And based on my sampling (and I've only read a little David Gemmell, admittedly), I'd say Ryan's better. /faux gasp.
Blood Song, Anthony Ryan
Ryan's epic heroic fantasy debut was initially self-published, but my lovely copy came via Hachette's Orbit to coincide with its release last month. This book has high ratings and rave reviews for a reason;
- Let's take a bullet just to reiterate how manly that cover is. As is the title. And the tagline. And linking him to Gemmell? That is a sure-bait cocktail for my husband (a Gemmell fanatic).
- This book delivers on its promises. Kvothe (The Name of the Wind), promises a formidable fighter, and it takes a long time to get to some real action. I didn't mind. I liked learning about the many dimensions of Kvothe (the academic, the musician, the friend...). Haki? Not so much. He wanted the battle he was promised. Ryan's hero, Vaelin, engages in battle upon battle from cover to cover.
- And these are not empty violent escapades for testosterone's sake, this novel's narrative is complex! Seriously complex.
- Back to comparison to Rothfuss. It's inevitable. The legendary retelling of a (semi-)has-been hero to a recorder, from a single perspective = the same. The writing, in both cases = excellent. But Vaelin is more believable. His love interest is more real. Both are excellent books...Ryan's is just a better book for the man I know best.
- So it opens like The Name of the Wind, becomes a mixture of Ender's Game and Trudi Canavan's fight training, then becomes The Hunger Games meets Man versus Wild, before winding up with a bit of Sam Bowring meets Tolkien. It is good.
- The episodes dotting the story's arc to climax are all relevant and worthy for inclusion.
- F-bomb appearances = About 6 times.
- Small beef: The names. Places, people -- all similar. Why do you do that to me?! WHY?! I get that it creates a cultural identity, but it also creates a brain freeze. Once I thawed, it was okay.