#Review : Anbatar: Legacy of the Blood Guard by Anne Dolleri

Anbatar: Legacy of the Blood Guard by Anne Dolleri
Series: The Legend of the Samerians book 2
Publication Date: September 14th 2019
Genre: Fantasy / High fantasy
Pages: 488
Stars: ★★★★★

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Zessalon’s war with the Northern Kingdom has ended, their enemy once more defeated. But Nareth—ruthless Samerier warrior and half-brother to the Southern king—can find no rest behind the battered walls of the Golden City. Craving unity after centuries of bloodshed, he rides north to initiate peace talks with his kingdom’s lifelong enemies. There, he discovers the Northerners’ hatred of him and his people runs far deeper than he suspected. In the dark alleys of Anbatar, Nareth encounters a fierce enemy, turning his quest into a battle of life and death.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author for free copy. ***

Anbatar was fantastic high fantasy, second in series but can read as standalone. It revolved around Nareth, a Samerier and prince of southern kingdom trying to bring peace between Northern and Southern kingdom. The book was about prejudice and misconception, dispute between kingdoms, politics, betrayal, loyalty and friendship.

Characters-

There were many characters in this book. All played important role. I loved their descriptions and introduction. I cannot talk about all characters and surely not in detail without giving away much so I will tell about my favorite characters only.

Nareth– He was a Samerier- a supernatural being who draws strength from emotion. The more angrier, more dangerous. You can say he was a mortal, vulnerable, self-destructive hulk. If you have Samerier in your army you wouldn’t need cannons. Everybody feared and hated them because of their ruthlessness. But Nareth was different. He was learned, wise, and smart, more controlled of his emotions and knew how to hold back his anger and power. His love for his country and people was tremendous. His impatience was his biggest flaw and people around him kept testing his limits. It was easy to empathize with this character. He gone through a lot after battle and hatred in people’s eye didn’t help. They consider him an animal. All he wanted was respect and treated as normal human being. The more I knew about him the more I loved him. I liked his prejudice towards Artherians changed by the end of the book.

Asrodin was my second favorite. Can I have a whole book featuring this character? He was simply amazing. This most feared and reputed thief of Anbatar was highly unpredictable and mysterious character.  His ways, knowledge, and plan awed me. I couldn’t guess what he would do next. I liked the bits of his backstory.

Illion was amusing, brought smile on my face.
Asekha was brilliant heroine. I wish things were different for her and Nareth.
I thought I wouldn’t like that arrogant nephew of Artherian but he grew on me by the end of the book.
Keni was cleaver kid. I liked his and Nareth’s friendship.
I didn’t like Yaron or any politician. I honestly didn’t get why Yaron disliked Nareth, maybe it was prejudice or jealousy but most of the time his apathetic nature irked me.
Oh and my favorite animals in the book- Alhar– Nareth’s war horse and Revo– his smart dog who saved him few time in the book.

What I liked-

This turned out a lot much more better than I expected. Writing was perfect. It gave life to creative characters and mesmerizing world. Author balanced characters and plot wonderfully. Book was third person narrative mostly from Nareth’s POV but we also get to see some parts from Asrodin, Asekha’s view as well.

As said in the synopsis book started after the big war between Southern (Zessalonn) and Northern kingdom (Anbatar). Nareth heading towards Northern kingdom after defeating them and capturing the king, to convince working government about peace treaty between the nations. He was sent to spy the condition and gather information until delegates and small troop arrive and then work together on their mission of putting an end to centuries of bloodshed.

Now that synopsis didn’t give away anything. Story was much more complicated than it looked. First there was no king in Anbatar after they got the news of defeat of old king, council was the working government but were bound within the walls of palace unable to act until king was elected by their votes. Now there started all the problem. To facilitate the coronation of favored council member, Nareth and his men had to undertake dangerous mission- take the secret sect called The Blood Guard out of commission- and protect council member’s daughter from them. Nareth and his men knew nothing about The Blood Guards- where they were and who they were. The more how they worked on their mission putting the future king on throne and sign peace treaty looked more uncertain and difficult. It turned into battle of life and death, surviving Northerners’ hatred and prejudice of towards Nareth and devious plan that can end the treaty and Nareth’s life. 

I loved this world. Both capital cities of kingdoms were beautifully narrated. What I loved most was legends and stories around Blood Guard and Samerier. It was told bits by bits throughout the story. The more I progressed in the story the more I knew about the world and Samerier and about this intricate group of Blood Guard. I enjoyed the stories of big battle which was not in detail (might be what first book was about) but I could connect the stories to the current situation and how characters were affected by it. We get to see views and differences of both kingdom and how it affected people over the centuries. It baffled me to see people’s prejudice not just towards Samerier but Artherian bloodline. Corridors of castle, deathly traps of tunnel, and alleys of Anbatar, all was captured in the story vividly.

Conversation between characters was realistic and engaging. Banter between Nareth and his diplomat, Yaron was a bit overdone. Inevitable Romance was important part in the book. I could see it was going to bring another trouble but I enjoyed sweet moments. I liked author took practical approach here which made it different from romance we see in other high fantasies. I bet you will feel all kind of emotions. There was so much adrenalin push, tension, humor and I even shed a tear or two after climax.

As it is massive book small part (beginning, middle, just before climax) seemed little slow and I was thinking to cut half star but many twist and turns kept me excited and engaging. So many things happened since climax. Climax was predictable but the way it happened and events followed was out of the box. The twist was shocking and my guesses were all turned out wrong. End was perfect. I liked Nareth’s attitude and closed the book with smirk and smile on my face.  

My only complaint is, why second book was translated first! I would have loved to know Zessalonn story from the first book. I was going to rate it 4 but when I thought about it, I couldn’t find anything negative and I actually enjoyed it.

Overall, it was fantastic, thrilling, filled with twist and turns, and interesting high fantasy.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Which is the best fantasy you read this year?

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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