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The King's Blood

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The sequel to the acclaimed series launch, The Dragon’s Path, is the perfect summer read for fans of George R. R. Martin. War casts its shadow over the lands that the dragons once ruled. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness. The high and powerful will fall, the despised and broken shall The sequel to the acclaimed series launch, The Dragon’s Path, is the perfect summer read for fans of George R. R. Martin. War casts its shadow over the lands that the dragons once ruled. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness. The high and powerful will fall, the despised and broken shall rise up, and everything will be remade. And quietly, almost beneath the notice of anyone, an old, broken-hearted warrior and an apostate priest will begin a terrible journey with an impossible goal: destroy a Goddess before she eats the world.


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The sequel to the acclaimed series launch, The Dragon’s Path, is the perfect summer read for fans of George R. R. Martin. War casts its shadow over the lands that the dragons once ruled. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness. The high and powerful will fall, the despised and broken shall The sequel to the acclaimed series launch, The Dragon’s Path, is the perfect summer read for fans of George R. R. Martin. War casts its shadow over the lands that the dragons once ruled. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness. The high and powerful will fall, the despised and broken shall rise up, and everything will be remade. And quietly, almost beneath the notice of anyone, an old, broken-hearted warrior and an apostate priest will begin a terrible journey with an impossible goal: destroy a Goddess before she eats the world.

30 review for The King's Blood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Awesome!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Just as brilliant as the first. I love this series. It has everything I'm looking for; not just great characters, but in depth character development. The world building and culture imagined by the author is exceptionally well done. The plot is also complex and we'll crafted. Next!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    The last third of the book really saved this one for me and made me want to continue on with the series. All the action took place in Camnipol and Geder continues his transition to a tyrant bit by bit. Increasingly paranoid and thirsty for power/revenge and control. Looks like his priest friends are going to help him on this path. Even if you get the sense that the priests are using Geder for their own ends. Marcus Wester snoozefest. Didn't really do anything. At least that's how it felt to me. W The last third of the book really saved this one for me and made me want to continue on with the series. All the action took place in Camnipol and Geder continues his transition to a tyrant bit by bit. Increasingly paranoid and thirsty for power/revenge and control. Looks like his priest friends are going to help him on this path. Even if you get the sense that the priests are using Geder for their own ends. Marcus Wester snoozefest. Didn't really do anything. At least that's how it felt to me. Woe is me, I need to find/stay with my "adopted" daughter. There was one nice little twist with his story arc though. Clara was at great POV character and I'm curious to see where her story heads to next. Cithrin was a more compelling character this time around. Partly due to being in the thick of the action. I still don't really like her and have the feeling that if she had a Grandma, she would sell her Grandma to make a few bucks if the investment and return was worthwhile. I'm sticking with the series, but I do hope the next book pulls me in a lot quicker.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    A great second book to the series. There were parts in this book which had that electric feeling the first book as good as it was didn't. Abraham has such a smooth writing style. He's up there with Lynch in being entertaining while character and world building. Clara's character in particular really stepped forward in this book and the end of her final chapter was brilliant. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller

    Much stronger than the first book! I now find myself eager to see where it goes next. RTC! :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mayim de Vries

    “Wars are easier to start than to end, and where they take you is rarely where you intended to go.” In the second entry to The Danger and the Coin series Mr Abraham is down to business and he knows perfectly well where he wants his story to go. Sadly, he stumbles at times as if unsure how to get there; this concerns both the plotting and the pacing. I really, really wanted to give this book 4 stars, the mean reader that I am, in spite of spiders, and dragons, and the most idiotic YA female lead yo “Wars are easier to start than to end, and where they take you is rarely where you intended to go.” In the second entry to The Danger and the Coin series Mr Abraham is down to business and he knows perfectly well where he wants his story to go. Sadly, he stumbles at times as if unsure how to get there; this concerns both the plotting and the pacing. I really, really wanted to give this book 4 stars, the mean reader that I am, in spite of spiders, and dragons, and the most idiotic YA female lead you can imagine. But I cannot. No matter how much I want to. King’s Blood is a great read if you do not pay attention to details like “how come?” and “why” that anchor the plot and the decisions made by the protagonists in something solid. As it is, two of the most pivotal developments in this book happen not only out of the blue but also in clear contradiction to previous character development. This hurts the book more than my personal petty grievances against it. There are five main protagonists whose eyes allow us to trace the main story: Dawson Killiam and his wife Clara nobles of the Imperial Antea, Geder Palliako who finds himself much closer to the Severed Throne than he ever dreamed, Cithrin bel Sarcour, banker by upbringing, alcoholic by vocation and Marcus Wester, a warrior without a cause. All these are in some ways interconnected, and even though not all paths cross and converge, the actions and decisions ripple and have reverberations beyond obvious. “This may sound a bit grandiose.” “Try me.” “I am off to kill a goddess.” While Dawson attempts to save his country, Marcus is burdened with the doomed and inevitable task of saving the world. In fact, both Marcus and Dawson are in a sense mirror reflections of each other with one placing the state on an individual, the other on an idea behind it. The way Marcus allows himself to be tied to Cithrin is the precisely same thing that allows Dawson to liberate himself from poisoned loyalty to the person wearing the royal paraphernalia and yet remain faithful to the ideas that make the difference between betrayal and patriotism. It is interesting to watch their parallel struggles, especially that in some sense, both lead towards a tragedy. “The day I throw you in a ditch and take a company, sir? It’s today.” The problem with Marcus’ POV, in particular, is the pacing; getting Marcus to do what obviously needs to be done and what is apparent from his very first chapter through the long and painfully protracted path of his personal but implausible obsessions with Cithrin didn’t feel honest (yes, that’s the word) enough to justify the obvious attempt to prolong the story. (view spoiler)[ This impression is only reinforced by the fact that after having disappeared for half of the book only to re-emerge out of nowhere, Kit manages miraculously, inexplicably but oh how conveniently find a knowledge and a way to the magical artefact that is needed to continue with the quest. (hide spoiler)] The lameness of this design is not even worth an eye-roll. Nor a facepalm. “You are not a banker. You are an extortionist who got lucky.” Me and Cithrin, we could never be friends. The vibes are not there. I had hopes that perhaps she would grow into a character I could admire and respect, but her keen intellect is her only saving grace. Otherwise, all her traits that could potentially develop into virtues: ambition, audacity (oh, her meeting with Komme Medean!), and an ability to risk everything on a whim turn into her vices. In a sense, I understand the design Mr Abraham seems to have in mind where Cithrin is concerned. It was visible in the way he stripped her of human entanglements, forced her to develop a driving habit within a fortnight and detached from any morality which rendered her capable to buy and sell everything including her own body and soul as long as it brings the profit to her bank. On some plane I found it bizzare that she is the one diagnosing Geder as dangerous because he’s been growing up without a mother. Says a girl who suffered exactly the same fate! But far more important than my personal dislike of her is the fact that, her decisions made at the most pivotal moment of the novel when she is at the heart of an empire that killed and burned down everything that mattered in her life and then changed her just don’t add up. (view spoiler)[Cithrin enters the city of Camnipol overwhelmed and, if not precisely hating it, then feeling unease, anxiety. She knows the army that BURNED everything she loved came from Camnipol. She knows the soldiers that KILLED everyone she loved are around, drinking in the taverns, walking down the streets, etc. We follow her internal monologue and it is as if Abraham winks at us. Next thing you know is: Cithrin saves the Regent. I am sorry but it does not make sense. Especially that it is emphasized this wasn’t calculated (as in banking) but rather something that happened (as in instincts) and Cirthrin has a feeling this happens to a different woman. I have been waiting for the Cithrin - Geder meeting. It was interesting for me whether a) she will recognise in him the man who saved the smuggled good by stealing a handful of gems and then b) add this to the fact that this is also the very same person who burned Vanai to the ground. (hide spoiler)] To be honest, I stopped reading the book at that point and wondered if there is any sense in continuing with the series at all. “The best thing you can say about Geder is he’s the sort of man who makes good enemies.” I admire how Mr Abraham breathes life into his antagonists. Geder gives me shudders and creeps. The way he is guided and yet misguided by nothing more sinister than a desire to be respected and liked. What I liked the most in this arc is how Geder also shows an addiction, yet addiction of a different sort that this eating Cithrin away. The special power within his grasp changes from something of a luxury and an extraordinary measure into a daily tool of governance into something he cannot do without. To watch how something that he used as a tool becomes his master is fascinating. He is in someone else’s war without even realising it or beginning to understand how devastating are the things he set in motion. At the same time, he is far from being a gullible fool to be pitied: There is certain psychopathic quality about him (suffice to mention the scene that so reminded me of Denethor’s conversation with Pippin in the Return of the King in its obnoxious and heartless repugnancy), but at the same time his insecurities are understandable, justifiable even. Who likes when people laugh at them, after all? We all have this jagged crack in the darkest depths of our souls, and what Mr Abrahm shows is what happens when it runs deeper than usual. Luckily, to balance things out, there are also those whose personal integrity, courage, generous heart and discipline shine the brightest when all things fall apart. And the winner in this category is: Clara of course. (view spoiler)[I knew Dawson was going to die from the moment her POV has been introduced in the previous book. It only made sense this way (what is the need to double the perspective otherwise?) and (hide spoiler)] I was really curious what would become of the gentle, noblewoman who marshalled her household the way generals marshal armies. “The wise general leads his army into battle to reshape the world, and so he creates a place which does not need him.” It is obvious that the design is there, but whereas in some places the details are sorted down to the tiniest detail (like cutting through the thumb to seal the contract), in other areas things are blurry enough to allow for naive plot conveniences straight from a story meant for middle-graders. Still, despite these flaws I am happy to say that at this point I am entirely hooked and I intend to continue with the series as soon as… now. And the most important message is this: “It isn’t truth. It’s never truth. It’s certainty.” Also in the series: 1. The Dragon's Path ★★★★☆ 3. The Tyrant's Law ★★★★★ 4. The Widow's House 5. The Spider War

