Blood Sworn, by Scott Reintgen

melissasfandomworld's review against another edition

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4,5 stars!


"We danced the moon into coming out, the stars into shining. We danced to welcome a whole new world into existence. It is a song that no one can take from us now."

Wow, this was such a super fast paced, entertaining and above all: a refreshing/renewing read that surprised me in the best way possible!

The basics of the world, the writing, the characters and story-line is just as awesome as it all was in Ashlords, but the author managed to bring us a renewing 2nd installment, and taking things up to the next level, which was a magnificent surprise! All that I fell in love with in Ashlords was present, but then there's a great amount of 'newness' added to the mix story-wise that I truly wasn't expecting to get (don't want to spoil so I'll remain superficial here haha) and I couldn't get enough of it! I'm a bit sad it's just a duology and that it's all over now...

I seldom come across a follow up book that is able to surprise me in such a good way. This book was mostly everything I was hoping for to get beforehand; action, more in depth development, being able to see more of this fictional world and good/strong/solid character development. If you've loved Ashlords, you're in for a treat with Bloodsworn! Be ready to be amazed and above all: Enjoyyyyy, because this epic journey is over before you know it seeing it's super fast paced!

I buddy-read Ashlords last year with my friend Marylon, and we decided to buddy-read Bloodsworn as well which made this experience all the more fun! It's great to talk about the book in between reading-shifts and discuss together about what's all happening!

rvelra's review against another edition

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It was great, truly. But i feel there wasn't enough of a cost to the things they achieved. It was just to easy, with practically no cost or losses. That kinda ruined it for me. But other than that and the writing style, it was lovely. 

monkeysbecausewhynot's review

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious tense medium-paced


juliejaeger's review against another edition

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Action packed! Great end to the duology.

jessifreakinca's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes


ry_ry's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


books_over_everything's review against another edition

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Initial Thoughts

I was super excited to be chosen for this tour. I chose Ashlords as my Book of the Month pick last year but hadn’t read it yet. This was the perfect chance!

Some Things I Liked

Multiple POVs. I loved that we got to hear from three distinctly different narrators who represent the different groups in this setting. The political plot is complex and I loved being able to hear from a Longhand, Dividian, and Ashlord narrator.
Rich world building. I loved the race setting in the first book but I loved the warfare and richness in the world building in this sequel. We got to see so much more of the world and how the different people and the gods fit into it all.
Futuristic yet historic vibes. That’s a super weird way to say it. Let me re-phrase. I loved that this world felt almost post-apocalyptic, almost Hunger Games-esque, but at the same time, it also felt like Ancient Greece or an ancient world. I loved the contrast between those elements.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

Second Person POV. I was not a fan. It always reads oddly to me. I especially didn’t like that the other two POVs are first person. I’m also not a fan of mixing the POVs. Either all first person or all third person.

Series Value

I think a duology was the perfect length for this series. However, I think the world building is really interesting. I also really loved the race concept from the first book so I’d be interested in a prequels about past races.

Furthermore, I’m even more interested in reading Scott Reintgen’s Nyxia series now.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book and this series overall. I think the second person POV annoyed me but overall, I thought the world building and characters were really interesting.


Recommendations for Further Reading

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda – if you enjoyed the complex political plot as well as the ancient yet futuristic world, try this duology. Book two is coming out next month.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – if you liked the idea of a competition turned more, try this older series.

readingwithemmett's review against another edition

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I’ve had this book for a few months now, but every time I went to pick it up, I knew that I wouldn’t be in the right mindset to read it. Finally, I felt ready to read it, and I’m so glad I waited. This book was good. I felt like everything came together and I feel satisfied with the ending.

I actually grew to love Pippa more in this book than the first one. About halfway through the book, I came to enjoy reading her perspective from third person, which I didn’t like in the first book. Adrian's character grew so much in this book and enjoyed his character more in this one as well. I think the author did a great job developing Pippa and Adrian’s relationship. I don’t feel like Imelda wasn't as much of a main character in this one, but I still enjoyed her perspective and it gave a great insight once all the characters came together.

While I did love this book and thought the ending was good, I would still love to see a spin-off. Maybe something from the characters’ children in the future. It doesn’t have to be a war or anything that they fight, but maybe an adventure they go on.

I received this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review>

barnstormingbooks's review against another edition

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The first Ashlord book introduced some interesting characters and elements into a Hunger Games-esk fantasy. The Ashlords have ruled heavily through the interventions of their brutal Gods over the Divinians who are treated as serfs at best. The Longhands are former Ashlords who denied the Gods and paid a blood price for their choice. During the annual races Imelda (Divinian) (an excellently written female protagonist) defies the Ashlords by jumping the fences and running into the mountains stealing the magic horse and all the gear provided to her. She joins up with a group of rebels and immediately joins the guerilla war. Adrian (Longhand) (a threadbare male protagonist who seems to be 90% man-candy and 10% sentient being) loses the race in the last lengths to a dirty trick of the Gods, launching the war his Daddy (not kidding that's the only way the man is referred to) has been planning all along against the Ashlords.

