ARC provided by the publisher via Harper Voyager in exchange for an honest review.
“Did the Bloodprint represent deliverance or deception?”
The Bloodprint is the first in a series and a debut adult fantasy novel that is very diverse and truly celebrates the importance of words, and what happens when we take away basic human rights to people that are deemed lesser. This book is a good blend of magic and religion and everything in-between. And ultimately this story is about breaking slave chains, which is something that I will always support and get behind.
“We do what we always do with slave-chains—we break them.”
Plus, not only is this a diverse read, the author is a Muslim woman who drew a lot of inspiration and influences from her own religion into this story. I loved every aspect of this, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to have more things like this published, especially in fantasy.
The Bloodprint itself is a dangerous text that the Talisman has tried to rid the world of. Many people even believe it to be just a myth. The Companions of Hira is a group of women, who have developed magical powers from reading sacred scripture known as the Claim, and they fight against the Talisman every day.
The Talisman is led by a man that is known as the One-eyed Preacher, who is also leading and is responsible for a lot of the slave trafficking in this world, along with many other horrible things. Arian, who is a very beloved and well-respected member of the Companions of Hira, has been trying to rescue as many humans as possible from the slave trades over the years. Yet, her new mission is to locate the Bloodprint, which can destroy the One-eyed Preacher, and the Talisman people who follow him, once and forever. But Arian is still struggling and suffering from many events that took place in her past.
“A man, a child, and two women braving a Talisman redoubt. To capture the stone of heaven. Symbol of the Eternal Blue Sky.”
This book heavily talks about sex trade and promises of rape, and even though it never gets too graphic, it is still a prevalent theme throughout the novel. Like, from the very start to the very end. So please go into this book using caution if that is something that bothers you while reading.
I feel like this book was sold to me as a diverse feministic fantasy novel, but I never truly felt the feminist elements, sadly. Yes, this world is very patriarchal and gross things are done to woman throughout, but I was really struggling to find the feministic undertones, especially since there are so many male characters that further the story along constantly.
Also, there is a bit of an annoying romance that never had me truly swooning. From the very start you learn about Arian’s love interest, even though so many things have kept them apart. But ultimately, she kept relying on him over and over again, when all I wanted was for her to rely on herself. And, in my opinion, the love story just wasn’t that great. I think this story would have benefited without a tragic love story past, while being forced to watch an inevitable rekindling of that love.
The other thing that I really didn’t enjoy is that the one of the main side characters, Sinnia, is said to have darker skin than the main protagonist, Arian, and it is constantly being told by every group they encounter how much more desirable Arian is than Sinnia. I’m sure the author didn’t mean any malice by this, but it still rubbed me the wrong way with the constant reminders. I also don’t feel like Arian treats Sinnia that amazing, and it just feels bad because this could have been a super strong WoC duo that fought evil men, but instead I feel like these two are constantly being pitted, or at least compared, against each other.
I also feel like this book has a very unforgiving learning curve. Many times, I felt a tiny bit confused about what was going on. You have a lot of information thrown at you, and the information quickly builds upon itself. This book does a lot of telling, and not enough showing, in my opinion.
But overall, if you’re looking for a book filled with political intrigue, magic from words, good religious representation, and a full PoC cast, I would totally recommend The Bloodprint! This is the start of a four book series, and I am very curious to see what Ausma Zehanat Khan does next, because I do believe there is a lot of potential here. But be warned, the ending does leave on quite the cliffhanger.
Buddy Read with Elise ❤
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.