Blood of the Revenant by NR Allen
Review by Jasper de Joode
Something strange is happening in Returning City, something dangerous.
Gabriel has never questioned things before. He knows that because he is a revenant like everyone else, he has to fight the not-family and hurt them to keep his own family safe. He has never questioned that the sky is always dark or that hungry things watch him from the forest.
But in Returning City, everyone has secrets.
Gabriel grew up believing that he was the same as everyone else. But now, things are changing. He begins to see strange, monstrous creatures instead of the people he has always known. Struggling to protect his family, Gabriel must turn to a mysterious stranger, but is she only helping him for her own dark purposes?
In order to survive, Gabriel has to become more than he has ever been, and he will have to go against all he has ever known. Soon Gabriel will realize that something dangerous waits for him—his past—and that past holds a secret deadlier than anything he could ever imagine.
Blood of the Revenant is the first book by self published author N.R. Allen. Now, I do not have anything against self published authors at all but from the self-published books that I have read recently there have been a few that missed their mark and, unfortunately, so did Blood of the Revenant. However, I’m of the opinion that self published authors are freer to write about new things and their concepts are often great, which was the case for here, but overall this was a book with much potential that was, sadly, not reached.
In Blood of the Revenant there is a great main concept. Gabriel, the main character, has to fight in an arena to keep his family safe. Every loser in the arena is cast out of the Returning City to become hunted prey. Unfortunately there is no explanation at all on how this all came about and the reader is confronted with many new terms like Revenant, “other”, Corinthian, Youngers, Olders, and not-family. I would have thought that, since it is a YA book, that there would be more explanations about these terms and how they came into being. If Allen could have spent more time on introduction, and on what Revenants are, how they came to be, why they have to fight and what the impact is on losing, the story would have been more engaging and more understandable. I read the book twice but still do not know what most of the terms mean.
I found that parts of the dialogue were often repeated twice or even three time, just written slightly differently and it felt static and forced. There was a nice start in world building, but only on describing where they were, like in the forest etc (not the describing of the major terms that composed the plot) and I’m afraid the character-development was lacking.
The writing style itself was okay – although it was a bumpy ride to begin with illogical sentences, this was later corrected - and suited to its target audience. Blood of the Revenant could have been better, there was a lot of potential but what was written felt cramped within the book’s 200 pages.
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