Blood of the Chosen by Django Wexler- Book 2 of the ‘Burningblade &Silvereye’ series
Head of Zeus, pb, £7.91
Review by Ian Green
Django Wexler’s action-packed post-apocalyptic fantasy Ashes of the Sun built a world fallen from a pinnacle of magic-tech, where the Republic struggled to hold on to civilisation against swarms of rampaging plaguespawn (flesh-horror monstrosities), aided by their sun-magic wielding Centarchs. Blood of the Chosen picks up right where the first book ended- revolutionary Gyre has discovered a secret colony of the ghoul, a humanoid race believed to have been wiped out when during the war, which led to the fall of the Chosen, god-like beings who had helped humanity reach their apex four centuries before. He chose not to unleash the ghoul’s worst weaponry against the Republic, deciding that revolution didn’t have to mean complete destruction.
In Blood of the Chosen, Gyre’s core desire hasn’t changed- he wants to throw down the Republic, most notably the Centarchs who wield the power of the Chosen to keep both plaguespawn and peasants in line. With the help of the ghoul’s technology, he might be able to do so, but first, he must prove himself by forging an alliance with a southern rebel group. Juxtaposing Gyre’s revolutionary quest, his younger sister Maya, a Centarch for the Republic, must dig deeper to uncover the truth of a conspiracy within her order which may challenge her dearly held beliefs.
This series continues to entertain, with deftly paced action and a constantly thrumming plot. The world is reminiscent of the Final Fantasy series in terms of its seamless mix of technology and magic, and the ghouls hidden in their secret retreat are alien and sympathetic antagonists. Wexler plays well with his dual narratives- Maya is naive and supremely powerful, but through her, we do see the good that the Republic has done (and is doing). Gyre, however, is so jaded with the Republic that any kind of compromise seems impossible for him to conceive- he never seems to present a cohesive goal of what he actually wants to see, only that he wants the Republic gone. This is cleverly handled, as in this book, we get a chance to explore the world a little more and see some situations where Gyre’s dreams of freedom are perhaps granted- not always to the benefit of the folks living there. Gyre and Maya each have a crew of dependable sidekicks, and the ensemble nature of the cast is well handled- each is unique enough to hold a place in the reader’s heart.
With a unique setting, an action-packed plot, and two opposed but simultaneously sympathetic narratives, Blood of the Chosen takes the reader deep into the revolution. Charging warbirds, magical augmentations, battling automata, and high fantasy action make this a thrilling dream you can happily lose yourself in.