After the excellent Firebrand, the sequel Bloodstone had a lot to live up to. Although Bloodstone is a fantastic read, it just falls short of gaining five stars from me.
The four hundred year time jump between books was more of a hindrance, at least for me. We left Seth at the end of Firebrand, mourning the loss of his lover. Conal had rode off without him, intent on finding the fabled Bloodstone which would either save or destroy the Veil.
Because of this, it felt as though there was a big chuck of Seths’ story and character development missing. I wanted to know more about Seth’s journey, how he met back up with his brother and was now a mature version of the Seth I grew to love in the first book. We had left him is such a broken state that to see how he had managed to recover, for me was a vital part that was missing from the book in order to engage fully with him. This niggled at the back of my mind for a good few chapters of the book.
Fortunatly Philip’s managed to set up such an interesting plot, involving new characters, that I was able to push this to the back of my mind and become sucked into the book.
The two new characters we are introduced to are at first only supporting cast members, but by half way through they were just as important as Conal and Seth.
The newest member of Conal and Seths’ family is Finn, their niece. She is the stereotypical teenager, suffering from the same angst that we have all been through. She is at the age where she is trying to find her place in the world. What doesn’t help is the fact that she is Sithe and therefore instantly forgettable to mortals. Well, everyone except the other new character in the book, Jed.
As per their race, Finn’s mother has very little to do with her, but I think it may also be due to the fact that Finn’s father was killed on a recon mission back in the otherworld. It is therefore up to Conal and Leonora to nurture her, but they were not to mention her true heritage. Leonora tries to show her some of the old ways and we see that a strong bond develops between the two. It was nice to see this softer side of Leonora, for she came across as very cold and aloof in Firebrand.
It is this bond that causes Finn and her friend Jed to cross the veil to her home world. Finn is concerned for her Gran, but both her mother and Conal claim that she is just getting old. When Leonora wanders off, Finn is concerned and it’s this one act that is the catalyst for the whole book.
Though she is related to Seth through his father, being the daughter of Conal’s sister, we see a strong resemblance between the two. Finn has her half-uncles’ fiery temper and the feeling of being an outsider. Unfortunately this does end up causing her to make a few bad choices, one of which left me gob smacked. By the end of the book I could see a potential storyline for the future and I can’t wait to see what will happen.
Jed is a bit of a strange character. He is of course full mortal, and is pulled in by a number of chance encounters. The most important, at least at first, is when he befriends Finn. This should be impossible since Finn is Sithe, she blends into the background. Somehow he still sees her and remembers her. It is never fully explained why this is till the latter half of the book and it is such a twist, that I had to take a breath to absorb what I was reading.
Jed, for me was one of the characters that showed a lot of growth throughout the book. When we first meet him, he is the angry teenager, trying to play the grown up to a junkie mother. He is doing the best he can for his family, which includes his little brother Rory. It is his dedication and love for his little brother that is a constant thread throughout the book. When he appears to be trapped in the otherworld, his main concern is his little brother.
On returning to our world, Jed finds that his mother has passed away, no doubt from an overdose (Time passes more quickly here than in Seth and Conals world). With the authorities closing in, Jed does the only thing he can think of and runs back to the Watergate where he and Finn crossed over. Now he shouldn’t be able to cross it as the only reason he crossed the first time was because Finn was Sithe and pulled him across. It made me think that maybe there was more to Jed than I first thought. Though I was partially right, the true twist was much cleverer.
As I said at the beginning of the review, Seth seems to have resorted back to his old ways. He is still extremely loyal to his brother. Seth is still a bit pigheaded and seems to be at loggerheads both with Leonora and Conal’s sister. However, he has become disillusioned with the cause and wants to return home. Much like Finn, he makes a few choices that are questionable. What really had me shaking my head in disbelief is Seth handing over the Bloodstone to Kate. It is for the greater good, but Kate has proven to be far from trustworthy that to give her the Bloodstone, was signing a death warrant for his race.
For me Seth will always make the harder choice and he should be commended for that. Seth isn’t one to be the good guy. Instead he will make the tough choice for what he sees as the greater good. As always, it is to save his brother from making that choice.
The plot is very tightly knit and at times, seemingly random or insignificant instances turn out to be very important. There are a few “Oh My!” moments scattered throughout the book that really took me by surprise. The author is brilliant at this and it’s why I like her style of writing so much.
The ending leaves much room for the story to continue and with Wolfsbane coming out in August, I can hardly wait. There is a larger plot throughout the books and I want to see what the conclusion is.
A fantastic book that is only let down by the huge gap in time between books, therefore you can read this one without missing very much backstory by not reading the first book, Firebrand. Gillian Philip is a master storyteller and brings something new to the genre of urban fantasy and young adult books.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
#0.5 Frost Child (E-book Prequel)
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