Book Two of the Rebel Angels series
By Gillian Philip
Available now from Tor (Macmillan)
Read my review of Firebrand
When I read FIREBRAND, I had no expectations. But when I read BLOODSTONE, I had high expectations because FIREBRAND was so good. For the most part, it lived up to my expectations.
BLOODSTONE is set several hundred years after FIREBRAND ends. Seth McGregor, his older brother Conal, and their allies have been living out their exile in the human world. But as Conal's mother gets older, the time nears for them to return to the world of the Sithe and face their old enemy, Queen Kate NicNiven, again.
Several new characters are introduced in BLOODSTONE, including two who share narration duties with Seth. There's Finn, Conal's niece, who doesn't know that she isn't human. Then there's Jed, a thief, who is surprisingly good at seeing through the Veil and noticing the Sithe. Unfortunately, that's a dangerous talent for humans. I thought the changing views was a nice touch. I like Seth quite a bit, but it's interesting to see his actions from a perspective that doesn't know what he's thinking. Jed also adds a nice touch of humanity to the mix, since Gillian Philip's Sithe remain very inhuman.
The plot takes a little while to get going. There is lots of maneuvering to get the characters into the right places. Once it does get going, some of the characters make horrendous decisions. Yes, they're getting played, but maybe if they didn't make it so easy . . . BLOODSTONE is beautifully written, exciting, and it's wonderful to spend time with these characters again. But it did suffer a bit from second book syndrome.
That being said, quite a bit happens, from the surprising to the sad to the triumphant. There's not an actual shortage of plot, it just meanders sometimes. The main characters are left in a very interesting position at the end of BLOODSTONE, and I can't wait to see what happens next! I hope the US edition of WOLFSBANE comes soon. (I'm contenting myself with the fact that UK readers don't have the fourth and final book yet.)
I think this series has become one of my favorites. It's got a tortured hero who doesn't love easily, fairies, thieves, loyalty, betrayal, murderous frog people . . . what more does a story need?