Title: The Bloodprint
Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: October 19th 2017
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
In the lands of Candour, the Talisman threaten the authority of the Council with their growing indoctrination of the masses based on their rigid, oppressive interpretation of the Claim; a text orally transmitted from generation to generation, which they have appropriated in order to gain power. Tasked by the Council to fight this is Arian, aided by companion Sinnia and young boy Wafa, who must find the Bloodprint, legendary manuscript the Claim is based on, in order to stop the Talisman and re-establish the truth.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
The Bloodprint is an adult fantasy novel full of religion, language and feminism, presenting to its reader a complex world dealing with contemporary issues.
Arian is the First Oralist and a Companion of Hira and her character was just as complex as the world she’s living in. I especially loved seeing her determination to break the slave chains and to find her sister, as well as her motherly affections towards Wafa, sisterhood with Sinnia and the inner conflict she faces near the end due to her uncontrolled actions.
There is also a romantic sub-plot that I actually quite enjoyed because I loved the mystery surrounding the Silver Mage. But, most of the novel does focus on Arian’s Audacy – to seek out The Bloodprint, a sacred text to undermine the Talisman’s rule – rather than Daniyar’s unrequited love.
Furthermore, the quotes of the Claim that are mentioned in the book are translated verses of the Qu’ran and I thought this really demonstrated how the same text can be interpreted in two completely different ways. As a language lover, I also appreciated the magical element when it came to reciting verses, reminding us that there is power in the use of words, so choose them wisely.
That being said, I did think the book was quite slow-paced at times and the world-building was so complex that I didn’t fully understand it until the end. I was very confused by the ‘One’ mentioned within the Claim and the ‘One-Eyed Preacher’ who leads the Talisman, initially thinking they were the same person. Furthermore, we are introduced to a lot of characters and groups of people and trying to remember who everyone is and what they believe in can become a chore.
Overall, this was a great start to the series. The ending left me in a state of “What did I just read!?” because I honestly wasn’t expecting it at all. I loved the diverse cast, especially of powerful women, and the influence of Islam on their world. I will definitely be picking up the second one!