  7. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    'The Kings blood' is the follow-up to 'The Dragons Path', one of the best openings to a series that I've read recently. This book does an admirable job of continuing the story started in that book as it further expands the world and continues the development of the characters introduced already. In this book we see more of the world established in book 1. This world isn't particularly deep or inventive but it is solid and serves as a good backdrop to events. The most unique feature of this world 'The Kings blood' is the follow-up to 'The Dragons Path', one of the best openings to a series that I've read recently. This book does an admirable job of continuing the story started in that book as it further expands the world and continues the development of the characters introduced already. In this book we see more of the world established in book 1. This world isn't particularly deep or inventive but it is solid and serves as a good backdrop to events. The most unique feature of this world is the wide variety of distinct races, however this feature wasn't explored very thoroughly. The majority of characters and all of the POV's, except for 1 who was partially descended from a different race (albeit the race most similar to humans), are human. When this feature was explored I found it difficult to keep track of all the different races. The characters introduced in book 1 continue to be vital to the story with no really notable additions. This relatively small group of characters is something of an oddity in epic fantasy but allows greater focus on these characters. Geder continued to be the most interesting character for me. His rise to power and simultaneous fall to the dark side/spider goddess was a compelling arc. I also thought his interactions with Cithrin were really well-written, even as he progressed from adorably awkward to creepy. However despite still being an intriguing character I was somewhat disappointed with him in this book. Geder's lack of initiative and his dependence on advisors was frustrating, especially compared to the first book where he made some awesome (if kind of evil) independent decisions. The burning of Vanai remains one of the most incredible moves I've ever seen a fantasy protagonist make. I was also disappointed by Dawson in this book. In book 1 I found him a well-written, morally ambiguous character who reminded me of both Ned Stark and one of the scheming, classist nobles from The Wheel of Time. In this book that complexity is absent as he becomes a righteous crusader against a corrupt tyrant and his mysterious, evil advisors. I would have enjoyed his arc more if his enemies hadn't been so obviously evil or if he was motivated by some of his less-heroic beliefs. Instead Dawson is portrayed throughout this book as a noble patriot and the classism and xenophobia he showed in the previous book pretty much disappears. Cithrin really stepped up in this book. The annoying 'orphan on a quest' vibe I got from her in the first half of book 1 was absent and instead we saw more of the shrewd trading and politicking of her later chapters. While her interactions with Geder were well done her scheming never reached the awesome heights we saw while she was setting up and running her bank previously. However her overall arc was much stronger in this book especially compared to other characters. Marcus continued to be my least favourite character in this one. I had hoped that he would put his abilities as a general to use sometime soon to involve the reader in wars more than the series has done so far. Incidentally there were a few chapters which featured a character fighting in a war that were well-written but disappointingly brief. Instead he went on a quest to find a magical sword and destroy the source of evil before it conquers the world (try counting the clichés in that sentence, I dare you). The closest the famous general comes to fighting a battle was a raid on a pirate compound. This was a pretty bland 'fight' that resulted in the deaths of 1 evil pirate and none of Marcus' men. Overall this was an enjoyable continuation of a really good series and I'm excited to see where Abraham takes these plots and characters next.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Kathleen

    Awesome development from the first book. I didn't really like Dawson in The Dragon's Path, but he really developed as a character throughout this book. (view spoiler)[At least before he was so brutally beheaded. (hide spoiler)] Geder is fascinating and so frustrating at the same time, but you can really see the consequences his power has brought to the world. His meeting with (view spoiler)[Cithrin for the second time was hilarious. Very well done convergence of storylines. (hide spoiler)] I'm happ Awesome development from the first book. I didn't really like Dawson in The Dragon's Path, but he really developed as a character throughout this book. (view spoiler)[At least before he was so brutally beheaded. (hide spoiler)] Geder is fascinating and so frustrating at the same time, but you can really see the consequences his power has brought to the world. His meeting with (view spoiler)[Cithrin for the second time was hilarious. Very well done convergence of storylines. (hide spoiler)] I'm happy to see Marcus (view spoiler)[branching out on his own. His and Master Kit's story sounds promising and Master Kit has revealed a few details about the super mysterious priests. I knew there was something fishy about them. (hide spoiler)] Cithrin was just as great as in the first one, but the character who really grew on me the most was Clara and based on the last lines she said, I'm sure she is going to play a major role in the next book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I liked this better than the first one, especially at the end. This was bound to happen since I’m spending so much time with these characters, and Abraham is a consistent, talented writer. The first half continued a lot of the issues I had with the first book, though, so I can’t really give this four stars. Maybe the third book will earn it? It’s been a little over a year since the start of the series. Geder Palliako has gone from social pariah to Lord Regent of Antea. Cithrin is still at her Ban I liked this better than the first one, especially at the end. This was bound to happen since I’m spending so much time with these characters, and Abraham is a consistent, talented writer. The first half continued a lot of the issues I had with the first book, though, so I can’t really give this four stars. Maybe the third book will earn it? It’s been a little over a year since the start of the series. Geder Palliako has gone from social pariah to Lord Regent of Antea. Cithrin is still at her Bank in Porte Oliva, but the bank has foisted upon her a notary who has basically taken all control out of Cithrin’s hands. She decides to seek out the head of the Medean bank and win him over so she can get at least some control of her bank back. While she’s away, civil war comes to Antea and Marcus just about loses his mind with worry over her, so Yardem kind of sort of betrays him so he doesn’t do something stupid. This leads Marcus to team up with Master Kit, who reveals to him that he’s a former priest of the spider goddess and enlists him in his quest to destroy her and prevent the priests from remaking the world. Also, Dawson Kalliam is the one who starts the civil war because he realizes that Geder is being controlled by the priests. This leads to a chain of events that culminate in Geder meeting Cithrin, and ends (view spoiler)[ with Dawson’s death. (hide spoiler)] Really, a whole bunch of stuff happens in this book. It actually moves quite quickly plotwise for a fantasy novel. The problem is I still find myself emotionally distant from everything that’s happening. His writing is so understated and bloodless at times that even exciting events are muffled for me. I will probably continue out the series, but it’s not going to be on my favorites or anything like that. At the very least, it’s interesting. [3.5 stars]

