“Treading too heavily in memories, dredging up either joy or regret, will only serve to impede the path of progression. Thirtieth Precept of the Combat Codes.”
Grievar’s Blood is round 2 of a 3 round fight, and boy, oh boy, did Alexander Darwin put on a show. Darwin’s writing grabs ahold of you right away and locks you into a Kimura, but rather than fight back to escape the words on the page draw you in closer and closer, and next thing you know the bell has rung, and you have to go fresh up as you get ready for round 3 ‘Blacklight Born’ to get released. Seriously Alex I need that in my inbox ASAP 🙂
All jokes aside, Darwin takes what started off as a very small world with ‘The Combat Codes’ and uses ‘Grievar’s Blood’ to transition the series into a full-blown epic fantasy. While the original cast is present in this one they play a lesser part and instead we spent the bulk of the time with some new characters that we were aware of but didn’t get the chance to get to know in book 1.
“If the fear gets too high up, here in your chest, you won’t be able to breathe, think, act. “Keep your fear down here,” her father said as he patted Sol’s belly again. “Here, you can use your fear. Here, it is your friend.”
As someone who has spent many years studying Taekwondo, alongside Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one of my favorite aspects of this series is that the fighters have to actually put in the work, take their bumps and bruises in order to level up their fight game. This is something a lot of authors who write action scenes, especially martial art based ones tend to overlook. The attention to detail shown here as well as how Darwin describes the fight scenes when they do take place shows his first hand martial arts knowledge and allows the book to feel both fantasy and authentic all at the same time.
As the story progresses so does the political tension, gone are the days of school kids training to prove their worth among their peers. Unfortunately, Cego and his friends are getting to learn firsthand the grim reality of the world they live in. Similar to the world we live in, it’s easy for those with power and money to make decisions that can greatly impact those who don’t.
While I would love to shed some light about some of the new POV’s we experience in this installment in the series to do so would run the risk of spoiling things so if you want reach out after you have read the book as I would love to talk in length about the direction I think this might all be going.
This world they’ve built, it is not for us. Soon, this storm will come to them. Soon, we will find our path home.
I’ll leave you with this teaser, just like in the real world when people get pushed to their limits the only option is to push back and I suspect that is exactly what we will see in the epic conclusion to this series.
Disclaimer: ARC provided by the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest and fair review