I don’t like using gifs in my reviews, but I almost made an exception for this one; I nearly made a loop of Wexler just knocking a ball out of the park. Wexler has a few projects ongoing currently, but the one I am most interested in is his Burningblade and Silvereye trilogy. The first book in the series, Ashes of the Sun, was one of my top picks for 2020; so the sequel was highly anticipated. The second book, Blood of the Chosen, comes out soon and it is everything I hoped for.
In many ways, the plot of Blood of the Chosen is just a continuation of the story from book one. For those unfamiliar, the narrative follows two siblings, Gyre and Maya, who find themselves on opposing sides of a titanic conflict between god-like races. One side is made up of powerful magic users, called the chosen, and the other is made up of terrifying biomancers called ghouls. Neither side is particularly black and white, and Gyre and Maya find themselves embroiled in a complicated conflict with a lot of nuances. If you want a more detailed breakdown of the story, read my first review.
As for Blood of the Chosen, it’s mostly just follow-through from book one (in a good way). Ashes of the Sun is a book that is heavy in worldbuilding and foreshadowing, setting up a wonderful canvas and plot to entertain and delight. Maya and Gyre both go through their own character journeys in isolation and it’s not until the end of the book that we really see them start to cross paths. As I mentioned in my Ashes review, one of the most powerful aspects of this story is that Maya and Gyre actually feel like siblings who care about one another and struggle to reconcile their burning ideals with their love of their family. It avoids melodrama and tropes in order to tell a more organized, grey, and believable story that enhanced my enjoyment greatly.
Blood of the Chosen expands upon this greatly. From page one we begin to see both Gyre and Maya grapple with the fact that their bubbles have been breached and they need to consider new alternative ideas to their political identities. While the literal narrative is slightly predictable, the character growth from Maya and Gyre is an emotional rollercoaster that filled me with adrenaline from start to finish. The end result is the realization of the excellent foreshadowing from book one and a setup for book three that has me watering at the metaphorical mouth. Wexler if you are reading this, I literally cannot wait for book three.
In addition to all of this, Blood of the Chosen continues in Ashes footsteps with killer action that brings the excitement. Gyre and Maya’s completely different power suites add creativity and variety to the awesome action sequences. The magic and world continue to feel refreshing in the current fantasy landscape, despite its dystopian nature. This is definitely a science fantasy for those of you looking for the books that slip between the genres. Finally, the humor of book two continues to be great, which adds levity to balance out the more emotionally draining moments. The balance of horror and comedy enhances both and I am always a fan of the combination.
I have absolutely no complaints about Blood of the Chosen. It was a top anticipated read for 2021, and it lived up to that expectation with ease. Wexler has managed to crack the code on familial dramas and present something new and creative that I love. The cliffhanger ending of Blood of the Chosen is already killing me, I need the third installment as soon as possible.
Rating: Blood of the Chosen – 10/10
An ARC of this book was provided to us in exchange for an unbiased review. The thoughts on this story are my own.