Can the power of the weak save them all?
Growing up a disappointment, Shimusogo Rutejìmo has always struggled with proving himself worthy to his family and clan. All he wants is the magic to run faster than the strongest warrior, emulating his brother's strength and courage. When he is once again caught showcasing his poor decisions and ineptitude, he's sent on a quest for his manhood, a discovery of his true bravery and worth.
His journey proves perilous and contrived as the elders who were to guide his endeavors abandon him in the dead of the night, forcing him to forge on without the tutelage he needs to succeed. When danger begins to envelop him, it's up to Rutejìmo to find a way to not only gain inner courage and confidence, but to bravely save the friends he's encountered along way. But he'll need the clan spirit's ultimate speed to conquer the impossible. Can a meek man find the strength to fight for himself?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
(Disclaimer) - I received a copy of Sand and Blood from the author, Dylan Moonfire, in a book read and review. I picked up Sand and Blood, and was hooked within the first 5 pages. I am a big fan of fantasy and science fiction, and I love books that blur the lines between the two. Sand and Blood is technically a steampunk fantasy, but does not fall victim to the trappings of the oft-used, and slightly worn out Victorian England. Instead, Moonfire graces us with some creative world building, and a setting that feels as fresh to us, as it is historically rich to its characters. The book takes place in Fedran, a land built upon the bones and ashes of a more sophisticated society. This is implied, rather than stated openly, as we glimpse antique machines, as well as monolithic stone structures, all of which are used by the various clans. I love stories with depth; ones that allow us to peel back surface layers to explore the historical events that helped shape the people, and the world. I hope that this aspect of the world is explored in greater detail going forward, as we are offered a relatively small glimpse. The plot is very linear, and moves quickly. The writing is crisp, and clean, although the character names, which are clearing of Japanese inspiration, can slow the read through. This wasn’t an issue for me until the character count started to rise. This resulted in a case of literary-vertigo, where I lost track of who was who, and what their significance was to the scene. This did clear up however, and as I progressed through the book, the vernacular started to feel more natural. At the story’s center are five teens, all members of the Shimusogo clan. They partake on a journey, and are subsequently abandoned in the desert. The resulting conflict between the environment, each other, and rival clans, constitutes the bulk of the story. At its heart, Sand and Blood is a coming of age story, one of three teens fighting for survival, and in the process, forging their new identifies as adults. I found this dynamic very compelling, and relatable. I felt the pain, desperation, and triumphs from every situation. The world is stark, and dangerous - but only to a degree. Fedran itself felt like it could have been the greatest antagonist to the three teens, but instead, it took on a more passive role, and allowed the human characters to dominate the conflict. I became quite fond of both Chimipu, and Pidohu, yet struggled to connect with Rutejimo, the story’s primary. Chimipu exudes strength and confidence, which is a stark contrast to Rutejimo. There is only so much whimpering I can tolerate from a main character, and time and again I found myself growing frustrated with him. I can only hope that, as the series progresses, we will see a more confident and mature Rutejimo emerge. Pidohu quickly became my favorite character, as he is dealt the lion’s share of adversity, and refuses to give up. He is a wonderful example of determination, and the embodiment of the will needed to survive life’s hardship. Despite my divide with the story’s main character, I found Sand and Blood to be a thoroughly entertaining read. The world is rich with antiquity, and magic, and holds much promise for the various clans that call it home. I look forward to the next book, and only hope that Moonfire unearths some of Fedran’s history, and thus, its secrets. I give Sand and Blood a solid 4 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of fantasy, science fiction, or steampunk fiction, I strongly recommend you give this book a read.
At first, I was a little worried about reading this book, as I’m not a big fan of fantasy. However, once I got past the “f” word and the complicated character names, I really enjoyed this story. One of the reasons is the author has done a great job at world building rather than just duplicate a Tolkien world or give us another Disney castle. Despite having a rich setting, it does not rely on that setting to carry the story. The characters, especially Rutejimo seem relatable. And while it seems at first to be a simple coming of age plot, there are some wicked twists. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author.