Book Review of Blood of Innocents by Mitchell Hogan (fantasy)


A novice sorcerer may hold the key to saving his world—or be the instrument of its destruction—in this second book in The Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing saga of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.

Anasoma, jewel of the Mahruse Empire, has fallen.

As orphaned, monk-raised Caldan and his companions flee the city, leaving behind their hopes for a new beginning, horrors from the time of the Shattering begin to close in.

With Miranda’s mind broken by forbidden sorcery, Caldan does the unthinkable to save her: he breaks the most sacrosanct laws of the Protectors. But when the emperor’s warlocks arrive to capture him, Caldan realizes that his burgeoning powers may be more of a curse than a blessing, and the enemies assailing the empire may be rivaled by more sinister forces within.

And soon, the blood of innocents may be on Caldan’s own hands.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

I want to start by giving my apologies to the author and the publisher. I read this book months ago, and I never wrote the review. My delay has nothing to do with the quality of the book; I just fell into a rut where I didn’t want to write reviews anymore. I kept procrastinating, making days turn into weeks and then months.

This book continued the story of Caldan, a young man who is caught in the middle of a war and stuck in a bad situation due to choices he made in the previous book. He is learning to expand his magical abilities, while caring for his injured friend (romantic interest). Caldan is a character who people can relate to–he makes mistakes but has the best intentions.

Because Caldan is so likable, the other characters sometimes fall to the wayside. That doesn’t make them less interesting; it just becomes easy to want to skip over their parts in order to get back to what is going on with Caldan. I think the author could have had less scenes from the perspectives of other characters, and the book would not have suffered for it.

I only saw a couple of errors in the book. One was on page 127. There is some word confusion during a conversation between Bells and Caldan. It’s a minor thing. Overall, I thought the book was very well-written.

Compared to the previous book, this one was more graphic due to Amerdan showing more of his violent nature. This is not a problem; I am just letting people know what to expect in case they haven’t read it yet.

Blood of Innocents is a book that can be read alone without having to read the previous book in the series. The author introduces the world and the characters to the reader in such a way as to avoid confusion. There is also a “Dramatis Persona” at the beginning of the book, which tells the reader who all the characters all, which is very helpful because there are a lot of characters in this series.

I also appreciated that there isn’t a huge cliffhanger at the end. Also, the author started giving some of the answers to questions that have been looming since the first book, such as what is going on with Caldan’s body.

If you haven’t read Blood of Innocents, I strongly suggest it. This is one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s a coming-of-age story mixed with magical realism and action-adventure. I would definitely read the next book if given an opportunity.

When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases filled with fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.

His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For ten years he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancé, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of Souls. A Crucible of Souls won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author. Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughter, Isabelle.

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