I just finished We Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo.
They say first impressions are everything.
Whether you realize it or not, you cast judgement on anything and everything at first glance.
We see the outside of a restaurant that looks run down and we assume the food mustn’t be any good. We meet a new person who’s overdressed and we think they’re stuffy and unrelatable.
Sometimes these impressions are true, but many times they are not.
That rundown restaurant might be the hidden gem of your town, and that overdressed man might just be a grunt at a business that requires it of him.
Another word for these impressions are expectations.
Looking at the cover and description for We Are Blood and Thunder, I had great expectations. It sounded like a book about two friends who would conquer the world.
Oh, how wrong those impressions were. And not for the better.
We Are Blood and Thunder Review
We Are Blood and Thunder follows two POV characters in alternating pattern without deviance from beginning to end.
First we have Lena, a cryptling with a birth mark living in a highly superstitious city in the middle of nowhere. The city is in self-imposed quarantine because of a pestilence in the land. But really it’s so the King’s Justice can trap and hunt mages.
When Lena is discovered to be a mage, she’s forced to run for her life.
Constance is the exiled princess of Duke’s Forest and she’s trying to get back in to discover the source of the pestilence and put an end to the Justice’s cruel reign of her people.
The book’s blurb would have you believe the two are brought together to put an end to these machinations together, but nothing could be further from the truth.
They meet very early at the beginning and their paths diverge until the last 3-4 chapters of the book.
They aren’t friends, they aren’t sisters, they aren’t anything to each other. I thought this would be a book about two best friends. It’s the book I wanted, but it wasn’t the book I got.
The best part of the whole book is the world.
And what an amazing world it is.
The idea of the storm cloud, a quarantined city, a cryptling who comes into power, nine temples of differing magical disciplines, magical artifacts, the conflict between gods and Chaos.
It’s all rather amazing and I loved the world.
We see a mechanical mask that can view the spellscape, a gauntlet that absorbs magical power, mechanical appendages, and mechanical pets that can house magic for purposes such as healing a loved one when they are hurt.
It’s sort of steam-punky in a way.
The nine disciples of magic and the possibilities for training in the subsequent temples was very intriguing.
And the greater overall magical conflict between those subservient to the gods in the temples, and those who rebuff the gods is an interesting point of tension.
The problem is none of that is relevant.
Everything I like about this book, isn’t what this book is about.
A Deeper Look
Lena is by far the most interesting character in the story.
A girl who has no magic suddenly comes into power, learns that she could die if she doesn’t get it under control and is taken to a temple to find her discipline and train.
Except her training lasts all of one week, and she suddenly becomes the most powerful person around with little to no effort.
During that same week, she finds a boy, who has romantic feelings for Constance by the way, and they engage in an instalove subplot with no meat.
It’s really hard to have the following conversation without spoiling anything so I’m going to attempt to be as vague as possible.
One of the characters was the most unlikable, confusing characters I’ve ever read. Their appearance is not as it seems and there are no clues in the story to tell you otherwise until, bam, you’re hit with it.
It was such an assault on the senses.
And then the very thing that drives them. The thing that made them who they were, that very thing is abandoned at the littlest amount of resistance. What a weak and depressing character.
The rest of the characters are the exact opposite. You can see their duplicity a mile away. When one of the main characters, Constance, suspects they are wicked and evil doers, they are. There’s no hints of surprise, there’s no guessing wrong.
Overall, it’s just an uninspired story.
The world is fantastic, the story, not so much.
We Are Blood and Thunder is a standalone, but the author has plans to write more in this world.
Depending on the topic, I may or may not give it a shot.
As I said, I love the world, so maybe a new book with new characters will be interesting.
Would I recommend you read We Are Blood and Thunder?
That’s up to you. I won’t ever be rereading it, but it’s not a bad book by any means.