Review – Forged by Blood (A Kingdom Scarred, #0.5) by Catrin Russell

This is the prequel to A Kingdom Scarred, a new fantasy series which contains all the required elements including a young man on a quest, a younger sibling in peril and fantastic, vicious creatures. There’s a village set in the foothills of towering mountains and tension between children and parents. Anyone who has read what was formerly the Prime series will know they are in for a treat.

This book is a quick read, but it’s a great start to a promising series, and is packed with excitement as Connor sets out to rescue his younger brother Dragan, who has been taken by a winged lizard.

What I loved most about this wasn’t just the visceral conflict between man and beast, the reconciliation of father and son, or even the terrific world-building – all of which made this story hugely enjoyable – but the promise of a great relationship between Connor and his spirit animal at the end, which was a lovely surprise. I’m a sucker for a cute animal, although this one isn’t cute and definitely isn’t fluffy. I’ll be very interested to see how this story develops.

BLURB

Only one thing stands between Connor and his chance at proving his worth to the Ambersky Clan – the arduous Campaign of Mettle. And his journey is finally within reach.

But Connor’s departure goes awry as his beloved brother Dragan vanishes, taken away by a terrifying creature. The hunters could gather and set off in pursuit, but their arrival may be too late to matter. And Connor cannot let that happen. 

Left with no choice but to track the beast alone, Connor is set on facing whatever dangers await him head-on, and hunt down the monster in a desperate attempt to save his little brother.

Through drenching rain in a wild storm, Connor braves a most treacherous path to the creature’s lair. He is a young man with a mission. One he cannot fail. 

Yet, as he is pitted alone against one of the most vicious monsters of all, the beast’s fangs and claws are the least of Connor’s trials. His own unrelenting doubt and despair threaten to engulf him. 

Will he ever manage to reach his brother in time, or is the boy doomed to become the creature’s next meal? 

A Kingdom Scarred is intended for a mature audience, containing sensitive subjects including violence, torture, abuse, emotional scars, mature language, and steamy scenes. 

Published by Lady J's Pawsome Readers

As well as reviewing books, I'm a writer of romantic suspense, MM fiction and LGBTQIA sci-fi. One of the original founders of WROTE Podcast, a medium for showcasing queer storytelling in all forms.

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