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Stephen Aryan

Autor(a) de Battlemage

14 Works 832 Membros 12 Reviews

Séries

Obras de Stephen Aryan

Battlemage (2015) 249 cópias
The Coward (2021) 164 cópias
Bloodmage (2016) 102 cópias
Chaosmage (2016) 74 cópias
Mageborn (2017) 73 cópias
The Warrior (2022) 55 cópias
The Judas Blossom (2023) 53 cópias
Magefall (2018) 32 cópias
Magebane (2019) 24 cópias
Of Gods and Men (2018) 2 cópias

Etiquetado

Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
1977-03
Sexo
male
Nacionalidade
UK
Locais de residência
West Midlands, England, UK
Ocupação
author
podcaster
Agente
Juliet Mushens (Caskie Mushens)

Membros

Resenhas

Originally posted on Just Geeking by.

Content warnings:
This book contains graphic scenes of war, death, death of children, blood, violence, genocide, colonisation, and torture. There are scenes of kidnapping, confinement, Islamophobia, religious bigotry, bigotry, slavery, forced marriage and sexual violence. One of the main characters has an abusive relationship with their father which includes emotional abuse, verbal abuse and fat shaming.


I hadn’t thought about how little I knew about Genghis Khan and his legacy until I started reading The Judas Blossom by Stephen Aryan. Genghis is an infamous historical figure, and yet I knew nothing about what drove him to do what he did. In The Judas Blossom, Aryan has chosen to write his story from the perspective of multiple narrators. This isn’t an odd choice and is becoming increasingly common in fantasy novels, however, not many authors choose to simultaneously include narrators from both sides of a conquest.

In fact, the first narrator is one of the conquerors, Hulagu, grandson of Genghis Khan and ruler of the Ilkhanate. Then there is Kavion, a Persian General who fought the invading Mongol Empire and failed to stop them from conquering his homeland. The third narrator is Kokochin, The Blue Princess, and the last surviving member of the Mongol tribe of the Bayaut. She is given to Hulagu to be his wife. Temujin, Hulagu’s youngest son and a constant disappointment to him, is the final individual narrator.

I say it that way, as there is a fifth perspective; a group of anonymous Persian women known only as “The Twelve”. As events unfold, and we follow the other four characters, this group walks among them and The Mongol Empire. What are they up to? Well, you’ll need to read The Judas Blossom to find that out. What I will say is I like that Aryan chose to give them their own chapters rather than just making them minor characters in other characters’ stories or nameless individuals doing things off-page. It gave this group a real sense of power and purpose.

Going back to my earlier point, I learned a lot about a historical period that I knew nothing about, and that was largely due to having the perspective from the conqueror. If you’re expecting this to be a book where everything is black and white, with good and evil clearly marked, then this isn’t for you. The Judas Blossom is a book about people, and while The Mongol Empire were brutal, it’s hard not to admire their goal for peace under one rule. A culture where people could believe in whatever they wanted, where temples and churches stood side by side.

The Judas Blossom is a long book and the pace is quite slow. I found myself getting hooked into the story and the lives of the characters, however, I was disappointed about the fantasy elements. It is described as a “new fantasy series intertwining magic with Persian culture” and there just isn’t that much magic in this book. I think that is probably because this is book one, and the magic was a slow reveal throughout the book. It was a bit too slow for my liking, but now it’s been revealed, I think things will probably move faster on that front in the second book.

I’ll definitely be checking out the second book, as I’m invested in the story and the characters, and I enjoyed the characters immensely. I just didn’t find this one to be quite my style.

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… (mais)
 
Marcado
justgeekingby | 1 outra resenha | Dec 16, 2023 |
I received this novel from Angry Robot Books, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review: my thanks to both of them for this opportunity.

Historical Fantasy always offers me the double joy of reading an interesting story and of learning something about aspects of the past I knew little or nothing about: in the case of The Judas Blossom, that past is represented by the westward expansion of the Mongol empire in the 13th Century.

Hulagu Kahn, grandson of the famous Genghis, is carrying forward his ancestor’s dream of an all-encompassing empire, and as we meet him he’s in the process of completing the conquest of Persia: unfazed by the attacks of the guild of the Assassins, bent on stopping his advance, he pursues his grand plan with ruthless efficiency, conquering city after city, each success culminating with the unleashing of his soldiers on the hapless inhabitants in a frenzy of murder and pillage. His one disappointment comes from the youngest of his sons, Temujin, whose warlike instinct are practically non-existent: trying to earn his father’s attention and respect, Temujin embarks on a quest that will lead him to wield an unexpected power that will ultimately test his mettle as a man.

Kaivon is a Persian general, angry at the defeat of his people but at the same time conscious that rebelling against the invading Mongol army would be a hopeless task. With an unexpected flash of intuition, Kaivon understands that such a mighty foe could be destroyed only from within, so he chooses to attach himself to Hulagu’s army and bide his time until he will find the proverbial chink in the armor of his enemy.

And finally, Kokochin is a young Mongol princess whose tribe has been utterly obliterated for refusing to obey the ruling Kahn: sold into slavery, she’s now the latest among Hulagu’s wives and at first she seems resigned to her fate, until she finds herself drawn into something bigger than herself and quite worthwhile, a means of getting revenge against Hulagu for all of her losses.

