Saturday, February 18, 2012

Of Blood and Honey

Title: Of Blood and Honey
Author: Stina Leicht
Series: A Book of Fei and the Fallen, book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2011

Recommendation: A solid character-driven fantasy set in Northern Ireland in 1970s.
Rating: 8/10

Summary: Liam Kelly is a teenager in 1971 Northern Ireland. Involved in political troubles despite best intentions, he spends time in prison for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He gets out of Long Kesh, but his troubles, both political and personal, are far from over.

Reactions: I have seen a number of reviews for this book and it's caught my eye. When I saw a free Kindle promotion for the book on Amazon, I decided it was fate and started reading the book. And I am very glad I picked it up for it was quite different from my expectations -- it was better!

The story takes course in Northern Ireland with events taking place in Derry and Belfast most of the time. The story heavily involves the political troubles of 1970s and 1980s in the region and both BA and IRA have a part to play in the story. Not knowing a whole lot about Northern Ireland, I found the backdrop fascinating and ended up reading up some more on the politics of the time which are depicted fairly accurately by the book, but without all the background on the start of the conflict.

The first part of the story is almost entirely devoid of the fantasy component with more and more fantasy elements coming out throughout the story. The major magical elements are the Fei of which Liam's father is one and their battle against the Fallen. Besides that, the story is mostly realistic and largely character-driven.

Liam is a very sympathetic character. He gets into trouble quite a bit in the book, but I couldn't help feel for him starting from the very first chapter. His growth and self discovery on the backdrop of war pulled me deep into the book and made me root for him until the very end.

Altogether I thoroughly enjoyed the novel both due to the interesting setting and for the well-drawn engaging characters. I will certainly be looking forward to the other books in this series.

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