  10. 5 out of 5

    Neil McGarry

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. **Here be spoilers. Read accordingly.** Let me say at the start that I really wanted to like The King's Blood, and the series of which it is the second part, The Dagger and the Coin. I like Abraham's focus on characters, something you don't see very much in fantasy, and his willingness to alter the story in interesting ways. In The Dragon's Path, for example, I loved when Cithrin stops trying to be an adventurer and starts acting like a banker. That's the work of an author who's thinking about hi **Here be spoilers. Read accordingly.** Let me say at the start that I really wanted to like The King's Blood, and the series of which it is the second part, The Dagger and the Coin. I like Abraham's focus on characters, something you don't see very much in fantasy, and his willingness to alter the story in interesting ways. In The Dragon's Path, for example, I loved when Cithrin stops trying to be an adventurer and starts acting like a banker. That's the work of an author who's thinking about his characters, and not just a Dungeon Master shoehorning the PCs into the mold necessary for the grand quest. However, in my view there are some significant flaws in this story, and in its predecessor, so forgive me if I reference both in this review. Scale: The story spends an awful lot of time on small matters and relegates to the background more momentous events. In the space of 400 pages Antea loses a king, gains a lord regent, conquers a neighboring nation and puts down a rebellion, and yet in that same space Marcus Wester does little except pine over Cithrin and get kidnapped. It's as if Abraham wants to chronicle large events only so they can impact his characters, and otherwise gives them short shrift. He can certainly take that route, of course – it's been done successfully before – but if so he should spend no narrative effort on them. Instead, these world-shaking events get enough attention to take up the reader's time, but not enough to grab his interest...the worst of both worlds. World-building: The world of The Dagger and the Coin feels oddly empty, as if the only occurrences that matter are the ones caused by the main characters. Only Dawson Kalliam or Geder Palliako affect the Antean political situation; the other nobles and power brokers are mere background and do not complicate the characters' actions in any meaningful way. Ideally, characters should appear in a world that is moving all around them, and their choices should be influenced or opposed even by the actions of minor characters. Information: Abraham sometimes isn't very elegant in the way he conveys information. For example, in the first chapter of The Dragon's Path, the reader is subjected to a long list of the thirteen races of man, with accompanying odd names like Jasuru and Tralgu, etc., all before the reader has had a chance to invest in the world. I find that the "sand beneath your feet" approach works better; that is, don't describe the entire beach the minute the reader steps off the sidewalk. Tell her about each race as she encounters it, and not before. Abraham instead goes for the info-dump, which is never fun to read. Pace: Every chapter of a novel should either advance the story or tell us something new about the characters, and ideally both. A chapter in which we learn for the fourth time that Marcus Wester is not over the deaths of his family and that he views Cithrin as his adoptive daughter does neither. There is too much of this in The King's Blood, and also in its predecessor; indeed, I think the first third of The Dragon's Path could have been cut out and its contents sown throughout the remaining two-thirds of the novel. The Big Story: I understand that Master Kit, or the apostate if you prefer, hates the spider goddess and wants her dead. Why should I care? Dawson doesn't. Cithrin doesn't. Hell, even Marcus, who reluctantly joins Kit's quest for the Sword That Can Make Things Right, doesn't really care either. He goes along because he has nothing better to do. Sure, the spider goddess's priests are up to no good in Antea, but nobody from Antea is on the quest anyway, so what of it? It's as if Gandalf recruited the Fellowship of the Ring from a temp agency; the members have all the requisite skills but no personal commitment to the cause. Also, it's probably not advisable to introduce The Major Quest two-thirds of the way through the second book of a trilogy. In The Lord of the Rings everyone knows from the get-go that Sauron is really, really bad, and that knowledge guides everything the characters do. In The King's Blood, Master Kit reveals the dread spider goddess to exactly one person who shrugs and says, "What the hell...joining your mad quest beats being chained up in a pigeon coop." That attitude doesn't inspire much dramatic interest, nor does it bode well for the success of the mission. Finally, let's-get-the-gadget-to-defeat-the-foozle is an old, old, trope, and I was disappointed to discover it in The King's Blood. Perhaps Abraham will do something interesting with it, but lampshading it by having Marcus remark on the trope is not interesting. As I said, I think there's some good stuff in here, but I think Abraham needs to evaluate just what that is and cut out the rest. Personally, I could read an entire book just about Cithrin's rise to power in the Medean Bank, and how she defeats the spider goddess by devaluing her infernal stock portfolio. I wonder if Abraham will consider writing that one?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ranting Dragon

