Where to start? No seriously where on earth do I start when it comes to reviewing a book so filled with complex twists and elements, most of which have yet to be made clear, that I realise something new every time I read it? I have a short description of the series in my Top Five Fantasy Series so if you’re not familiar with it at all go read that, then read the first two books, then read the third, THEN come back here!
Much like in The Gathering of the Lost, Daughter of Blood follows three main paths that ultimately all converge at the end of the book…..only to diverge again! There are other, splinter paths that join at various times but ultimately the focus is on Malian travelling with Raven towards reclaiming her place in the Derai Alliance, Kalan getting to, and surviving, in the Red Keep and Myr, the Daughter of Blood who has more strength than she, or her family, realises. Her family are a fascinating look at the personalities that make up the whole Derai Alliance and I loved the intricate relationships Lowe displayed between the siblings. I also wanted to kill most of them, but I’m pretty sure that’s how I’m meant to feel! This book was full of the sense that not only is the web tightening, its a much bigger web than we could have ever anticipated.The Darksworn are clearly much more complicated than might have been previously thought, which was hinted at in The Gathering of the Lost but truly highlighted here. Not only that, it is becoming clear that Lowe doesn’t want readers to view the Derai Alliance as the ‘Good’ to their ‘Evil’. There is a long and complex history behind this struggle that exists in the grey of morality. Malian may find that rebuilding the Derai Alliance is not only harder than she could have ever anticipated, it might also reveal dark truths that are hard to face.
Kalan has had a challenging time of it lately and this book was no different. I wonder how hard it was for him to return to the Red Keep disguised as a warrior and wonder if his family hadn’t sent him away, if his powers hadn’t manifested, would this have been truly his life? The suggestions that there is more to his lineage than we might have realised are tantalizing and I was honestly shouting at him to say something to Taly when he realised their connection (if you’re a GOT fan, imagine if in the recent episode where Jon and Sansa reunited, Jon saw her walk in….and then left before she saw him).
Myr frustrates me slightly. Admittedly, because she was only introduced in this book, I don’t have the same strong connection to her that I’ve developed with other characters but there is more to it than just that. At my own admission I find the journey passive characters take to become more assertive, slightly irritating. I say this having struggled with anxiety and self-esteem my whole life and I wonder if the problem is that I actually identify too much with Myr and so find reading her hesitations hard, and her growth as unattainable. But my own niggly emotions towards the character aside, she is a welcome addition to the tale because she further diversifies the story and adds a different personality to the mix of warriors and power-users.
There were so many parts of this book that I loved. The glimpses we got into other Derai Houses were fascinating, especially Sea House and I squealed, yes actually squealed, when Stars appeared. And the fact that at least one of their Blood seems to be a reasonable person makes me so hopeful for Malian’s attempt to reunite the Derai. I also think the priestly houses that have been so dismissed by the Derai warriors will have a pretty big impact in the future despite their weak appearance. Faro’s story has barely been scratched and I feel like, despite the events at the end, he will be an essential part of the story going forward.
Speaking of going forward, there is so much I can’t wait for! I sorely missed Tarathan and Jehane Mor in this book and I hope there’s copious amounts of them in the next to make up for their absence! I also really really hope that we see the Emer characters again and Girvase, Audin, Ali, Ghis and Jarna get to see Kalan in his true aspect, and reassure him that he’s still their friend. I want to know just what IS Asantir’s back story, she has to have one right?? I want the Earl of Night to acknowledge that he does love Malian and support her in her attempts at reunification. I want Stars and Night to heal their ancient rift. I want Raven NOT to die ( I have a very bad feeling about this though). I want Kalan and Malian to stand together with all the friends they have made, including some unexpected ones, and face the Swarm together. I want, I want, I want, I WANT THE NEXT BOOK ALREADY.