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review 2019-10-29 01:57
A Satisfying New Fantasy Adventure
Anbatar: Legacy of the Blood Guard - Anne Dolleri

Nareth is a Samerier warrior (a super-soldier of sorts, I'm going to stay vague about that), and single-handedly turned the tide against an invading army in a recent war. Haunted by what happened (particularly is role in it), and determined to prevent that needing to happen again, he goes on a secret peace mission to the country that recently invaded his own. His brother, the king, sends a security force and an ambassador, too. But they can't move as quickly as he can (nor are they as driven).

 

Nareth arrives in the capitol city, Anbatar, and is stymied on every front—he can't talk to anyone in the government. The invasion had gone so awry that the king was killed, so by law, the leaders of the nation are behind locked doors for weeks until succession is decided and a new king is crowned. Forced to wear makeup to disguise his darker pigmentation, Nareth familiarizes himself with Anbatar, starts to get a feel for the politics in the city, and makes some contacts that will help when he (and the coming diplomat) have a chance to negotiate a lasting peace.

 

When the opportunity arises (forced, actually, by Nareth taking a reckless and potentially calamitous step), it comes tied to dangerous tasks -- digging out the remnants of a secret police and protecting the daughter of a popular candidate for the monarchy from forces loyal to the slain king's family.

 

This books would work pretty well as Exhibit A in an examination of why I rarely DNF things. There were a handful of aspects to this novel that felt like deal-breakers when Dolleri introduced them. If not deal-breakers, harbingers of a disappointing read, anyway. The kind of things that felt things I've read in other independently published Fantasy novels that almost never worked out well. For example: the way she kept most of the details about the Samerier warriors from the reader for most of the book; the seemingly irrational feud between Nareth and his ambassador—and the way the two interacted with each other; the way the inevitable romance was introduced. Dolleri didn't do a bad job with any of them, but at first blush these things (and others) reminded me of a disappointment in another book and made me think that this book would be the same. But at some point, without me noticing, she won me over. Every time that I grumbled about something in my notes, or rolled my eyes at an idea, I eventually got to the point where not only did the thing not bother me, I ended up liking the way she was dealing with things.

 

I'm not sure I'm being clear there—so let me put it this way: every negative (or potential negative) that I came across, she turned into a positive. That's skill, that's a good instinct (even if she didn't see what I'm complaining about as a negative), she put enough heart, individuality or chutzpah into her story that I couldn't help but respond positively.

At one point (I have to be careful here to not give away anything), it became clear to me what kind of ending she was going for (even if I didn't have all the details guessed, I could see the trajectory) and it's not what I expected. Even here, I quickly got behind her choices and was able to enjoy them.

 

There is a real lack of backstory about this world, about the recently completed war and the ongoing tensions between the two countries (pre-war and after). We get a little bit of information on this, but not much. This is both wonderful—no prolonged infodumps—and frustrating—it'd just be nice to know from time to time. Ultimately, I think this was a smart move (and makes the reading easier), but man...I'm curious.

 

I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about this character, but there's a thief wandering around the city. He can get where he wants, when he wants. His mere presence gets people to give him their money—he's like Batman would be if he turned. His character alone, plus the impact he has on various points of the story, are real bonuses for me. I'd read a book about him at the drop of a hat.

 

Typically in Fantasy novels, animals are just part of the background, or they're invested with some sort of near-magic/supernatural quality. Nothing against the latter, but I'd prefer just some good animals. That's what we have here—Alahar, Nareth's horse is a good warhorse—he works well with his rider, but isn't supernaturally fast, strong or smart animal. Nareth also has a dog, Revo. It seems once or twice that Revo might secretly be supernatural, but in the end, he's just a good dog. I think he gets short-changed a little in the end (and that's not just because I'm obsessed with dogs in fiction), but he's nice to see.

 

The last character that I want to focus on is Keni. He's a typical street urchin who does some odd jobs for Nareth and ends up being taken under his wing. There was something infectious and charming about his presence, and I think a lot of the affection I ended up having toward this book is rooted in him. At the very least, Dolleri's use of him magnified my appreciation for the book.

 

My last point is this—Dolleri isn't a native English speaker/writer. Which can be a dicey thing when trying to write/translate fantastical elements. If I didn't know English was a second language for her, I don't think I could've determined that from the book. Major kudos to her for that—no small feat.

 

Is this the best Fantasy I've read this year? No. But it's a surprisingly satisfying one. I'm ready to head back to this world, hopefully back to some of the characters. It's an intriguing setting for some enjoyable characters to have their adventures in with an author that has some pretty solid story-telling chops. I'd get this one if I were in your shoes, folks.



LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/10/28/anbatar-legacy-of-the-blood-guard-by-anne-dolleri-a-satisfying-new-fantasy-adventure
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review 2017-10-05 00:42
Hurry up
Blood Guard: A Mission Novel - Megan Erickson

This new Mission series sets your heart pounding right away!  We begin with Athan finding Tendra.  Scaring her to death is only part of his charm.  He is also really attracted to his charge.  Duty must win over lust, since he needs to get her to his brother immediately to save the human race.

 

Tendra AKA "Ten" is a very personable and sincere loner.  She is surprised that she can feel such strong emotions for Athan - that is not hate.  He is very attractive, and her heart goes pitter patter anytime he even looks at her.  If only she could be his...