    http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o... At the opening of The King’s Blood, we find ourselves back in the remains of the Dragon Empire and the world of the Thirteen Races of Humanity. Geder Palliako is suddenly an important figure in the Antean Court, with the mysterious Spider Priests at his side. Kalliam Dawson, a noble of the old order, works to maintain the tradition of the court while Cithrin bel Sacour struggles to hold on to her branch of the Medean Bank, and Captain Marcus Wester, haunte http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o... At the opening of The King’s Blood, we find ourselves back in the remains of the Dragon Empire and the world of the Thirteen Races of Humanity. Geder Palliako is suddenly an important figure in the Antean Court, with the mysterious Spider Priests at his side. Kalliam Dawson, a noble of the old order, works to maintain the tradition of the court while Cithrin bel Sacour struggles to hold on to her branch of the Medean Bank, and Captain Marcus Wester, haunted by his past, works to redeem himself through his protection of the young banker. Intrigue, magic, and blood follow in the second installment of The Dagger and The Coin series. Like a flower, blooming The Dragon’s Path was such a success because Abraham, in his skill and knowledge of the genre, took his time in revealing his world to us. He began in medias res, and as the novel grew, so did our understanding of the world. Much like that deliberate pace and reveal, The King’s Blood continues this slow gift of information as, chapter by chapter, our understanding of this world grows. Don’t expect an answer to every mystery, but know that some light will be shed on The Dragon Empire, The Spider Goddess, and more. Pulling no punches Personally, one of the biggest strengths I find in The Dagger and the Coin series is how Abraham is not afraid of posing big questions or challenges to his characters and therefore to his readers. He never presents an easy road for either party, and half the enjoyment of the book is in watching the characters navigate the tangle of larger-than-life questions. Is truth subjective? When is it right to go to war, if it ever is? When do you give up and when do you fight? Abraham throws these questions and more at his characters. Watching how they react will not only fascinate you, it will make you think as well. Character is king What makes this one of the strongest secondary world fantasies being published today, though, is not the immensity of its worldbuilding or its fascination with big questions, but rather the complexity of its characters. Abraham has created wonderful, strong, incredibly flawed characters, and watching them evolve through this second book is certainly one of the highlights. He allows them to be, well, human. Even the most noble of characters, Kalliam Dawson, is not immune to spite or fear. Watching and hoping a character will make the right choice is all the more devastating when they do not. Feelings such as pain, spite, greed, and fear color the characters beyond simple shades of gray and create characters who, despite scales or wings or pelts, make for some of the most human characters out there. Why you should read this The King’s Blood is a triumph of secondary world fantasy, continuing to reveal a complex world with amazing, three-dimensional characters. Daniel Abraham is not afraid to push his characters or his readers to the edge, and even when he rewards you, it may still be bittersweet. If you enjoyed the first book, or if you’re looking for a new fantasy series to get into, The King’s Blood and The Dagger and the Coin are well worth your time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    As I may not be able to do a full FBC rv close to the US publication date, I will try to have a longer "raw thoughts" review here. The book is secondary world fantasy at its best and in addition it has a writing style quite above the usual "utility English" of the genre; maybe not quite at (the top of) literary fiction levels (see Hari Kunzru's Gods without Men for recent such), but close, while pretty much all the things that I would mark as negatives come from the nature of the genre rather tha As I may not be able to do a full FBC rv close to the US publication date, I will try to have a longer "raw thoughts" review here. The book is secondary world fantasy at its best and in addition it has a writing style quite above the usual "utility English" of the genre; maybe not quite at (the top of) literary fiction levels (see Hari Kunzru's Gods without Men for recent such), but close, while pretty much all the things that I would mark as negatives come from the nature of the genre rather than from the author. I would try to avoid spoilers so I will talk only a little about the storyline, just to mention that it is a direct continuation of The Dragon's Path and a lot of things happen by the end of the novel (at a good stopping point with no cliffhangers but not much global resolution beyond tbc either - in this sense the first two volumes of the intended 5 book series are truly volume 1/2 of a huge novel) The structure is similar with Dragon's Path and features POV chapters from Cithrin, Dawson, Clara, Geder and Marcus with interludes from Master Kit. As mentioned lots of things happen including intrigues, conspiracies, wars, pirates, deaths of named characters, while the world is expanded to some extent and the roles of the 13 races are made a little bit clearer here, though again mostly regular humans aka "firstbloods" are of importance (and Cithrin of course who is half-blood Cinnae but much closer to her firstblood half by upbringing) There is an appendix written from the pov of a scholar of one the "superior bloods' (of course he would claim that...) and discussing the 13 races, while many secondary characters - some new, some old and some who may become important later appear and some have really great moments The pages turn by themselves and I literally could not put the book down and read it in one very long sitting, but i expect to revisit the world and probably reread Dragon Path too soon. I put 2 paragraphs below in spoiler tags as they discuss my expectations about some characters in future volumes - this implies said characters will be part of future volumes (though I would say that is not a surprise from the way the series is structured); other than that (showing that these characters survive), no real spoilers, but still read this at your choice (view spoiler)[ As for the main 5 POV characters I would say that all but Marcus truly shine in this novel - Marcus has little to do for most of the book, give or take a confrontation with pirates, but his storyline starts getting interesting towards the end. The only major qualm I have is that in future volumes the author will do a "Fall of Thanes" with Geder who together with Cithrin (clearly marked as "the" heroine so far, so there no worries and I expect her only to grow and deepen) is the most interesting character imho (you can look my review of Fall of Thanes but in essence one of the main characters of that series - Godless World/B. Ruckley - who was very interesting in the first two volumes as a conflicted "villain" but also driver of action becomes a pure caricature with scenes like the Emperor and Luke in the last original Star Wars movie that are truly laughable and I hated that transformation from a nuanced and deep character to a cartoon villain) (hide spoiler)] As for negatives - as mentioned mostly due to genre - the book like most sff is about politics and the organization of society and like most fantasy it is a retrograde such where "what is your blood" counts more than anything else outside of specific commercial cities - true that say Geder who is minor nobility raises himself with luck and a strong dose of magic, but he is still noble - nobility and blood with the role of women very traditional in the "high society" - again the lower and commercial classes are different but over 60% of the book is about the nobility, a bit smaller world building than expected and occasionally feeling like a sandbox - but ultimately the novel captivated me again and showed that great writing and characters and a reasonably well thought secondary world (with the caveats above) still can keep me interested in traditional fantasy despite my feeling of "exhausting the genre" in the last 4 years. A few more thoughts - the book also has an elegant rather than visceral feel and consequently the more emotional moments are still cerebral to a large extent rather than pure emotion and the action flows naturally rather than twisting and turning - here I tend to prefer the more visceral feel and the twists and turns with "what..?" moments, but as that is a pure personal preference, I would not count it against the book especially that it executes so well in these two categories (elegant style, natural story lines) All in all King's Blood was the first 2012 fantasy that satisfied my expectations and of course it will have a place on my top 25 list of the year and i hope the series will continue to keep this extremely high standards all the way - i also believe that there is scope and depth for 5 books though I expect considerably more universe expansion

  13. 5 out of 5

    Molybdenum

    In many good series, often we see the first book is needed to set up the characters and the world, and the second book this foundation can be used to really have them develop and interact. What happens is the events of the novels start to take their toll on the characters, and all the fluff they build around themselves is pulled away. This is what happens in The King's Blood. The Dragon's Path introduced us to young protege banker, awkward minor nobleman scholar who happens to fall into power, st In many good series, often we see the first book is needed to set up the characters and the world, and the second book this foundation can be used to really have them develop and interact. What happens is the events of the novels start to take their toll on the characters, and all the fluff they build around themselves is pulled away. This is what happens in The King's Blood. The Dragon's Path introduced us to young protege banker, awkward minor nobleman scholar who happens to fall into power, stuffy nobleman and wife, and former army captain with tortured path. The characters were carved out for us in great detail and the story was introduced. But in this second book, the events cause the labels to be thrown away, and we see who each of them really are. And at it's heart, the Dagger and the Coin series is primarily a character study. So as a result what keeps the reader turning the page is not "What is going to happen next?," but rather "How is this event going to affect the character(s)?" The characters leave the comfy confines of race and standing and are instead caused to face a decision that gets to the heart of who they are: Fight or flight? And I think they'd be surprised themselves at which each of them choose. One interesting thing about the book is the magic system is only used by the villians (with one exception), and is inherently one that is underestimated. So the reader can see trouble coming before the characters, which builds the anticipation for how the characters are going to react when that storm comes. Related to this, often events are shown from one characters POV that will have a major impact on other characters, so there is anticipation on how the characters are going to react in that sense as well, and this is what provides most of the book's suspense. The King's Blood is character building at its finest. The characters are all flawed yet sympathetic in various degrees, so they are all real yet still cause the reader to attach emotionally. For anyone who loves characters, and interactions, and how major events can refine and develop a personality, you are going to absolutely love this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark Halse

    This series keeps getting better and better! I gave the first book four stars as well but only because it was very well written. I didn't feel like it would be one of my all time fav rereads however with book two this series is starting to really grow on me. I'm still a little confused about a few things. For instance, I wish the thirteen races would be explained a little more. Right when I think I really know a character I realize that they have tusks or dragon scales! Superficial, I know but w This series keeps getting better and better! I gave the first book four stars as well but only because it was very well written. I didn't feel like it would be one of my all time fav rereads however with book two this series is starting to really grow on me. I'm still a little confused about a few things. For instance, I wish the thirteen races would be explained a little more. Right when I think I really know a character I realize that they have tusks or dragon scales! Superficial, I know but whether or not a character has a tail is important to me. I mean books ARE the theater of the mind for fuck's sake. Other than a few shades ambiguity this book is awesome. Cithrin is still a cold, alcoholic bore, Marcus Wester is still a badass waste of space and Geder is still the most interesting character. What a little terror that Geder is shaping up to be. Absolutely a great read if you like your fantasy epic, far reaching and twisted. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I believe I found another series to add to my favourite shelf! This one is superb!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Now that I have finished this story, I have to say that I am a little bit disappointed. We had some character growth in characters like Geder and Cithrin, but that is it. I was expecting a big part of the this novel to focus on the Spider Goddess and her plans to take over the world and the was nothing. Not even a hint of anything new. The story itself carried on where we left off, but in all honesty, it kind of just mosied on down the river, picking up some small insignificant character story a Now that I have finished this story, I have to say that I am a little bit disappointed. We had some character growth in characters like Geder and Cithrin, but that is it. I was expecting a big part of the this novel to focus on the Spider Goddess and her plans to take over the world and the was nothing. Not even a hint of anything new. The story itself carried on where we left off, but in all honesty, it kind of just mosied on down the river, picking up some small insignificant character story arcs to tell, but all in all, when we think about it, we haven't progressed a huge amount with any of the (what I expected to be) main storyline. It is still a well told story, I really do like the way Abraham crafts his words, he is certainly by no means a lazy writer, but his pace can be a tad slow at times I know there is another two books to go, so my expectations are much much higher for book 3 now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emelia

