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Friday, June 8, 2012

Blood Divided by Kevin James Breaux (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Kevin James Breaux Website 
Official Soul Born Website 
Order “Blood DividedHERE 
Read Sample Chapters HERE (PDF) 
Read FBC’s Review of Soul Born 
Read the e-Story “Soul Born Meantime: TalaHERE (PDF)

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Kevin James Breaux was born and brought up in Pennsylvania. He’s graduated from Temple University with a degree in fine art and is currently working as an IT Professional and a Graphic Artist. He’s also a black belt in karate with some background in Aikido as well. He also writes short stories and is currently working on the third book in the Soulborn series.

OFFICIAL BLURB: There exists an ancient elven proverb, dating before the time of man. Life and death, like day and night, meet at a point where they blend into one. It is that brief moment when anything is possible.

There was a time when four sparks of life burned brighter than the sun itself. Megan was born with power, Lucien born with station. Autumn was born full of life, while Nathan was entwined with death. 

Peace has come and gone... The conflicts of old have returned-rejuvenated and driven. This is the beginning of the end. The children of Karn have come of age, and now they will take part in shaping the fate of Illyia.

Will they join forces, or with blood will they be divided?

CLASSIFICATION: The Soulborn sage is a dark epic fantasy series reminiscent of the works of James Clemens, Paul S. Kemp and R.A. Salvatore.

FORMAT/INFO: Blood Divided is 300 pages long divided over thirty-four titled chapters with a Prologue and an epilogue. Narration is in the third person via Opal, Autumn, Khaos, Megan, Vasche, Queen Tala and King Ethan. Blood Divided is the second volume in The Soulborn Saga with the book ending on a proper note.

December 30, 2011 marked the trade paperback publication of Blood Divided via Dark Quest Books. Cover art provided by Dan Dos Santos.

ANALYSIS: Blood Divided is the sequel to Soul Born and as a book; I was a bit apprehensive as to how it would turn out to be. The preceding book was proclaimed to be a dark epic fantasy tale and promised much however didn’t quite live up to its promise for the reasons described in my review. This book however has another great cover and in this particular regard is a great follow-up to the first cover.

The sequel begins twenty years later than the events of the first book, the lands of Illyia now are under the rule of the king Ethan Essex who was the former duke of Kel Tora. His queen is Tala Silverwolf, former lover of Karn and current wife to Ethan. She has been blessed with a son and daughter who share her elfish traits as well as their father’s human genes. Opal has lived a secret life of sorts as well and she also has two progeny of her own. Autumn, Lucien, Megan and Nathan/Khaos are the four children that are bound by blood and magic and its there story which introduces readers to the world of Illyria once again.

There’s a lot more which I have left vague in regards to the four children as well as their parents as the story demands that the reader discover their motivations, plans and actions in the book itself. The opening chapters have quite a twist to them thereby surprising the reader with the direction of the plot, plus the author reveals a lot more details about the background story. The backstory is very suitably introduced through out the starting chapters. Particularly surprising is the enticing concept of avatars which was a small part of the earlier book but is rather nicely expanded upon quite precisely and fuels a major plot point. The magic system is also explained more this time around and forms a pertinent part of the plot.

There's also the Tala short story which gives us an important look into the events between the first and the second book, readers would be wise to read that excerpt as it will deepen their understanding of the story.  The author has done a decent job with the prose and its a definite plus from the previous book. The author seems to have plotted this story out and the pace of this book is definitely a redeeming factor, it never lets the reader rest, the story zooms ahead with all its twists and revelations and that is indeed a good point. Lastly the characterization once again is a positive factor and the character cast is suitably expanded. However the focus is tightly controlled and therefore the readers get a very good insight into the POV character actions and thoughts.

There are still some nagging points about the book namely that plot seemed a bit too convoluted at times. The entire story has some plot twists that seemed a bit coincidental sometimes. Another feature which works against the book is that the plot is a bit stereotypical, beginning with the death-crazed villain to his enamored sidekick to the half-blooded prince, etc. The story is also a bit predictable and therefore most veteran readers will easily be able to guess most of the plot points. In this regard Kevin J. Breaux fails to divert the reader’s attention and therefore the story does get adjudged to be bit weak. As a fantasy fan, I want the book to make me forget about its fallacies by its shining points however this story wasn’t able to do that completely. The tight focus of the POV structure robs the reader of knowing the overall scale of the destruction wrought but this was just something of a personal observation.

CONCLUSION: Blood Divided is a sequel and a book which can be read on its own, Kevin J. Breaux has definitely shown improvement in his second outing and this does raise my hopes for the last book in the trilogy. This book will appeal to fans of Dragonlance and R. A Salvatore books, it's also a strong sequel that manages to take the story in a different direction than expected.


shaneo52 said...

Cool cover art, reminds me of a Boris Vallejo? Was that his name? lol

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Hmm, the second book already. I still want to give the first book a try. Thanks for the review, and that it might not be as dark as I was thinking.


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