FORGED BY BLOOD by Catrin Russell is the first book I have read from this author. I don’t read high fantasy very often but I decided to give this a shot. The book is the prequel to the A KINGDOM SCARRED series and as ebook is only available for FREE when you sign up to the author’s newsletter. The print version is available on Amazon.
I cannot begin to tell you how enthralled I was from the start and as someone who also works with her voice a lot, I felt this story needed to be read out loud. I might be a little eccentric that way but I sat in my favourite reading armchair with a hot tea that was getting cold, a candle lit by my side and read this wonderful short, face-paced story out loud to myself. And what a story it was!
It begins with a scene of our young hero Connor being clumsy at home, his mother Avianna understanding and his father Kronin speaking harshly to his son. Connor is about to be sent out on a mission where young men of his clan have to prove themselves to become full adult members and can get married as well. However, Connor never makes it that far because he is otherwise engaged. His little brother Dragan gets taken by a wyvern, a terrible flying lizard and Connor runs to the rescue, fighting two of these ghastly creatures to protect and save his brother’s life.
FORGED BY BLOOD is a fast-paced story, one that has you sitting at the edge of your seat. The characters are wonderfully portrayed with their little quirks and striking personality traits. They practically leap off the pages. And the extensive fighting scenes are so clearly described that even someone like me who has no expertise in fighting techniques of any sort, can easily follow. I loved that Connor didn’t merely charge in and save the day but is portrayed as a real person with very real limitations. However, for the love of his brother, he doesn’t give up and the fight is anything but predictable – as is the outcome.
I won’t spoil this for you but I will tell you that I am in love with Russell’s style of writing, her way of showing the reader, emerging them into the scene, rather than telling and info-dumping which some authors are prone to do, especially in a story this short. The beauty of the language flows and feels like a river that carries you along on its way to the great sea while taking in all the sights on its way. There has been one particular short passage that, already beautiful on its own, has moved me to tears in context, and that I would love to share with you here:
“We’re all human,” Kronin interjected. “And so are you. Take it in your stride, and no one will ever be able to belittle you. Own you – yourself – and every last part of you. Embrace who you are, for it is a blessing you were ever brought into this world.”
Connor thinks, his father is ashamed of him for his clumsiness when in truth, Kronin is beside himself with worry that his son might get hurt or even killed on his mission and he almost didn’t get a chance to set things right with his son.
The interaction of the characters with each other, the playful, flirty banter between husband and wife, the love between brothers and the vivid colours in which not only they but also their environment are painted all play a part in making this little treasure not only a great book but an outstanding one that will definitely go on my list of best loved books of all times. And Catrin Russell has joined the league of my all-time favourite authors.
I am not a fast reader and I don’t get much time to read in general but you can be sure that I will work my way eventually through her entire catalogue! Forged by Blood is the kind of book you don’t only want on your Kindle but the kind you want to proudly present on your physical bookshelf.
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Catrin Russell is a Fantasy and Romance author from northern Sweden. Her books are all written in English and are mainly part of the Epic and High Fantasy Genre. However, she does use influences from Dark Fantasy, and a touch of Fantasy Romance.
Growing up outside a small town, basically in the middle of nowhere, Catrin eventually moved to Stockholm, where she studied computer game development and design. Meeting her soon-to-become husband online, she lived outside of London for the best parts of a year, before finally settling down in Piteå, back in Sweden. Since then, three children and two dogs have joined the family.
With a background in design and holding a degree as a registered nurse, she writes novels in medieval settings, with plenty of action and romance. She often brings moral struggles, or highlights issues in society, into her writing. Another subject that is often highlighted is mental health.
Catrin also creates concept art, bringing her characters to life on the screen, and her own cover designs, much of which can be seen on her social media pages.