Publisher: Amazon Digital Services Formats: Kindle Purchase:Amazon
Blood Rain, written by Nancy Gray, follows the story of Mind of Mercy – better known to her family and friends as Mercy. A member of a Forest tribe, and unnamed daughter of her tribe’s chieftain, Mercy studies healing with her mentor in hopes to be of help to her people. When a sudden storm strikes in which the skies begin to rain blood, her tribe is open to an attack from the Blood Wings, a bestial species who feast on the blood of their foes. It falls on Mercy to set out and find the answer to the blood storm, and soon she begins befriending people of different races, fighting her own battles, and seeking the answers to many unasked questions.
For all the thousands of preexisting stories within the fantasy genre, Blood Rain is a bold attempt at something original. Sure, it shares many similarities with other fantasy series – the star crossed lovers, the banished heroine, the melding of species into one core team, etc. – but Gray manages to craft a story that is, by the end, all her own. The protagonist, Mercy, is endearing, and the audience gets to watch her growth along the journey. As Blood Rain progresses, it becomes evident that one of the key themes of this book is the finding of home; how sometimes home isn’t where one was born, but where one lays down roots and finds the people they most love and cherish. The book also focuses heavily on the overcoming of racial diversity. While all the species in this book are, obviously, crafted simply for this story and do not exist in reality, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the real world in which stereotypes of cultures and races are often set in stone. In the world Gray creates, readers are reminded how sometimes it takes personal experience and growth to overcome expecting certain stereotypes and to not judge someone just for the way they look.
Blood Rain isn’t perfect. Some of the writing is a touch cliché and presented in a voice that’s not quite as unique as the reader might hope for. Still, the story has intrigue, thrill, and drama to it, and is littered with likeable characters. Gray sets it up nicely at the end to lead into her sequel, Blood Moon, which will surely be available for purchase in the not-too-distant future.
Julia Gaskill is a graduate of Southern Oregon University, with a double major in Creative Writing and Theatre Arts. Upon graduation, she spent a year abroad traveling throughout New Zealand. Now that she’s back in Portland, Julia hopes to expand her writing career. Outside of Portland Book Reviews, she’s a frequent writer for Tough Pigs (as well as Buzz Patrol and Cool Gizmo Toys in the past), performs her original pieces at the Portland Poetry Slam on a monthly basis, and maintains several of her own blogs. Her dream is to write novels, screenplays, and poetry on a more professional level. When not writing, Julia can be found ranting about Muppets, eating hamburgers, or walking neighborhood dogs. You can find out more about Julia at her primary blog, Geek Girl Grown Up, or follow her tumblr to read some of her poetry.
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