I completely (and happily) lost myself in The Judas Blossom, one of those well-balanced novels where plot and characterization blend seamlessly into a page-turning story of intrigue, politics and personal journeys that feel vivid and cinematic - and quite compelling, despite the brutal, unforgiving background depicted here, one where conquest and destruction are the rule of the day and stop at nothing to achieve the dream of an empire encompassing all the known world. There are several sections where the readers are made privy of the consequences of conquest: streets littered with debris and rotting corpses, beautiful homes or works of art wantonly destroyed by the ravaging conquerors, the worst of humanity exposed there for all to see.

The Mongols might be the main protagonists of the story here, but they are certainly not the heroes, nor is their leader Hulagu: if at first one might sympathize with him, targeted by assassins on one side and supported by faithful subordinates or by his loving “war wife” (the one who always follows him on campaigns) on the other, once we see him through other people’s eyes that image changes drastically. He is a man given to murderous fits of rage and possessed by the unyielding determination of fulfilling his grandfather’s dream, and to that end he’s ready to sacrifice everything and everyone. It’s in his dealings with his son Temujin that his worst qualities come to the fore, at the same time highlighting Temujin’s struggle to find his own way in a world where he does not fit. The young man’s journey is a heartbreaking one, because he does everything in his power to try and gain the recognition - if not the affection - of his father, and once he seems to find something that might prove his value (a threat that introduces the only element of magic in the story) he finally understands that he’s only a tool, and that his quest is a fruitless one. The moment when he decides to “never again to seek his father’s approval” is a poignantly touching one, and it also made me eager to see where this newfound realization will take this character next.

General Kaivon is a man divided: on one side he wants revenge for his people’s defeat and submission to the Mongol horde, on the other he’s fascinated by Hulagu’s determination, and his unstoppable drive. Kaivon plays a very dangerous game, and one that forces him to terrible compromises when he must play the part of the aggressor against people like his own, but at the same time he enjoys the cat-and-mouse strategy in which he’s able to sabotage the Kahn’s plans while acting the part of the faithful retainer. The role of the double agent is indeed a precarious one, particularly where Hulagu’s famous temper is concerned, and several of the passages where Kaivon plays out his schemes kept me on edge from start to finish: it will be interesting to see how - and how far - his plan will take him…

Princess Kokochin gained my sympathy from page one: alone and destitute, with few prospects aside being one of the many playthings for the Kahn, she discovers an unexpected way of finding her own path and exacting revenge for her lost family. I liked to see how daring she could be, and also how stubborn in pursuing her goals or defying the constrictions of her role and status, and I admired her composure in the dealings with Guyuk, the Kahn’s first wife and ruthless manager of his affairs. All of the main female characters in The Judas Blossom are strong, determined women who manage to promote their own agency in a male-dominated world, their best representation being the mysterious Twelve, a group of highly-placed conspirators who work in secret to thwart the Mongol aggression.

There are many layers in this novel, from the personal journeys of the various characters to the depiction of war and conquest to the political agendas and power posturing that create a vivid, vibrant world built on historical foundations and reinforced with engrossing fictional narrative: for such a large-scope story it turned out to be a compelling, well-paced read that ended with a huge twist which left me eager to know what will happen next. Highly recommended.
… (mais)
 
Marcado
SpaceandSorcery | 1 outra resenha | Jul 18, 2023 |
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Kell is the twice savior of the Five Kingdoms. He traveled to the North and defeated the Ice Lich. Now, a true hero he has the chance to settle down as king of Algany. That is till his friend, the Alfar named Willow, comes to court to remind him of a promise to help her people. Now Kell must travel to a distant land leaving his wife and son behind to deal with a growing crusade.
This is book 2 in The Quest for Heroes duology, and I have to say I wish there would be more. The world that Aryan has created is fascinating and I feel that we have merely scratched the surface. I would love a deeper dive look at what is truly going on off page.
I found the characters interesting. They all had interesting narrative arcs, especially Queen Sigrid and Odd. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Odd was definitely the stand-out character for me. So many questions are left unanswered about him, and in the end, that’s okay. The answers did not really matter to the character. Knowing wouldn’t have changed his actions.
While the other viewpoint characters shone, I did find Kell to be a little lacking. The last book was all about his trauma of being “a hero” and wrestling with what it meant to be a coward. In this one, he is rather out of focus. His internal struggle was seemingly resolved in the last book. Now he is dealing with his “reward” and the fears of being an absent father. Yet, there seems to be not a lot for him to do. This is not his story anymore.
I found that Aryan had a great way of writing fight scenes and combat in general. I never found myself confused about what was going on, instead could clearly imagine the fight happening. Overall, I found the prose to be fantastic and perfect for the story being told.
In the end, I loved this book. It was a fun adventure with some fascinating characters. If this is the ending of the series, then it ended well with just enough answers to leave the reader satisfied, but enough mysteries to let them imagine. Definitely worth a read, especially for those that want a different take on a “chosen hero sent out on a quest.”
… (mais)
 
Marcado
The_Book_Kaiju | Jan 16, 2023 |
This starts as yet another novelised role-playing session featuring a big bad who is slaughtering all around him (and his end is a bit deus ex) but I cared for several of the characters and was interested in their choices and why they were making them. Some of the motives aren't as obvious as others and the story left a few hanging questions, like, how come there were so few mages in the world and what was going on with them that they were disappearing and what was going to happen when more of them die. And then there's Vargus and who he is and how he does what he does. And Talandra who has to deal with a crown and battles and love and loss and sometimes all at the same time.
It's an interesting story and I'm curious about the world.
… (mais)
 
Marcado
wyvernfriend | outras 3 resenhas | Jul 15, 2022 |

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Estatísticas

Obras
14
Membros
832
Popularidade
#30,689
Avaliação
3.8
Resenhas
12
ISBNs
52
Idiomas
2

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