With Blood Upon The Sands by Bradley Beaulieu


Journeyed there and back again
This is the second book of the great Song of Shattered Sands series which began with Twelve Kings of Sharakhai. The most notable thing about this middle book is that it isn't a typical middle book. It actually exceeds the greatness of the first book and tells an even more complex story by greatly expanding the world and the cast of characters.

The background story is about the horrendous evil deeds that the twelve kings committed four hundred years in a deal with the gods that led to their immortality. Finally someone is trying to do something about the kings and we follow her life throughout her travails, losses and successes leading up to the open conflicts with the previously impervious rulers of Sharakhai.

The book uses different POVs in each chapter to tell the tale. Flashbacks are used liberally to help flesh out the characterizations of protagonists and antagonists alike. These are necessary because this is a complex story with complex people. The seemingly impossible task of fighting the kings successfully has never been attempted before, and the results are often unexpected and horrific. Each king has a God-given attribute that makes him unstoppable when conflict occurs. That there are twelve of them like that, and that they work together to keep their positions, makes for a seemingly impossible task for our protagonist and what allies she can bring to her aid.

This is one of the four best ongoing epic fantasy series and might be the best in terms of the quality of writing, world building and originality. This is a must read series. Be sure to begin with Twelve Kings of Sharakai and then this book. If you pick it up you won't be able to put it down.