Publication Order of Raven’s Shadow Books
|Blood Song||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Tower Lord||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Queen of Fire||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Born in 1970, Anthony Ryan is an English writer who although born in Scotland, has spent nearly all his life in England and now resides in London. He is the author of the trilogy under the name of Raven’s Shadow, with two books; Blood Song and Tower Lord already out. According to interviews, Ryan confesses to being very interested in writing from a very young age. During school competitions, he was always eager to put up some interesting write up. He has always liked to conjure up things and it has always led to more and more writing. As a student, he liked to read and write about almost everything.
Asked about his writing habits, Ryan explains that every book for him is an opportunity to let his thoughts go wild. In his first book, the outline was a single page. That is all the preparation he had. Yet when he started writing, the words simply flowed forth and he was able to finish strong. While some critics argue that it took way too long for the book to hit the shelves, this is understandable because the author was at that time studying for a degree in medieval history and did not get enough time to develop his plot points. Initially, Blood Song (2013) was self-published but later, he decided to go with penguin’s publishers despite enjoying commercial success on his own. The first and second editions of this book received a good critical acclaim, but sales predictably skyrocketed after the deal with Penguin. Tower Lord followed, and the last book in the trilogy, Queen of Fire, comes out later this year.
Ryan’s first book is an epic fantasy. In the sixth order, Vaelin Al Sorna, brother of the sixth order in a dystonic realm fights a losing war against everyone .Vaelin is less than thirty years old, yet a mission exists for which he must sacrifice all the things he believed in . Most of the activities in the book do not happen within his control. He must pursue a destiny that is unknown to him. While creating this character, Ryan shows an incredible sense of creativity. Technically, there exists no true definition of Vaelin. He is a shadow, he moves in the realm in the pursuit of enemies. Despite the fact that he has to fight to the death in most of his duel, there is a sense of hopelessness in the way things happen. The plan is that Vaelin is going to die, because at the end of it all, the owner of the duel does not target a win for Vaelin, but a win for himself.
A conflict slowly builds up between Vaelin Al Sorna and the evil, demanding king who seeks to have nothing but retribution. The odds here seem to be stacked solidly against Vaelin. While he struggles between conflicting emotions, the premise here is that he must kill to live. According to his detractors, the protagonist here is paying for the sins of his father. While he wants to stay loyal to his creed, he cannot help but wonder how near the end is, as he is deeply aware of his own invincibility and vulnerability.
Ryan creates a fast-paced saga where the character only stays at the edges of the consciousness of the leader. Vaelin is essentially a protagonist who lives outside his own story. There is an incredible sense of dread and expectation throughout. While in most of the places Vaelin appears clearly cut out, he veers to the edge of the ledge now and then and comes back to haunt the conscience of the reader. The pace is fast, the suspense is gripping and the sense of expectation is palpable. The Alpiran Empire knows Vaelin as the hope killer, and he will stop at nothing; it is his creed, it is in him to kill and it is part of his destiny.
Vaelin picks up his story from Blood King. He knows that the war he has been fighting in has come because of deception. He does not divulge to anyone that the war that has been going on is a lie. However, it haunts him. Men are dying, blood is being spilt in the name of loyalty, and the tragedy is that scores of brave men have to be the sacrifice that waters the tree of liberty. The dark blade, as Vaelin goes by, slowly gets disillusioned and chooses to go back home to wallow in the solitude of his misery. The long trek back home is depressing, and so do the images that confront him.
Vaelin gets home, but the circumstances have shifted .Things are not as they used to be. There is simply no hope anymore. The power does not rest in the hands of the righteous. The images of the wars and the massacres play out prominently in the minds of men and gods. The hope killer is not at home in his own home. There those who know him, and they have a personal vendetta, they know that he has survived, and this does not sit easily with them. The plan is to annihilate this ghost who moves among men, leaving a trail of blood and gore in his wake, only that at all the time, he chooses the wicked and spares the innocent. However, in the minds of those who wish to finish him off, he is an obstacle, and he will always remain a threat as long as he is alive.
For Vaelin, war is not something he chooses. It is something he was born with, and he abhors this fact. He dreams of utopia in a dystopian realm. As events come to a head, he if forced to draw his sword and has to admit that despite all the sense of detachment, it always has to come down to a clash of swords, the thumping of hearts and the dropping of blood.
With Vaelin, Ryan creates a bizarre character that seems torn between loyalty and submission, belief and vanity. Vaelin’s travails have to go on, and he literally drags himself in and outside the fringes of the conscious of the reader. He is a ghost, he is thinly defined, and that is what Ryan wants him to be.Book Series In Order » Characters » Raven’s Shadow