SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 604 Blood Heresy, by Janrae Frank Book Review |

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Blood Heresy, by Janrae Frank
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Renaissance
Published: 2005
Review Posted: 6/18/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10

Blood Heresy, by Janrae Frank

Book Review by Susie Hawes

Have you read this book?

Book 2 of the Dark Brothers of the Light series, Blood Heresy, again focuses on the issues of prejudice and religious intolerance as we follow the story of Isranon and his friends. The vampire demon, Hoon, Timon's father, was responsible for so much of the loss in Isranon's life, yet the son is not the father. Timon is a follower of a philosophy he has developed which calls for the sparing of lives where there is no need to kill. The similarities between his and Isranon's beliefs are strong, and bind them further. As Isranon overcomes his prejudice against Timon, and his distrust for the son of his enemy fades.

Isranon is a sa'necari, born mortal yet obtaining power through dark blood rites including murder, rape and the devouring of souls. Isranon's ancestor, Isranon Dawnhand, refused to perform the rites and was killed. Isranon follows this belief, thus branding himself a heretic among his people. If he is discovered, he will die.

Hoon, the vampire demon and one of the three founding brothers of the dominant races in this dark land, has made a Nekaryiane, a dark, siren-like creature that is capable of controlling man. Hoon uses a device given him by an evil goddess, Galee. It creates the Nekaryiane but implants the dark goddess' mind within her, so that she is influenced to turn against him. The Nekaryiane gathers followers and orchestrates an evil spell that gives Galee access to the world. Galle moves to regain her kingdom and release her husband and fellow wives from the Escarpment, a magical barrier that imprisons the dark gods. Galee plans to reinstate the godwars and take over the world.

Galee's magic dominates the people in a city-state within the realms of Light, forcing many to flee. Hoon realizes that he has been betrayed. Galee uses a deviant necromancer to empower the five blood slaves of Anksha in a plot to kill Isranon and Timon and capture Anksha for sacrifice. The blood slaves attack and savage Isranon in a brutal scene. Only his sa'necari blood enables him to survive. Leaving him for dead, they plan to attack Timon.

Isranon is found by Anksha, whose howls of grief alert Timon's followers and unnerve the blood slaves during their attack on Timon. They fail. The blood slaves are captured and killed viciously. Isranon's body is bound by an evil spell, so that he can no longer gain healing magic from blood. The Sanguine Rose, a mixture of trolls blood and herbs, helps him. It also induces visions which answer a few of his questions concerning his ancestor, Isranon Dawnhand.

Isranon is tempted by friends and lovers to use the rites to heal himself, but remains true to his code of honor. He survives the attack, learning much of his own ancestry through the visions. This leads him to question his father's teachings of strict pacifism. His beliefs are redefined against a complex backdrop of intrigue and danger.

Timon's messengers to Hoon have not been getting through, and he becomes concerned for his father. As the novel ends we see the characters moving into a larger arena, including the gods, people and lands of the Light. Isranon's near death is not treated lightly. He is still in peril as the story closes.

Blood Heresy gives additional background on the denizens of light and expands the world. We see new races and learn more of the world's history. Galee, the Nekaryiane and other god-empowered creatures are shown and the structure of the warriors serving the forces of light are more clearly defined. The effect of the war is shown on the people of all races.

The addition of Timon and his followers strengthens the novel as friendships are born. It gives the reader a chance to explore the vampiric culture in this novel, and gives further insight into the minds of the characters. The character of Anksha is explored. Her hidden past and her possible role in the impending war between dark and light are hinted at. Her nature is shown to be more complex than first imagined. She is not a simple beast, but a person capable of change.

The effect of prejudice in the lives of Isranon and his friends is examined. We see Timon evolving. His assumptions of Isranon's character, based on Timon's response to the sa'necari and their rites, are proven false and his attitude changes. Isranon and Timon both learn to look beyond their prejudices and see each other more clearly.

This novel goes a bit far in its depiction of violence. We know this is a savage world, and the detailed brutalizing of an innocent fleeing the city drives home the point too explicitly. You might want to skim over this scene. The story has strong sexual content as well, and though it goes with the characters it is a bit overused in the first part of the novel. It begins to distract from the tale. The pace lags a bit in the beginning, but the plot continues to move forward, and soon the pace picks up. The story becomes intense.

The author draws her characters with depth, so that we can relate to them. The world has color, texture and internal logic as well as complexity. It is a well written book, with a strength of writing that shows Janrae Frank to be an author who knows her craft. I have to rate it a four, for pacing and balance, but this book is very worth reading. Novel 3 in this series, Blood Dawn, promises more of the same.
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