    Pardon me, but bloody hell this is a great series ! I can't put the books down ! RTC when I am done with them all. On to book 3

  18. 4 out of 5

    Saleh MoonWalker

    Onvan : The King's Blood (The Dagger and the Coin, #2) - Nevisande : Daniel Abraham - ISBN : 1841498890 - ISBN13 : 9781841498898 - Dar 501 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2012

  19. 4 out of 5

    Algernon

    [9/10] The second book in the Dagger and Coin epic by Daniel Abraham builds on the strong foundation established in The Dragon Path and continues to impress me with the attention to detail in character development and in political powerplays. The story is told through the eyes of Cithrin Bel Sarcour, Geder Palliako, Dawson Kalliam, Clara Kalliam and Marcus Wester, familiar faces already. Despite several chapters set in Porte Oliva, Asterihold or Carse, most of the plot is concentrated in Camnipo [9/10] The second book in the Dagger and Coin epic by Daniel Abraham builds on the strong foundation established in The Dragon Path and continues to impress me with the attention to detail in character development and in political powerplays. The story is told through the eyes of Cithrin Bel Sarcour, Geder Palliako, Dawson Kalliam, Clara Kalliam and Marcus Wester, familiar faces already. Despite several chapters set in Porte Oliva, Asterihold or Carse, most of the plot is concentrated in Camnipol, capital city of Antea and the nexus of the struggle for power involving the insecure Geder, the inflexible Dawson, the bank interests represented by Cithrin and the mysterious outsider cult of the Spider Goddess led by Basrahip. I still love Cithrin best of all, she's easy to root for, with her youth and ambition, her cunning and sometimes impulsive decisions. Daniel Abraham gave her the key speech in this book, in a fireside debate about nobility and commoners and the relative worth of each - the "Coin" engine of the overall plot: If you mixed us all together, you wouldn't see a difference. That's why everyone hates bankers so much. A wise loan can make a poor man rich. An unwise one can unmake the powerful. We're the ones who can move the coins from one side to the other, and we take our living from doing it. We're agents of change, and the people with the most to lose are right to fear us. The "Dagger" part of the epic is driven forward mostly by Geder as he acquires more power, apparently thrown into his lap by external circumstances and serving to exarcebate his paranoia. His inferiority complex translates in open warfare with both his neighbors and the local nobility: The best you can say about Geder is he's the sort of man who makes good enemies. While Abraham takes pains to paint him as good intentioned and to find justifications for his reprehensible actions, at least in his own eyes, he comes off as the bad guy again, responsible for most of the blood shed in the book. Of the other points of view used here, Marcus Wester has some good scenes, but plays a lesser role, on the outskirts of the main plot, compared to his presence in the opening book. The Kalliams get a lot more exposure, they are convincing but hold less appeal to me, for reasons I will try to explain next. The single complaint I could think of about the series is the obvious influence of George R R Martin and his Song of Ice and Fire epic. The dragons than once ruled the world, the violence that leaves no one safe, the "shocking" plot twists, the likable bad guys, the intense political fighting: all remind me of Westeros, leaving Abraham's other series (Long Price) the more original and the more lyrical in prose. Dawson and Clara Kalliam were the two characters that I felt owed more to Martin than any others, with clear reference to Ned and Catelyn Stark. I could say more about the similarities involving the duo, but I can't without spoilers. On the worlbuilding side, I have now a clearer image of the twelve humanoid races and more background information on the history and religion of the world, but a lot was left for the next books with most of the action, as I already mentioned, concentrated on Camnipol. I have high hopes for the developments involving Master Kit the actor, and look forward to the next installment. Daniel Abraham has been consistent in output and in overall quality so far, so 2013 looks like a good bet for book three.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ross

    I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, as I have book 3 sitting right beside me. The King’s Blood picks up right where The Dragon’s Path left off. The dreaded “middle book syndrome” isn’t a concern here. Abraham knows the story he is telling, and nothing feels out of place or rushed. The characters all have a life of their own, and the series is starting to grow in scale. There were several memorable scenes in this second volume and one event in particular came as a shock. Daniel Abraham has mad I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, as I have book 3 sitting right beside me. The King’s Blood picks up right where The Dragon’s Path left off. The dreaded “middle book syndrome” isn’t a concern here. Abraham knows the story he is telling, and nothing feels out of place or rushed. The characters all have a life of their own, and the series is starting to grow in scale. There were several memorable scenes in this second volume and one event in particular came as a shock. Daniel Abraham has made it clear that no characters are safe, and the unexpected danger feels real. Little humor combined with war and conflict should appeal to fans of dark fantasy, but Cithrin adds some light to an otherwise darker tone. The cast remains small for book 2 which is both frustrating and rewarding at the same time. The plus side of a small cast allows the reader to really bond with the characters, but one more POV character would have been most welcomed. I hope that in the next volume we get a new perspective, even two wouldn’t hurt. The strange Spider Cult is also kept under wraps which is frustrating because to be honest, they don’t sound that bad! There are undertones hinting that this cult has bad intentions, but for the most part the reader is kept in the dark about their intentions. The slow decent into corruption that Geder experiences is quite fascinating to read, and Abraham has done a stellar job in developing his character from book worm to tyrant. There isn’t a whole lot more I could add to what has already been said. This is a series to watch, and while it still feels somewhat generic, it is a rich world that any fantasy fan will enjoy. Book 3 here I come!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    This was a good follow up to The Dragon's Path. I enjoyed the pace of this book more than the first. The story is developing well, and the characters are starting to take on a life of their own. Cithrin is striving to prove her worth to the Medean Bank and find her place in the world. Geder is given a position of power that he doesn’t deserve and not equipped to handle. Dawson the loyal nobleman trying to keep his country from being torn apart from within. Marcus begins a journey that borders on t This was a good follow up to The Dragon's Path. I enjoyed the pace of this book more than the first. The story is developing well, and the characters are starting to take on a life of their own. Cithrin is striving to prove her worth to the Medean Bank and find her place in the world. Geder is given a position of power that he doesn’t deserve and not equipped to handle. Dawson the loyal nobleman trying to keep his country from being torn apart from within. Marcus begins a journey that borders on the edge of crazy, if not impossible. We are beginning to see more of Kit’s perspective in this book, along with Clara Kalliam (Dawson’s wife). Kit is an actor hired by Marcus in the first book to act as guard to the caravan he and Cithrin were traveling in. But Kit has his own past that he must now face. I believe these characters will be central to the story moving forward. The main focus in this book is on Imperial Antea. This is where all the action is happening. It also happens to be where the priests of the Spider Goddess have made their temple. Who are these priests you ask? They are the speakers of thruth….so they say. This book had a little bit of everything in it: war, rebellion, betrayal, love, hate, suspense, craziness. The story is heading down a dark and dangerous road. I am really anxious to see where it leads.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    Στο δεύτερο μέρος υπάρχουν κάποιες ενδιαφέρουσες εξελίξεις - οι οποίες κάτι μας θυμίζουν άλλες μη το κάνουμε θέμα - που τουλάχιστον μου δίνουν κίνητρο για να φτάσω την ανάγνωση της σειράς ως το τέλος. Δεν αποδίδονται και άσχημα από το συγγραφέα αλλά και πάλι δεν κάνουν το βιβλίο τόσο συναρπαστικό ώστε να μην θέλεις να το αφήσεις. Εντάξει, όμως, δεν είναι απαραίτητο ότι διαβάζουμε να είναι τέλειο και αυτή η σειρά ως τώρα νομίζω στέκεται σε πολύ καλό επίπεδο ώστε να μην είναι χάσιμο χρόνου η ανάγν Στο δεύτερο μέρος υπάρχουν κάποιες ενδιαφέρουσες εξελίξεις - οι οποίες κάτι μας θυμίζουν άλλες μη το κάνουμε θέμα - που τουλάχιστον μου δίνουν κίνητρο για να φτάσω την ανάγνωση της σειράς ως το τέλος. Δεν αποδίδονται και άσχημα από το συγγραφέα αλλά και πάλι δεν κάνουν το βιβλίο τόσο συναρπαστικό ώστε να μην θέλεις να το αφήσεις. Εντάξει, όμως, δεν είναι απαραίτητο ότι διαβάζουμε να είναι τέλειο και αυτή η σειρά ως τώρα νομίζω στέκεται σε πολύ καλό επίπεδο ώστε να μην είναι χάσιμο χρόνου η ανάγνωση.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Pretty darn good second book in the series although you can't start with this one. You must read the strong first book The Dragon's Path. This series is excellent and surprising it has not gotten more attention. See Conor's review for a great synopsis: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Great characters that keep you interested. 4 Stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    4.5 This book elicited more emotion from me than I was expecting. Great characters and story. The only thing this book was missing for me was great action scenes, but every other aspect of it was top-notch.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Badiu

