characters - Lena and Constance - who are strong female protagonists who tell the story through alternating chapters.

Both women's stories are equally interesting, as both settings - Duke's Forest and The City Of Kings - seem full of possibilities. However, the pace is a little off as is usually the case with the alternating chapters between two characters format. The world building was simple but good, however I did feel like the magic side of things could've been explained slightly better.

If you like magic, strong female protagonists and a vast world to discover then this is the book for you.

The ending was absolutely excellent, save for being a bit rushed.
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Unfortunately, I cannot give this book a starred rating, as I did not finish it... for the purpose of Netgalley, I will rate it as 3 stars to keep it completely neutral.  

I was SO looking forward to reading this and it had been on my radar for months, but it just didn't live up to expectations. I very, very rarely DNF books-- especially advanced copies... but I couldn't read any more of We Are Blood and Thunder past the 30% mark. I won't be posting this review on my Goodreads or my blog. 

There were a few things that I enjoyed about We Are Blood and Thunder and I think that it would be well-suited for many readers. If you're interested in stories about magic and persecution or curses, then We Are Blood and Thunder might be an excellent fit. If you like unique world-structures and dual perspectives in a story, then you should probably add this to your TBR and see if it sparks some interest. 

However, for me, the storytelling was a bit flat and lifeless. Even 30% of the way in, I realised I hadn't bothered to remember the characters' names and found myself flipping back to the chapter beforehand to try and remember what I had missed. It was as if the book immediately went out of my mind the second I put it down... and then I would pick it up again only to find that I hadn't really missed that much or I had remembered exactly what I needed to. Both main characters read as stiff and unrealistic to me-- their reactions to major events were so wildly passive and accepting that it seemed like the plot was just steering them through... and there was nothing about the plot that gripped me in a way to make up for it. It was a strange combination of information dumps about character backstory (which really don't bother me in the slightest) AND being thrown into an immersive story to figure it out myself... except the stuff that the info dumps focused on was not what I needed or wanted more information about. As a result, it seemed clumsy and confusing... and for me, completely unmemorable. When it came to 30% and I realised that instead of actively reading, I was instead saying to myself over and over: 'come on, you can finish it, it's reading really fast, just keep going' I couldn't bring myself to open it again and called it quits. 

Does that mean it's a terrible book? No-- absolutely not. There were a lot of things to possibly interest other readers, but for me, it was a DNF.
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This book is a wonderful addition to the YA fantasy genre,

Lena has grown up as a cryptling in Duke's Forest, tending to the revered dead and forbidden from venturing above ground. Whilst Lena is trying to escape a death sentence, Constance is trying to get in after fleeing the city years before to avoid her own magic being discovered, she's now keen to return to find the source of the spell that has taken hold of Duke's Forest. The narrative alternates between both of them.

The plot was fast paced and intriguing, there were a few twists and turns in this book that I didn’t see coming.  I enjoyed how different both Lena and Constance were, with Lena being determined and hopeful leaving in search of her magic and who she was and Constance who was the more complex character going back to her hometown to try and find the heart of the spell. Both were written well but I did find myself wanting to read more from Lena's POV.

I enjoyed the writing style of this book and the unique magic system, I did find some faults, but these didn't take away from my enjoyment of this book overall; it is a wonderful debut full of likeable characters, adventure, and incredible world-building.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I was lucky to be given a physical arc of this book at an event and without the physical copy, I don't think I could have read this arc. The kindle file has a lot of extra spacings in it, most of the time splitting words into 2 or 3 sections which made reading very jarring. I wouldn't have been able to finish this from the kindle version.

However, I loved this book. The writing was really engaging and the characters were extremely interesting which meant that I flew through this book!

I have a soft spot for anything to do with necromancy so I will definitely be buying a finished copy!
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I loved this, it was a bit slow in the middle but not enough for me to drop any stars. I loved Lena so much, she is a wonderful MC and so interesting and so human. Emris I adored too, this took twists and turns I didn’t see coming and was original and creative. A must read and up there with my favourite read of the year so far. Amazing 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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This is a difficult one for me to rate. When I first picked it up, I loved the atmosphere and the world and the (admittedly confusing) magic - but for some reason I really struggled to get through this book. I could only manage a chapter a day and I never felt particularly connected to any of the characters. 

I also figured out the direction the book was taking quite early on, so the last 60 or so pages weren't really a surprise to me and the ending left me feeling a bit disappointed and deflated to be honest.
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Firstly, a huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an ARC of We Are Blood and Thunder, a thrilling fantasy novel by Kesia Lupo. I went into this book with high expectations and the story surpassed them. 

We Are Blood and Thunder tells the story of two young women, Lena and Constance. Lena is a cryptling, a mage, and very much a likeable underdog who, as the novel progresses, embraces her power. Constance is older, the daughter of the duke of Duke’s Forest, powerful, confident, and a mage-in-hiding with a big secret. The narrative alternates between them, and together, the two work to control the storm cloud spell that’s been haunting Duke’s Forest for years. 

