Review: The Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey

The Bloodforged by Erin LindseyThe Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey (Bloodbound #2)

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: Ace on September 29, 2015

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating StarRating StarRating Star

My thanks to Ace and NetGalley for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

The epic saga that started in The Bloodbound continues…

As war between Alden and Oridia intensifies, King Erik must defend his kingdom from treachery and enemies on all sides—but the greatest danger lurks closer to home…

Read More

When the war began, Lady Alix Black played a minor role, scouting at the edge of the king’s retinue in relative anonymity. Though she’s once again facing an attacking Oridian force determined to destroy all she holds dear, she is now bodyguard to the king and wife to the prince.
Still, she is unprepared for what the revival of the war will mean. Erik is willing to take drastic measures to defend his domain, even if it means sending Prince Liam into a deadly web of intrigue and traveling into the perilous wild lands of Harram himself.
Only the biggest threat to the kingdom might be one that neither Alix nor Erik could have imagined, or prepared for…

Fantasy Review Icon Get A Clue Review Icon Fun Review Icon

While the kingdom of Alden may have won the battle against the evil Trionate in THE BLOODBOUND, they are far from having won the war. Their country is weary of fighting and running low on supplies and soldiers alike. If they are to repel their enemies, then they must convince their allies to join the war. So Alix, Erik, and Liam are sent off to compel their neighbours to join the war effort and stand against the Trionate, conveniently separating Alix from her husband. Personally, I can’t stand the whole “the lovers must be separated in the second book to create tension” trope, so I was pretty disappointed by that. I think it would’ve been way more interesting to see how Alix and Liam cope now that Liam is actually her superior in rank, and no longer the lowly soldier. But I digress.

The separation of our main cast means the addition of Liam’s POV, since we can no longer follow his movements through the eyes of his wife and brother. Erin Lindsey does a fantastic job with Liam’s chapters, showcasing his trademark wit and snark while also introducing a more vulnerable and insecure side to the newly discovered prince. With neither his wife nor his brother to aid him, Liam must navigate his way through a fraught diplomatic mission in the coastal nation of Onnan. His insecurities about his new status and the weighty expectations on his shoulders add depth to his character, and also contribute to some very tricky political snafus.

Erin Lindsey added another POV to the mix in THE BLOODFORGED, that of Alix’s brother Riggard Black. Rig is a fantastic character, very passionate in both battle and life but tempered by a strong sense of duty. Much like his sister, Rig is a character that does everything to extremes and struggles with impulse control. But as the newly appointed General of Alden’s military forces, Rig can’t afford to be impulsive. He can’t afford to make mistakes. So when the mysterious and alluring foreign priestess Vel appears practically on his doorstep, Rig is forced to proceed with caution lest he lose the war…and his heart.

Adding two new narrative perspectives to a series can prove disastrous, particularly when the book in question is so modest in length. But Erin Lindsey seamlessly blends Liam and Rig’s chapters into the story without missing a beat or slowing down the narrative. Three cheers for that!

Unfortunately, there were some things that occurred in THE BLOODFORGED that really impacted my enjoyment of the book. I understand and enjoy the fact that this series is a fantasy-romance hybrid, but I don’t appreciate forced romantic drama…particularly when some of the parties involved are married. As far as I was concerned, when Alix married Liam at the end of the first book, all romantic conflict surrounding those two should be just that: conflict involving only those two. Not helped along by Erik’s lingering feelings for Alix or Liam’s second-in-command and her embarrassing crush on him.

Every time Rona came onto the page I wanted to throttle her, and then I wanted to throttle Liam for a) not realizing what was happening and b) not shutting her down. Yes, Liam loves Alix. No, he’s proably not going to be unfaithful. But that situation created a weird, distasteful undercurrent during all of his scenes that really irked me. Which is especially sad because I loved Liam in the first book, but now I can’t help but think of him as something of a dunderhead despite of all his character growth and new-found politicking skills.

Here’s hoping that the third book has less contrived romantic weirdness than this one did, because without it THE BLOODFORGED would have easily been a four star read for me.

Do you also find the “separated lovers in book two” trope to be annoying? What are your favourite fantasy romance novels? What did you think of the new kingdoms and cultures introduced in THE BLOODFORGED?