    Mi-a plăcut continuarea poveștii. Mi-a plăcut simbolul cercului și a lumii care se rotește în cerc. La fel ca și destinul oamenilor. Mi-a plăcut desfășurarea liniștită, implacabilă a poveștii și ideea că faptele de acum generează consecințele de mai târziu.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Tricky: last 20%=5; 45-80%=4; The first 45% 2-3 stars. I'm rounding to 3! I like Clara, Marcus, Kit and Cithrin grew on me just as Geder began annoying me. I enjoyed her description of him. I'm reading straight on and hoping the five star feeling continues.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Ross

    Daniel Abraham is one of my must-read authors. I reckon his Long Price Quartet to be the finest work of modern fantasy I've yet read, and his current sci-fi and urban fantasy series are coming along nicely too. Yes, he's prolific, and, even better, he writes fast - a new book a year for each series. No long waits. This book is the second in the Dagger And Coin Quintet, his first attempt at a more traditional form of fantasy, and as such is still settling in. The first book was promising, if a bi Daniel Abraham is one of my must-read authors. I reckon his Long Price Quartet to be the finest work of modern fantasy I've yet read, and his current sci-fi and urban fantasy series are coming along nicely too. Yes, he's prolific, and, even better, he writes fast - a new book a year for each series. No long waits. This book is the second in the Dagger And Coin Quintet, his first attempt at a more traditional form of fantasy, and as such is still settling in. The first book was promising, if a bit uneven. This one follows the same four characters, Cithrin, Geder, Dawson and Marcus, plus one extra, Dawson's wife Clara. Cithrin is the figurehead for her bank, but kept on a short leash by the bank's notary, Pyk, who has an unimaginative risk-averse strategy and a strong personal dislike of Cithrin. Marcus is still a guard with a history. Geder has accidentally reversed into a position of great influence. Dawson is still a traditionalist nobleman and friend of the king. Clara is still the smart woman behind the public figure of her husband. These last three are involved in the political machinations surrounding Aster, the king's son and heir, in Camnipol. Meanwhile, Master Kit, an apparently minor character in the previous book, is following his own agenda against the spider goddess. Like most fantasy, this one takes a while to get going. The early chapters are reflective, and work well to set the scene as well as gently reminding the reader of the events of the previous book. I never felt at a loss, wondering who a character was or what was being referred to. The writing style is elegantly spare, with some nicely lyrical flourishes that never seem overblown. This is a writer at the very top of his game (did I mention I'm a big fan?). Even so, the slow pace early on is a bit of a turn-off. I'm not mad keen on the current fad for named point of view chapters; it's all too easy to turn the page and think: hmm, another chapter about X, and put the book down. But after the initial settling in phase, things begin to get going and the pace picks up nicely, and somewhere around the midpoint, the proverbial hits the whatsit and all hell breaks loose. The world-building is a little less perfunctory in this book. For the first time, there seems to be some real depth and structure to the various nations, so that the few cities which have a role seem less like islands in the midst of vast expanses of nothing very much. There is some attempt, too, to expand on the various races (the original First Bloods, and the twelve races created by the dragons long ago to fulfil various roles). I still get them mixed up, mind you, but it doesn't seem to matter much, and it was nice to see the Drowned close up (I have a suspicion they're going to be important). There are some hints about the dragons themselves, too, and what happened to them. There is also plenty of description of places and little snippets of history, which work very well to illuminate the author's created world without becoming too heavy on the info-dump scale. We also get to see a little more of the religion (or cult, maybe?) of the spider goddess, and there are some moments here that are truly chilling. I feel the slightest tinge of disappointment that Abraham, a man of infinitely fertile imagination, has plonked his characters into such a conventional world. Even though he set out from the start to create a more traditional form, this is very much the off-the-shelf fantasy world - a patriarchal society where men rule and plot and fight as kings and dukes and soldiers, women stay home and raise families and broker marriage deals, slaves do a lot of the work, and virginity is prized in a bride. Beyond the nobility and wealthy, fortunately, there is more variety, and the economic element (the coin of the series title) introduces a different perspective. Within the banking world, for instance, women can and do take an equal part in affairs (as Cithrin demonstrates). And it has to be said that so far the author has done a very good job of pointing out the deficiencies of a hereditary patriarchal system, which throws up a fair number of idiots and incompetents, thrusts unsuitable people into roles of great power, sometimes entirely by accident, and wastes fifty percent of its resources by leaving them sitting at home with their embroidery. It's also a system which doesn't seem to leave many options apart from war or not-war. There are three more books in the series for him to make his point (or not) on this, so I'll reserve judgment until it's done. The characters always felt like real, rounded personalities, and that is even more true now. Geder, in particular, is one to ponder. I've no doubt readers will be arguing for years about his peculiar mix of naivité, insecurity and sudden bursts of vicious cruelty, but Cithrin and Marcus also have abrupt swings between common sense and reckless stupidity. Dawson I still find dull, and although Clara has her moments, she has too little to do here to really shine. Even the minor roles have great depth, and you really feel that they have lives outside the confines of the story, where they just get on with things until their arcs intersect with the main plotlines once more. Abraham has an amazing ability to show both the good and bad in people, so that even someone like Pyk, the notary, or the pirate, either of whom could have been made into a caricature mini-villain, are given complex motivation which brings them perilously close to being sympathetic. All the characters behave in believable ways, and if occasionally you feel the author's hand nudging them along so that they meet up at convenient times, that's acceptable, I think. I found the politics of the first book quite confusing - so many odd names and titles and nations and shifting allegiances, and the difficulty of not knowing quite who's important and who is just passing through for a chapter or two. This one is much easier to follow, although whether this is the author's surer hand or just comes from greater familiarity with the story I can't say. But Abraham has an uncanny ability to toss up the difficult questions. Is a decision right just because it seems logical? Where exactly does (or should) loyalty lie? Who can you ever trust? Which is the greater power, military might or money (the fundamental question of the series)? The hazy boundaries between truth and faith and certainty. And then there's the matter of unintended consequences - in the last book, it was the events at Vanai that changed everything, this time it's Dawson's conscience that spirals out of control. And as always Abraham shows us both sides of every equation, so that there is no black or white, no good or evil, only people doing the best they can with whatever they have to work with, and trying to do what seems right at the time. Sometimes it turns out well, and sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it's impossible to tell, and sometimes you just wonder, what on earth were they thinking? (Cithrin, I'm looking at you here.) And yet in all sorts of ways it makes sense. Abraham is often compared with George R R Martin, which is probably unfair to both authors, and I suspect arises largely because they are personal friends. In reality, they are very different writers. Martin has larger than life characters, a cast of thousands, a depressing hyper-medieval setting and a sprawling mess of tangled plotlines spilling over two continents and numerous doorstopper volumes. Abraham populates his books with believably realistic