Blood Sworn drops us into the middle of that war... And this is when I almost checked out. I'm over the fantasy war epic. Good vs Evil is an overplayed and ridiculous troupe. If I wanted that I would watch any of the 900 Marvel or DC movies. But I stuck it out. The Ashlord Race Champion turned General starts to have some interesting misgivings when the Gods gift her enslaved magic soldiers. This turns the tide of the book, as the protagonists start to look hard at why they are at war, and who it benefits. Spoiler - IT'S THE GODS! Through a number of interesting twists Imelda, Pippa and Adrian end up in the underworld fighting to remake their own world.

The battle scenes still tend to make me yawn. I'm not that into action for action's sake and this book gets a little indulgent in those scenes. I do like that some defeats come at the strategic genius of the female leads. The utopian ending attempts at a full socialism that seems to be a little far fetched given the societies it is replacing, but it does end the duology with a YA level hopeful future. There is also a lack of balance between the male characters who tend to be very one dimensional and the rich female characters... which is a nice surprise from a CIS male author.

Overall this is a fun duology. I'm glad Oregon Battle of the Books put them on my radar. However, I was disappointed that the use of the phoenix horses was pretty minimal in the second book, especially when Blood Sworn was the name of the alchemy for the horses.

phyrre's review against another edition

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You can read my full review on my blog, The Bookwyrm's Den, here.

Many thanks to Crown Books for Young Readers and TBR and Beyond Tours for an eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


I whipped through the first book and absolutely could not wait to pick this one up. I knew that’d happen, so I’m kind of glad I waited until I had both to read them together.

Blood Sworn is an absolute roller coaster of emotions, with action and plot twists that’ll have you on the edge of your seat. It’s an all-out war of strategy and one-upmanship with squad vibes, found family, and brutal gods.

The way the first book ended meant this could pick up with a bang, and it carried through with that rush and excitement all the way until the very end. I don’t even have words to tell you how much I absolutely loved this duology! I’m already looking forward to a re-read.

My Thoughts

- Gone are the young, naive characters from the first book who thought all they had to do was win a race. Ha, as if things would be that easy! I loved the character growth in the first book, but Imelda, Adrian, and Pippa find themselves in a whole other world in this one. Literally, but also figuratively. During Ashlords, Pippa viewed The Races as almost her birthright, Imelda as a way out of poverty and servitude to the upper classes, and Adrian as a chance to reclaim the honor for his people. In so many ways, these are actually the same perspectives they take about the war, too.

Remember that storm metaphor from the first book? Well, don’t worry, it’s still here, and the storm becomes both literal and figurative at the same time, and our three protagonists are swept up and sometimes overwhelmed by it. The plot of this book speeds forward at break-neck speed, so it’d be easy to get overwhelmed, but I thought this really highlighted the stress and chaos of war. There was so much urgency in this book, from three different perspectives, each with three different goals, but when the three points of view eventually meet up? Perfection.

- The world-building in this book is absolutely *chef’s kiss* and I just can’t get enough of it. In some ways, it puts the dark in dark fantasy, because this time around, readers get to experience the Underworld and the gods. There are brief mentions of the gods in Ashlords, and I did say I wanted more focus on the world outside the races, and boy does Blood Sworn provide that! This world is dark and unyielding, forged on so many layers of secrets that hardly anyone remembers the truth anymore.

If you were curious about the taste of the gods we get from the first book, you’ll be happy to know that we get to learn about the gods in depth in this book. Or maybe not, because these gods are … not exactly someone I’d want to meet in a dark alley. Or a light alley. Or at all, if I’m honest. The gods live in the Underworld, and in previous wars, they turned the tide of wars in favor of the Ashlords. So of course it’s expected they’ll do the same in this war. But even gods have secrets and ulterior motives, and war is raging in the Underworld, too.

- There are so many moral dilemmas in this book, and I appreciated each and every one of them. You might know by now that some of my favorite books are ones that make you really think. The theme of this book is really learning to question what you assume to be truths. After all, history is written by the victors, right? I think that’s a sentiment we can relate to because it happens in the real world, sometimes to similarly devastating results.

Our three young protagonists are really forced to question what they assume to be true and right and come into themselves as far as what they want their world to become. I’m going to admit, I’m not always one for the teens saving the world trope because it feels overblown a lot to me, but in this particular world and setting? It makes perfect sense. These are teens who have been groomed for war, taught how to fight, told not to question anything and do their duty. As you can imagine, the realities of war aren’t as neat and easy as studying strategies on paper, and Imelda, Adrian, and Pippa are forced to come to grips with the realities of their world and what that means for each of them.

- There are plot twists galore in this book. So. Many. I squeed more than once because of how perfect some of the reveals were! The way the world is fleshed out in this is just wonderful. Ashlords provides the readers a limited glimpse of the world, but it sets the stage perfectly for Blood Sworn to come in and sweep you away. Every time I thought I understood An Important Fact™ about this world, it was challenged. I was kept on my toes the entire time, trying to unravel what was real and what was fabricated.

As you might imagine, the gods and even the underworld itself are not as they seem. There were some pretty heavy hints about this in the first book, and they really come to fruition here. Untangling the truth is anything but easy, though, and gods are hard to topple … right? Combine all the secrets with the fact that this is war and our point-of-view characters are not only leaders but strategists and it’s easy to see why some of these plot twists might catch a reader by surprise! Even the ones I semi-expected, I didn’t completely predict, and I for one absolutely love not knowing exactly how something will end.