Related Posts

  • I actually really liked this one, and preferred it to book 1 (More Rig! Less love triangle!) Admittedly I was a little taken aback by the romantic drama you spoke of in your review though, because I thought one of the key rules of romance is that you don’t play around with a couple–let alone a married couple. The ending really fixed that for me though, I was definitely taken in until the second half when Erik’s behavior started making me more suspicious.

    • I’m definitely the odd one out as far as this book goes, but I agree – Rig was awesome! His storyline was one of the more compelling parts of the book, I thought. YES, I completely agree! Don’t mess with the established couple. Erik’s behaviour was whack haha, I’m really glad that Lindsey had a good explanation for it!

  • I can’t wait to read this one!!

  • Lynn Williams

    Yeah, I’m with Mogsy – I liked this book more than the first. I liked the first but this felt much more solid somehow. But, let me be clear, I don’t enjoy people playing around in that way at all in books and if there’s any type of unfaithfulness it genuinely puts me off the character so I did have a moment whilst reading – however, I thought the ending went a long way to clear some of those actions up. If the ending had been different it would have been a whole different story for me! I did love Rig – he’s just a great character isn’t he. I could definitely do with more Rig in these books.
    And yeah – Rona – boo!
    Lynn 😀

    • I definitely thought that the fantastical/world building elements were stronger this time around, especially the glimpses of other, non-Aldenian cultures! Oooh, I know exactly what you mean by “having a moment” while reading – I was actually pretty worried at one point, haha. Rona…why?? Haha. Rig is great! I’m also a big fan of Vel, the sassy priestess! 😀

  • I really hate the “separating lovers” trope as well. There’s so much more interesting conflict that can come up in a relationship. Even a fairly happy one. Shoot, just look at Firefly. I loved Zoe and Wash’s relationship. They were never boring because they were shown to have conflicts on occasion but were trying their best to work through them. And you wanted to see them work through it and reconcile. So many authors take the separating lovers route because it’s an easy way to create conflict between the characters.

    I haven’t read this series yet, but I’m tempted to pick it up. It sounds fairly interesting, so I may see if the library has a copy of the first book.

    • I don’t really get why so many authors use this trope, particularly in the second book of a trilogy (the Malediction trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen comes to mind). I completely agree! Zoe and Wash are relationship goals, haha. Another couple that I really love is from Jenn Bennett’s “Arcadia Bell” series (highly recommend it if you like UF), who get together in the first book and grapple with “real life” challenges that many couples face along with the occasional demon battle. Those are the kinds of couples I want to be reading about!

      If you like fantasy romance and medieval-like settings, I’d recommend it! It’s nothing ground breaking but Erin Lindsey’s a good writer and it’s a very fun series!

      • Oh nice! The Arcadia Bell series has been sitting on my “maybe read” list for a while. I didn’t know that about the main couple. I’m going to put the first book on hold at the library now, because I’m definitely interested in reading that one Thanks for the rec!

  • I find the separated lovers trope to be a bit annoying. Sometimes it can be done really well and actually make sense in terms of the story, but as a whole it feels pointless and a really pointless attempt to create conflict and tension. I don’t know, I think it’s partly how well the author writes it. If the separation actually makes sense in term of story and doesn’t feel like it’s just done in an attempt to create some kind of romantic drama then I’m all for it.

    It sucks the romance ruined this book for you, I hate when that happens. You really enjoy a book and then the next one comes along and the romance ruins a perfectly good story.

    • I know what you mean – sometimes it can be done well, but for some reason no actual examples of this come to mind, haha. Guess that goes to show how much I dislike the trope! You’re right, it feels pretty pointless sometimes. Oh wait! Maria V. Snyder’s “Healer” books do this pretty well, because it actually makes sense for the story and it’s not just about contrived romantic drama.

      The romance was definitely disappointing this time around, but I have high hopes for the last book in the trilogy! If nothing else, the cover artwork looks lovely, haha. 🙂

  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I enjoyed this one more than you did, but the romantic drama annoyed me too.

    • I’m a romance lover so when the romantic storyline isn’t up to par I feel pretty disappointed. But I do really like Erin Lindsey, so I’m going to try to go into the series finale with an open mind!