characters, a tightly woven plot and a deeply intelligent sub-text. If Martin were a painter, he would be hurling great sweeps of colour over the entire gallery wall; Abraham would be more of an oil on canvas man, painstakingly building the layers, every brushstroke placed with considered precision. I love them both in their different ways. A better comparison for this series is with The Long Price Quartet, Abraham's much admired debut work, and no, this doesn't quite reach those heights of awesomeness. The Dragon's Path was a good, promising start to the series, and The King's Blood is better, an excellent next step, but not quite extraordinary. For me, fantasy is about the otherness of a world that is alien, not like ours, and where the differences emerge - the spider priests, the cunning men, the lost dragons, that tantalising glimpse of the Drowned - the book is spine-tinglingly good. There are moments, too, when the characters step outside the boundaries and do something quite unexpected (well, unexpected to me, anyway, although always within the parameters of their natures), and these too raise the book to a different level. However, the conventional nature of the setting is too commonplace to be interesting; there's nothing surprising about men waving swords around while women stitch, and I do like to be surprised. Nor do the characters draw me in. Geder, of course, is fascinating, in a horrifying way, and Cithrin and Marcus are interesting too; Dawson and Clara not so much (I hope Clara has more to do in later books, since she has potential). But none of them really resonate with me (by which I mean, do I care what happens to them? and the answer is no, not a great deal, not yet). More worryingly, the book never pulled me into that desperate got-to-know-what-happens-next state; even at the height of the Camnipol mayhem, it was just too easy to put the book down (partly those pesky chapters named after characters, I suppose - it just breaks the tension). So no staying up till 3am to finish it. The final few chapters were a bit choppy, too, because of the need to tie up loose ends and set the pieces in place for the next book. Having said all that, these are trivial complaints and this is still way better than the vast majority of fantasy around these days. It's not high on action, but what there is makes sense and has consequences that have to be dealt with. Abraham's elegant prose is a pleasure to read, the tight plotting is masterful, and the characters have a very human mixture of intelligence and idiocy, common sense and irrational impulse, completely believable. As always, there is a raft of thought-provoking ideas here for those who want them, particularly in the latter half of the book. I have every confidence that (as with The Long Price) each individual book in the series will be even better than the one before. A good four stars. Highly recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    One of the occasionally frustrating things about Goodreads is when I look at a good book and see how few people have read it. Since reading Abraham's The Long Price Quartet, I feel this about him a lot. Only 2,000 ratings? This can't do! Meanwhile, books that I find far inferior get rated high and read in the five or six digits range. Even just judging other stuff within the SF/F genre, it really is regrettably underappreciated. When I read the first book in this particular series, I took it as a One of the occasionally frustrating things about Goodreads is when I look at a good book and see how few people have read it. Since reading Abraham's The Long Price Quartet, I feel this about him a lot. Only 2,000 ratings? This can't do! Meanwhile, books that I find far inferior get rated high and read in the five or six digits range. Even just judging other stuff within the SF/F genre, it really is regrettably underappreciated. When I read the first book in this particular series, I took it as a sign that maybe I'd been reading a little too much fantasy, because it was all blending together in my head. I liked the book, but it didn't wow me. This second book is much more of a wow. This is now the third series of Abraham's where I've experienced this - liked the first book well enough but appreciated what he was doing more after reading the second. The first book was good, if a little paint by numbers fantasy. It's more of its own thing now. The most unique thing about the series is the apparent villain, Geder. The guy's descent from incompetent, over-his-head idiot into a full-blown tyrannical dictator is a fascinating thing, because we get to see it all from his point of view as well as from the outside. It's natural when reading a new book to try to relate it to something you've seen before - and other characters in the series certainly have their analogues in other fantasy series in my mind - but there's no "seen this before" to Geder. The way the cowardice and the insecurity isolate him, the way the power instantly corrupts him, the way a sociopathic mind works. The way he's quick to justify anything, the brutal conclusions he draws, the secrecy. This guy is going places, and they're not good places, but I'm looking forward to see just how far he goes. He is the face of the evil and he's right there. He's not a distant oppressor. We're in his head and it's fascinating. He has flaws, he's not infallible in the narrative. But he's definitely a bad guy. Magic in the world is shown more this time around. There were some signs in the first book that the spider goddess was probably bad news, largely because she wants to eat the world, and here we get to see just how bad they are. It's not much of a spoiler because they should creep you out immediately, oozing from every pore the notion that they are a church of zealots that actually has power. A professor of mine liked to quote the great statesman Vaclav Havel: "Follow the man who seeks the truth; run from the man who has found it." Geder and the priests have found the truth. (view spoiler)[Much as I say that the series is more unique after two books, I am struck by how many moments reminded me of other places in fantasy. Dawson is very much Ned Stark, less naive but ultimately as ill-fated. He's not undone by his own idiocy; if not for the priests, he would have succeeded. He's also got shades of Ser Davos in the sense that he's driven to do a lot of what he does because of foreign religious influence. Say this about Dawson: he gets to go out defiant in the way that Ned never did. Cithrin's intervention in the coup is weirdly like the White Tower coup - if she doesn't get involved on the wrong side (in the vein of Gawyn taking Elaida's side) then the story plays out very differently. At least Cithrin realizes much quicker that she has made a mistake, which was a development that I enjoyed. It also surprised me. I wondered if she was meant to hang around as Geder's love interest for a while. Geder lies to her about burning the city she loved, and he thinks he's fooled her, which he does about that detail but she sees his number in the end. Probably because of his making a mess of executing the aforementioned Dawson. "He's a bad loan," she says to the room full of bankers. About how many fantasy villains have they said that? Maybe it's just having read a second book, but I thought the worldbuilding was a lot better this time around, as well. There's more to make the places into something more than just names on a map. The idea of the races is explored a little better and there's a sense of grander mysteries at play. The priests bleeding spiders is kind of awesome - the casual way the apostate asks Marcus why people cut thumbs, then shows him. The priests who apparently have propaganda magic. Listen to my voice! Cithrin uses the phrase once in the process of helping Geder escape, which I noticed and found very interesting. I wonder whether that will be important later. (hide spoiler)] The more I read of him, the more I imagine that Daniel Abraham might someday be to George R. R. Martin what Brandon Sanderson is to Robert Jordan - except for the fact that Abraham will be better at it. A virtue I'm coming around to appreciate more is the ability to write quality books in short order. The King's Blood is about 500 pages, so we're not exactly talking the dense tomes of A Song of Ice and Fire, but it feels like a complete story. Book One came out in 2011, Book Two (this one) came out in 2012. Book Three came out this year and Book Four is going to come out next year, presumably. He knows the story he wants to write and he gets stuff done. It's cool.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mihir