The worldbuilding in this book is incredible. I loved it SO much. I’ve studied ritual and religion in Prehistory, and one of the notable things about that is the importance of ancestors in many prehistoric religions. Because of my love of prehistoric societies, I’m always so excited when I see ideology regarding ancestors incorporated into worldbuilding, and honestly, reading this book was a delight. Lena’s occupation as a mortician was really interesting, and seeing how she worshipped the ancestors was great. 

I love stories about magic, and the magic system in this book is well thought out and, without giving away spoilers, I loved the idea of Chaos and the inclusion of the gods. 

The imagery is beautiful. So evocative and visual and there’s something compelling about the way Kesia Lupo writes. I just had to keep reading. Although it took me over a month to read this (not a reflection on the story—rather I prefer to read fantasy novels over a few weeks to really savour them) I never felt lost when returning to the world after a few days. Instead, the book felt like it was welcoming me with a warm embrace. 

Lupo’s characterisation is great. When books are told in third person, I am often wary. I don’t know why but I find it easier to relate to protagonists if they’re written in first person. But I felt like I knew both Constance and Lena and even though it’s third person, the narrative style was sufficiently different so I didn’t get it mixed up as to whom I was reading. 

Emris, the love interest for Lena, and a man who we know once was something special to Constance, is often the uniting “factor” between the two narratives (just as the butterfly is), indeed bringing the two women together at the end. The chemistry that he has with both Constance and Lena is well-written and believable, and his romance with Lena is gradual, natural, and slow-burning. 

Oh, the villains! Where to start? Lupo is amazing at writing those characters that we just want to hate. But we’re given full backstories for them and understand their motivations for their behaviour, so they don’t feel like token evil characters at all.

And the twist at the end? That had me utterly speechless. I had not seen that coming! 

One of the things I really love is to understand where the title of a book comes from, and I found myself both grinning manically and nodding somewhat wisely when I realised the significance of “We Are Blood and Thunder.” It felt very authentic and well-done. 

This is a great fantasy story and I highly recommend it.
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I enjoyed this and it’s one of the best books I've read in a while. The world building was amazing and it really allowed me to immerse myself into the story. 

One of my favourite things about books is characters that are so complex they feel like real people. Lena and Constance were just that and I wish I could get to know them in real life! 

I honestly wish this was a series, I want more! :)
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I want to thank Netgalley for providing me an Arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book absolutely blew my mind!
I just finished it and honestly I’m feeling so many feelings!

This book is honestly one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve read in so long.
Lena and Constance are two extremely strong women and l loved them as the main characters.
The world building blew me away I could so vividly imagine everything that was being described and felt like I was in the story with them.

The twist in this book nearly killed me because I did not see it coming at all!
Overall amazingly written and a new all time favourite read for me.
If I could give more than 5 stars I would!
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I went into this just expecting a fantasy style YA story about two women whose lives somehow connected. Well I will be blunt and say that from the start it was Lena who grabbed my attention and when the narrative switched to Constance I really wasn’t particularly interested. Now I will freely admit the author won me round and fairly soon I was as interested in what Constance was uncovering as I was the journey that young Lena was undertaking . 
This story revolves around magic and whether or not Gods are real but at its heart it’s really a mystery like no other I have read. With a twist I didn’t see coming this was a fascinating read and one I happily recommend with multilayered characters, surprises and a betrayal that still leaves me reeling.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
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We Are Blood And Thunder is 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.

Lena is a cryptling, living her life in the gloom, one day she makes a discovery that will change her life. Constance is returning to her home, where people survive under a literal cloud, determined to change things. Neither of them know it but they are bound together, their fate inextricably linked.

The writing is beautifully immersive, descriptively wonderful and the plot is adventurous and unexpected. A magical twist and an addictive dark heart seals the deal creating a page turner that you devour in one sitting.

I loved that it was contained, focused and offered a complete story, thoroughly enjoyable from first page to last.

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Wow! Wow! Wow! Where do I even start? I first came to know this book after it made headlines for having a glaringly similar title to another 2018 YA Release. But I am pleased to report that it stands strong as a fantastic YA adventure and a very strong debut!
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I was initially drawn in by the stunning cover and then the amazing premise. Im someone who reads a lot of magic based books but this somehow managed to unique. 
It was great to be immersed in this world and magic system, you definitely felt for the characters.
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In a city sealed for quarantine, Lena is running for her life, she manages to escape but she must learn to trust those who she was brought up to fear, those with magic. Meanwhile Constance is trying to get back in to the city that she grew up in. The city is surrounded by a storm cloud that is not any storm cloud but a spell and its it killing its citizens. These two girls must come together to stop it before its to later, but at what cost.

This book had me hooked from the beginning. The world building was great, in a grey storm cloud world it can be hard to inject anything interesting, and this was done wonderfully. Such rich details of this new world, it was immersing. Lena and Constance are from very different parts of the city, but both as strong as the other.  I grew to love them both very quickly, their back stories were fully  of details and I felt I knew them very well. The secondary characters were also brilliant we got to know them all well, they all had made layers and were integral to the story. The twists in this story were great, just when I was sure I knew what was happening, BAM there’s a twist I did not see coming and it was brilliant. The only down side to this is that I felt the ending, while great, could of been more fleshed out, to see what everyone planned to do after the story ended. Overall this story was excellent and I hope that we get to delve into this world again, there is so many possibilities in this new world
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