What if spilling your own blood was the only way to save yourself?
Masako escapes the Lord Council with only her life intact, her clan shattered and master dead in wake of disaster she wrought. It is her cursed blood that cries out, and a godsborne that answers.
By the power in her blood, and a promise made with it, she’s given a second chance. With it, she must unite the outer clans, move past old rivalries and worse, or face annihilation at the hands of a foreign sect of sorcerers, the Taosii Soshists, and their silent invasion.
Only, Masako was executed, she’s meant to be dead. Demonic rumours and a destructive past sow doubt in her campaign before it is begun.
The Blood of Outcasts is set in a fantasy world that seems to be based on ancient Japan. I’m not well versed in that mythology, but there was enough detail embedded in the story that I never felt lost or confused by some of the unfamiliar terms and references.
As a main character, Masako is heavily driven by rage. There are brief glimpses of more to her personality, but they are almost always pushed aside. Given her past and her quest for revenge, the rage seems justifiable—most of the time. There were a few instances where I couldn’t quite grasp why she became angry with one character or another, and after a while, I chalked it up to it being her personality flaw. Some readers may have a tough time relating to her, but I felt her personality fit well within the context of the story.
There is a ton of action in this book. Battles, single combat, monster fights… The fast pacing made it a relatively fast read, even though it’s by no means a short book. I do want to mention, however, that it took me a while to get into the author’s writing style. There are many short phrases, and an abruptness at times that took some getting used to. In terms of the fight scenes, I think it helped lend a sense of urgency that might otherwise have been missing.
There were some unique magic concepts featured. The “Meaters” were an interesting sort, and I wish we’d been given a little more information on them. They seem to be able to control animals (or at least wolves) and some can transform themselves into beasts. The Soshists were a bit of an enigma – they were clearly considered the enemy by Masako, but their magic was never fully explained. They seemed to be some sort of necromancers at times, but also had fire magic. And there was Masako’s blood magic, which was sometimes a bit disturbing.
For the most part, I enjoyed the overall storyline and the pacing through the end of the book.
And speaking of the end – it’s a cliffhanger. But book 2 is now available, so I’ll have to pick that up soon.