Book Review: Bloodrush

Bloodrush by Ben Galley, The Scarlet Star Trilogy #1

Magick ain’t pretty, it ain’t stars and sparkles. Magick is dirty. It’s rough. Raw. It’s blood and guts and vomit. You hear me?”

When Prime Lord Hark is found in a pool of his own blood on the steps of his halls, Tonmerion Hark finds his world not only turned upside down, but inside out. His father's last will and testament forces him west across the Iron Ocean, to the very brink of the Endless Land and all civilisation. They call it Wyoming.

This is a story of murder and family.

In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, there is no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A faerie named Rhin. A twelve-inch tall outcast of his own kind.

This is a story of blood and magick.

But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages. Secrets lurk in Tonmerion's bloodline. Secrets that will redefine this young Hark.

This is a story of the edge of the world.
 


I few weeks ago I was looking at new books to read and just went browsing on the internet and stumbled upon the excerpt of Bloodrush the latest book of self published author Ben Galley. After finishing it, I readily new that this is one of those books that lives up to my "reading motto" of that I like to read books where author don't go the distance but go the extra distance to produce something exciting, and this is precisely what Ben Galley does, he goes the extra distance. Ben Galley is best known for his Emaneska series (a quartet featuring the books The Written, Pale King and Dead Stars parts 1 and 2. Next to being a writer, Ben Galley also offers self publishing help. Now onto the story.

One thing that directly set the setting straight for Bloodrush is the introduction. Here in you read that werewolves and other supernatural creatures aren't weird. When a person goes missing or something odd happens this will be the most likely explanation. When I read this I was excited for the remainder of the story. You have either of two sort of story, supernatural inspired where it is either the focus of the story or where it is put in the background creating an alluring sense. And now come to think of it, Bloodrush is both of these cases. As after this introduction the story starts to focus on young Lord Tonmerion Hark. Instead of any threat, but you as a reader know darn well what is on the background and later after passing 25% of the story Ben Galley delves fully into the supernatural aspect of this story. 

The story of Bloodrush focuses on the young Lord Tonmerion. In the beginning of the book his father is murdered, Tonmerion's father held an important role for the Empire of Britannia, he was the Prime Lord, right hand to the Queen. With loosing his father Tonmerion is on his own and since Tonmerion is a minor, he is send to his only living relative in America, his aunt Lilain to live and grow up until he is old enough to take over the estates of his father. And thus Tonmerion ends up in the desert town of Fell Falls in Wyoming. On his journey to Fell Falls Tonmerion starts to see the possible hardships and mainly the discomfort he will be facing. And when he finally reaches his aunts place it all becomes reality, the level of comfort is far from what he is used to from his time in London. His first reaction is to get out of Wyoming as soon as possible and return to London once again but with a steep price for the tickets and no money available he has to accept that he will be having a rough time. Luckily Tonmerion has a friend with him and not just a friend. A Fae. Rhin. Tonmerion met Rhin when he was young and they have been inseparable even since. Just shortly after his arrival Tonmerion starts to uncover some dark secrets of this town throwing his life quite around to say the least. His aunt Lilain is the town undertaker, by her job you learn that wraiths walk in the desert and not wraiths-wraiths but railwraiths they are made up of railroad pieces and are terrifying and dangerous. A real eyeopener is shown when Tonmerion ventures with Lurker (a friend of Lilain) out of town. When Tonmerion returns he is far from the same boy who left. Tonmerion learned about Bloodrushing and this is pretty awesome but I will get to that. Now that Tonmerions presence is known in Fell Falls he gets more acquianted to the higher caste of people there. Lord Serped and his family. Even with Tonmerion's newly gained ability he is treading in dangerous waters. The question that remains to be answered is will Tonmerion be able to keep his head above it all?

As I already mentioned the focus in Bloodrush is on Tonmerion. From the beginning I liked his character, though with something of a reluctance of sorts. When you see Tonmerion in London he is a spoiled brat which becomes fully noticeable when he makes he journey towards Fell Falls. The discomfort in his rides and his place of eventual stay. He does everything to try to find away back to London. Here also lies a strong character trait of Tonmerion he is driven. After finding himself "born" a new, he accepts his faith in Fell Falls and this is an important point for character as he goes from brat to a more caring and virtuous person. Displaying traits of his father but in a much better way. Such transformation, or name it coming-of-age really helped to fortify Tonmerion's character in the story. Added to this comes the really foolish way of how Tonmerion explores Bloodrushing of his own, quite funny and again a learning point in his young life. Next to Tonmerion there are quite a few secondary characters that you meet. The Fae Rhin, the aunt of Tonmerion, Lilain and a close friend of Lilain, Lurker. Lets start of with Rhin, dont let his size fool you. Rhin is devious and knows his way around humans. With the introduction that Ben Galley gave into his world in the front of the book it was nice to have it seen followed up with a Fae creature. Rhin was and still is Tonmerion's tutor and guardian. With Rhin's character Ben Galley introduces a fun and witty character to balance some of the grim situations out. Lilain, Tonmerion's aunt, is the undertaker of Fell Falls, she doesn't only handle human bodies but also creatures both natural and supernatural. Lilain has a much darkerside to her job as an undertaker, she also deals in blood for Bloodrushers... Last and definitely not least is Lurker. A friend of Lilain. He acts as a catalyst to Tonmerion, convincing the young boy to experiment with his gift. Overal Lurker just as with Rhin adds something healty to the serious tones of other characters. Lurker might seem like an guy who does what he wants only in his own benefit but when push comes to shove he is there for you. I would want him guarding my back. 

Now as promised Bloodrushing! I tweeted about it that is was just plain cool and it is. Ben Galley advertises magick (yes it is written with a k) as a bloody and dirty business far from roses and sunshine. And it is literally a blood(y) business. Ben Galley's take on magic is directly in what I like to read, I am a sucker for cool magick and Bloodrushing meets all the requirements, it is something comparable to what Brandon Sanderson uses in Mistborn. By ingesting blood a bloodrusher is able to gain powers. The type of powers gained is dependent on the blood sample. If you ingest a squirrels blood you gain better reflexes, if you ingest that of an electric eels you can shoot lightning and from an ox you become strong with a high endurance. These are just three example of a lot more, there is a nice glossary in the end of the book that explores much more blood samples. But this is far from all, most of the people able to bloodrush can only use one animal like a magpie in Lurker's case, there are also people able to use much more animal, these are called leeches and are most dangerous of all. But wait there is more. It is also possible to blend with blood i.e. mixing two animal to gain two powers at once. So can you now understand why this is so awesome?

With Bloodrush Ben Galley has written a very strong first story in what will surely be an action packed series. I was taken from the beginning of his book right until the end, there was never a dull moment in the story. I do have to be honest that I missed a strong plot in the beginning of the book, I couldn't see the direction, but once over the half mark of the book things started to become clear and most interesting and made up for the earlier part more than enough. I haven't read Ben Galley's Emaneska series so I can't compare that with Bloodrush, but Bloodrush has all the right elements working in it's favor, solid writing and character building all along the book, an interesting world ( think crossover western/urban fantasy and supernatural) and lets not forget it has Bloodrushin which is just plain awesome. Somewhere in the book you introduced to a character and a specific trait of his, in the last paragraph of the book, Ben Galley reveals the possible continuation of the series and mentions something similar. Honestly I was saying to myself "No way, that is not possible", I need the sequel right about now! Add this book to your to read list!

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