    Full Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic ANALYSIS: Daniel Abraham’s debut series had a lot of readers and critics praising his original premise and that did get fans excited for his next series which was a move back to the favored pseudo-European setting. This series was also going to be an amalgam of some classic literature as well as genre favorites. The first book in the series really gave the readers a nice look into the world created by the author wherein dragons ruled a long time ago Full Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic ANALYSIS: Daniel Abraham’s debut series had a lot of readers and critics praising his original premise and that did get fans excited for his next series which was a move back to the favored pseudo-European setting. This series was also going to be an amalgam of some classic literature as well as genre favorites. The first book in the series really gave the readers a nice look into the world created by the author wherein dragons ruled a long time ago and created the thirteen races. The main characters were introduced and enough intrigue was created. With the King’s Blood, we are once again swept in to the world of the Dragons. Cithrin has been successful with her moves and in setting up a front for the Medean bank in costal city of Porte Olivia what she didn’t bargain for, are the chains the bank would set on her in the form of a clerk who cross-checks her each and every move. Geder Palliako never thought his star would ever rise so high but as the royal regent he now holds the most powerful court position and enjoys a good comfort level with his ward prince Aster. He however does not know that his ascent has only begun and further events will propel him into the limelight unsuited for him. Dawson and Clara Killiam are further faced with trials as they weave familial and political situations and try to do the right thing. Lastly there’s Master Kit who remembers his past life and decides that the time has come for him to step back in his earlier life and accomplish what he first set out to do. Thus begins the second chronicle of the Dagger and the Coin, the author has raised the stakes in this book by further evolving the characters from the roles that they were assigned or deemed to follow. Characterization has always been Daniel Abraham’s forte and he absolutely shines in this book as well. Geder, Cithrin, Dawson, Clara and Marcus are all rounded individuals however the author completely immerses the reader in their thoughts and actions and fleshes them out to such an extent that it becomes harder to differentiate between their good and bad sides. Particularly Geder and Dawson, these two characters are ones whose actions can particularly viewed in a horrific light however the author manages to make the reader connect with them and particularly create doubt in the reader’s minds. This book’s theme is about the folly of certainty and the actions based on it. There are a few lines in the book that highlight it well: “Truth and lies, doubt and certainty. I haven’t found them to be what I thought they were. I dislike certainty because it feels like the truth, but it isn’t. If justice is based on certainty, but certainty is not the truth, atrocities become possible. We’re seeing the first of them now. More will come”. The author very conveniently plays with this theme and it is largely prevalent in the lives of Geder and Dawson, both of whom have the most upheavals in this book. Cithrin and Marcus however are not entirely exempt from this but their journey is more of an introspective one that makes them realize what they wish to do with their lives from this point forward. The POV count is also kept the same however the next book might see the introduction of a new character or two. In this regard the author has learnt a thing or two from his mentor and friend George R.R. Martin, namely the pitfalls in introducing more and more POV characters thereby complicating the story threads. The author keeps a tight rein on the storyline and keeps it focused with the help of the limited number of POVs. Lastly the pacing of this book is much smoother than the first one and also with the addition of the taxonomy of the races, the classification seem to help the readers in understanding the differences in the races prevalent. The only negative for me in this book would be that this book lacks the EPIC feel that this series is supposed to be about, as right now it’s more focused on the action of the few that will lead to repercussions for the many. Perhaps the author intends to change this in the last three books but I would like the epic part of the story to begin as well so we can truly get to see this story come alive and discover more about the dragons and other mysteries of this world. The magic as well as the world setting if further explored will add to awesomeness of the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ints

    Par mieru visā pasaulē #teamGeder Man mājās grāmatu plauktā stāv veselas piecas šīs sērijas grāmatas. Noliktas redzamā vietā, lai es par viņām neaizmirstu. Autors man jau sen ir atzīts kā lasāms - kopš Expanse cikla grāmatu izlasīšanas. Arī pirmā sērijas grāmata bija daudzsološa. Pirms daudzām paaudzēm pasaulē valdīja drakoni, taču katrai valdīšanai pienāk gals, un nu pasaulē valda cilvēki. Pareizāk sakot, veselas trīspadsmit rases. Taču nav tā, ka senie dievi vēl senāki par drakoniem būtu cilvēku Par mieru visā pasaulē #teamGeder Man mājās grāmatu plauktā stāv veselas piecas šīs sērijas grāmatas. Noliktas redzamā vietā, lai es par viņām neaizmirstu. Autors man jau sen ir atzīts kā lasāms - kopš Expanse cikla grāmatu izlasīšanas. Arī pirmā sērijas grāmata bija daudzsološa. Pirms daudzām paaudzēm pasaulē valdīja drakoni, taču katrai valdīšanai pienāk gals, un nu pasaulē valda cilvēki. Pareizāk sakot, veselas trīspadsmit rases. Taču nav tā, ka senie dievi vēl senāki par drakoniem būtu cilvēkus aizmirsuši, viņiem vienkārši nav dota iespēja atgriezties. Taču brīdī, kad šī iespēja parādīsies, viņi pacels savus karogus un atkal iekaros visu pasauli. Pagaidām pasaulē briest viens nopietns karš, kur tikko valdnieku zaudējusi karaliste mēģina tikt gala ar saviem kaimiņiem. Tikai daži nojauš, ko nozīmē zirnekļa tempļa karoga parādīšanās. Visas pasaules liktenis nu gulstas uz veca karavīra un vēl vecāka aktiera pleciem. Tātad sižeta līnija ir izkristalizējusies līdz vecajai labajai – senie dievi, kurus visi aizmirsuši, beidzot ir sasparojusies kārtējo reizi pārvērst visu pasauli asiņainā ellē. Pretī var stāties tikai pāris varoņi, kuri pateicoties augstākajiem spēkiem nav izteikti labi vai ļauni, un arī viņu pretinieki rīkojas labu motīvu vadīti. Un te uz skatuves uznāk Geders. Geders ir grāmatu tārps, kura lielākais sapnis ir caurām dienām sēdēt bibliotēkā, tulkot spekulatīvas noveles un mēģināt aizrakties līdz patiesajam drakonu aiziešanas iemeslam. Vēl vēlams būtu nedaudz naudas bibliotēkas iekārtošanai un pieeja šādām tādām retām grāmatām. Taču tā vietā viņš ir iecelts par prinča aizgādni, daudzi viņu uzskata par derīgu idiotu, kuru virzīt un vadīt. Geders ir sasniedzis varas virsotnes un atklāj, ka hobijiem viņam atliek arvien mazāk laika. Viņa aizbilstamo princi daudzi mēģina novākt, un tas puisi sadusmo. Viņš padodas vilinājumam nodibināt mieru visā pasaulē, likvidēt visas nesaskaņas utt. Grāmata izcili parāda, kā šāda visnotaļ laba iecere noved pie diezgan iespaidīga rezultāta. Vēl iespaidītāku to padara fakts, ka Geders cenšas vadīties pēc gudru cilvēku grāmatām. Nav maznozīmīgi arī tas, ka viņam ir iespēja noteikt, vai cilvēks runā patiesību vai tikai melo. Iespējams ar laiku viņš atklās arī Gebelsa domu, ka bieži atkārtoti meli kļūst par patiesību, bet tas vēl nav šajā grāmatā. Lai vai kā, šajā sērijā es būšu #teamGeder. Par mieru visā pasaulē, pat ja tas nozīmē pārgriezt rīkles lielai daļai pasaules iedzīvotājiem. Nav jau tā, ka Geders te būtu vienīgais varonis vai antivaronis. Citrina nodarbojas ar banku lietām, un iespējams, dažs labs lasītājs uzzinās, kādēļ ātro kredītu ņemt nav prāta darbs. Markuss joprojām rūgst un padosies impulsīvajām idejām, kuras nenoved pie laba gala. Clara mēģinās saglābt savu ģimeni. Dažs labs dosies karā, cits pīs intrigas, bet visi kopā viņi audīs sižeta deķi un parādīs, cik ļoti maz ir vajadzīgs, lai pasaule izmainītos līdz nepazīšanai. Pats Martins par šo sēriju ir izteicies atzinīgi, un tas arī nedaudz palasot ir pilnīgi saprotams. Atliek vien atcerēties Vanai pilsētas likteni. Šī grāmata arī neiepaliek, kad sākas vardarbība. Lai ar’ kādas rases pārstāvis neņemtu rokās nazi, viņš vienmēr atradīs tam pielietojumu. Visi notikumi norit it kā plaukstošā pasaulē, un šķiet, ka viss ir kārtībā, vietām karo, vietām tirgojas, bet kopumā situācija ir stabila. Taču ļaunums, kurš mostas, dzīvē ienāk nevienam nemanot. Tikai lasītājs redz visu kopainu un var tikai šausmās saķert galvu gaidot turpmākos notikumu. Ļoti labs sērijas turpinājums, kas pilnīgi piepilda sērijas otrās grāmatas funkciju. Nu jau standarta fantāzijas grāmatu manierē nobendējot pāris galvenos varoņu, iezīmējot atlikušajiem mērķi, iepazīstinot ar dažādiem grāmatas pasaules smalkumiem un vēsturi. Lieku 9 no 10 ballēm - iesaku izlasīt visiem, nudien būs tā vērts!

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