 

This book charmed me almost from page one.  The characters were strong, but not overbearing.  I think the lore makes people feel like vampires should be - but I am glad in this book the MC is not.  I love their story and I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment in this amazing new series!  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2017-09-20 01:38
Strong characters, strong connections
Blood Guard: A Mission Novel - Megan Erickson
I did not know what to expect but I got an interesting ride. This is a world where vampires live among humans while a war brews between vampire clans. Athan is sexy, honest, and driven. Tendra has lived an unstable life built on moving and loss of family. With a cat as her companion, she finds a way to trust Athan and make decisions that affect her life as well as others. The two of them are a strong couple and will do anything for each other. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next one.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley, and this is my unsolicited review.
 
 

 

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review 2017-09-15 13:08
Great Book With Great Characters
Blood Guard: A Mission Novel - Megan Erickson

Tendra was running late and with all the time she had missed at her job she was in danger of being fired. Tendra worked at a bar called The Rose is a not so great part of town. Brex was Tendra’s cat and the closest thing Tendra now had to family now. Brex and tendra understood each other somehow. Like how Brex had never left Tendra’s side when her mom died. Tendra had lived in the apartment now for five years even though it was rundown. Tendra hated feeling vulnerable and had felt nothing but that for weeks. Maybe it was time for tendra and brex to leave Mission City to start over. Tendra knew how to start over as Tendra had been doing that all her life. Tendra felt like she was allergic to laying down roots, to allow herself to be beholding to anyone else. Five years had been the longest tendra had lived anywhere. It was great working at The Rose in that not only did Tendra make money but it also took her mind off everything. Moving so much Tendra was always the outsider but she did have a couple of friends she trusted especially Ruby.  Tendra wasn’t sure what it would be like to be fully accepted. Tendra’s mom said her dad had left when Tendra was a baby and later on her mom had heard her father had been in a car accident and died. So after her mother had passed tendra had no living relatives. Also tendra hadn’t found someone she wanted to have a child with. Tendra knew she was being followed when she walked home after work and readied her switchblade that she always carried with her. But he was too fast and big and neither her switchblade or her stiletto made contact on the man. Then he put Tendra to sleep. Then when Tendra came to Brex was next to her and the man told her the cat there with some of her clothes. The man also told kendra he was a vampire and her blood guard as she was to be delivered to his older brother to make their clan stronger. Then the man said his clan was of Vampires and his name was Athan. Tendra believed vampires weren’t real but then Athan proved to her and she started to believe him. Then Athan commented on how Tendra knew self defense and she told him when she was still in school she and a couple of friends  had been on a field trip and had been kidnapped. The girls  were told they would be held until after dark. But a classmate had followed and got the license number of the car and they were rescued before dark. Neither Tendra or her friends knew why they had been kidnapped. She remembered every time her and her mom had moved when Athan brought up they had moved around a lot.  There had always been real fear in her mom's eyes when they moved and the had moved quickly every time. Athan told Tendra her mother’s duty had been to prepare Tendra to take her place as Sanquivita of the Gregorie vampire clan. Which meant Tendra was the sole human provider of blood for Athan’s brother the future king. Athan said her mom would have told her soon about everything but the Valyrians had killed her mom first. The Valyrians were a rival vampire clan and they wanted to enslave all humans as blood banks for the vampires. The Valyrians had been trying to kill Tendra since they had learned of her existence. Tendra’s blood will make Idris - Athan’s brother- strong enough to beat the Valyrians. Tendra was the first in ten generations as it had taken ten generations to make this power in Tendra’s blood. Athan said his brother idris was a good man and would treat her well. The Valyrians had hired vampire assassins to find and kill tendra before she could fulfill her destiny. The whole Gregorio clan would have to help to get Tendra to Idris.

I loved this story and could find nothing bad to say about it or I didn’t like about the book. I loved that. I loved how Athan was with Tendra after he explained things to her and as time went on. I loved the plot and pace of this book. It was a unique take on a vampire paranormal story and I loved it. I loved Athan and Idris but the names were a mouthful. I loved the action,suspense,  betrayal, lies. greed, and all that went into this story. I loved Athan and Tendra together and was very happy how things turned out. This was a great fun read and i never had a problem with the story keeping my attention. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this story and i highly recommend.

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review 2017-09-12 12:32
Blood Guard by Megan Erickson
Blood Guard: A Mission Novel - Megan Erickson

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this one. I was in the mood for a vampire book when I decided to pick this book up and it ended up being a pretty good fit for me. I read another book written by Megan Erickson earlier this year and was curious about what she would do with a completely different kind of story. I really liked what she did with the start of this new series. This was a fairly short book that I ended up reading cover to cover in a single day and really enjoyed the experience.

I really liked the world at the center of this story. The rules of the vampire society are worked into the story gradually so that it was never too much new information given at the same time. We learn things little by little right along with Tendra but everything makes sense in connection with the plot. There were a few really original ideas built into this world which I really enjoyed.

I really liked both of the main characters. Athan is the perfect combination of honorable, tough, caring, and loyal. He is a great leader who isn't afraid to make tough decisions when needed. He cares about the vampires in the clan and tries to help when he can. Tendra accepts what she is told about her destiny pretty quickly. She wants to do what her ancestors have set up as her calling. I loved these two together and thought that the chemistry between them was really well done.

The overall plot was rather exciting. Athan and Tendra have to travel together so that she can be delivered to the future king of the clan while other groups are trying to stop them. They run into quite a few obstacles and things become desperate several times. There are a few sexy scenes worked into the story that do a great job at balancing out some of the action.

I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal romance. I had a lot of fun reading this fun little vampire story. I am looking forward to reading future books in this series.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I liked this one. I was in the mood for a vampire romance and this fit the need quite well. I liked the characters and the world that they were in. Looking forward to following this new series.

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