Blurb (from Goodreads):
Something strange is happening in Returning City, something dangerous.
Gabriel has never questioned things before. He knows that because he is a revenant like everyone else, he has to fight the not-family and hurt them to keep his own family safe. He has never questioned that the sky is always dark or that hungry things watch him from the forest.
But in Returning City, everyone has secrets.
Gabriel grew up believing that he was the same as everyone else. But now, things are changing. He begins to see strange, monstrous creatures instead of the people he has always known. Struggling to protect his family, Gabriel must turn to a mysterious stranger, but is she only helping him for her own dark purposes?
In order to survive, Gabriel has to become more than he has ever been, and he will have to go against all he has ever known. Soon Gabriel will realize that something dangerous waits for him—his past—and that past holds a secret deadlier than anything he could ever imagine.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis.)
Gabriel is a revenant. He lives in a place called ‘Returning City’, which is surrounded on all sides by a forest known as ‘Eden’.
Gabriel lives with his family – four other boys called Leute, C’hian, Call, and Baital. Each has their own thing that they are good at, and Gabriel is his family’s fighter. Every so often he must go to the fighting circle in the middle of the city and fight an ‘other’ – a revenant who does not have a family. If Gabriel wins the fight he gets food, clothing, and shelter for his family, if he loses they will go hungry, and will lose their clothes and house.
One night as Gabriel is going home, he is attacked by a woman called Ryvall and a gang of ‘others’, he then finds his way through a secret door and speaks to a woman called Lamia, who tells him that Ryvall works for a thing called ‘Exile’ who is killing revenants. She warns Gabriel that Ryvall killed her entire family, and that Gabriel’s family is next.
After an unexpected summons to the fighting ring, Gabriel is asked to fight a member of his own family – Baital who is much younger and smaller than him. Gabriel can’t bring himself to fight properly and loses on purpose, which sets other events into motion; and Gabriel finds himself unsure of whom he can trust, and unsure of what exactly is going on.
It now seems that Ryvall may be a friend, and Lamia may not be. When Ryvall cuts her skin black liquid flows out, whilst his own blood is red. Now Gabriel isn’t sure who or what he really is; is he really a revenant? Is his family really his family? Who is killing revenants? Who is Exile? And what must Gabriel do to make everything right again?
That is an extremely simplified version of the beginning of this book, as there is far too much to try to summarise! To be honest I have to say that I was in two minds about this book in places, it is really complex and at times I felt confused, but even when I was confused I felt a compulsion to keep reading! This book is strangely addictive!
This book has an extremely intricate and complexly woven storyline, to the point where I would need to write an essay to even begin to tell you about Returning City, and the background to the story.
Gabriel is not your average protagonist, he doesn’t really understand what he is, or how he came to be, but this doesn’t seem to be an issue for him at all. He likes to keep things simple as much as he possibly can, he needs to provide for his family, and he does this by fighting. It’s as simple as that for Gabriel, and when he finds himself drawing pictures of places he has never been he wishes that he could go back to when things were simple.
At times Gabriel had no clue what was going on, or whom to trust during this story, and I have to say that I was right there alongside him! The reader follows Gabriel along his journey, and learns things as Gabriel learns them, giving the reader an idea of how confused he feels, especially when he wonders if his family has turned against him. All the way through the book I was thinking ‘What the heck is he?’, ‘What does that mean?’ and just had to keep reading to try to find the answers!
This book really does keep the reader in the dark, the same as Gabriel, and while clues are given, it is almost like the story allows the reader to make up their own mind as to exactly what is going on. This is an interesting approach, and one that seems to work in this book.
There was a lot going on in this book, and I think it might actually take a second read through to truly appreciate everything that happens, and the multitude of forces that are fighting for and against Gabriel. This book requires real thought, is not easy to put down, and is not your average ‘vampire’ story.
7 out of 10.
(Book Length: 5070 Kindle Locations)
Author Interview N. R. Allen
When did you start writing?
I've been coming up with stories ever since I can remember. As for writing, as soon as I learned how to put words together on paper, I started coming up with novels. At first, they were comedy-horror type things, but mostly comedy.
What was your inspiration for ‘Blood of the Revenant’/ How did you come up with such a complex background world?
When I write, I'm a little backward. I come up with a specific image and then build everything around that image. For me, the starting image was a necklace. I kept building and building, fleshing out Gabriel and the world he lives in. Gabriel has been shaped so much by his world that it seemed natural to create things as I went, to show the world as he developed. Also, as he finds out the truth about himself, he sees just what a lie the world he has been living in actually is.
What three words would you use to best describe ‘Blood of the Revenant’?
Family is deadly.
Are you currently working on anything else/ Can we expect to hear more about the revenants in the future?
I've had a few readers tell me they'd like to see more set in that world. I haven't had a story reach out and grab me yet. Instead, I've started working on a different novel, a dark, urban fantasy. I also have a collection of short stories due to be released soon.
Other than your own, what are your favourite books?
I'm a sucker for the classics: Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace. But I also love The Stand, 'Salem's lot, Watchers by Dean R. Koontz, and an older novel called Night of the Hunter.
Random question – What is your favourite treat?
Homemade "Death by Chocolate".
Thanks to N. R. Allen for dropping by,
and for making this giveaway possible!
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