We Are Blood and Thunder Book Review

We are Blood and Thunder Book Cover We are Blood and Thunder
Kesia Lupo
Fantasy, Young Adult
Bloomsbury YA
April 4th 2019

In a sealed-off city, it begins with a hunt. A young woman, Lena, running for her life, convicted of being a mage and sentenced to death. Her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear - those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. She knows only too well how the people of Duke's Forest loathe magic. Years ago she escaped before her powers were discovered. But now she won't hide who she is any longer.

A powerful and terrifying storm cloud unites them. It descends over the dukedom and devastates much in its wake. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine ... Only Lena and Constance hold the key to destroying the spell. Though neither of them realise it, they need each other. They are the blood and they have the thunder within. 

When I saw the book cover for We Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo, I instantly fell in love. Determined not to fall into the “buy book for pretty cover” problem that I constantly face, I read a bit more into the book. After seeing a lot of people saying that they could not put down the book and it was a joy to read, I knew it would be something I enjoy.

Needless to say, I was NOT disappointed!

I am absolutely blown away with how vivid the world of We Are Blood and Thunder is. After discovering this is Lupo’s first book, it made me feel FLABBERGASTED (brilliant word, huh?). The stunning details of the land that the story is based on made the world feel alive. I could visualize everything. There are also so many intricate and complex details woven into the magic within the book as well as how religion plays a big role. There is so much to learn about the different gods and how they are an integral part of the mages in We Are Blood and Thunder. What I found to be a very interesting part of the story was how some mages considered themselves atheists and did not follow any gods. I truly think that in a book when religion/gods have a big role, having different beliefs really makes the story realistic.

“She who spins the cloud weaves the storm. ”
Storm cloud

The story of We Are Blood and Thunder is followed along from two different POVs. Lena, a 17-year-old girl with a mark on her cheek is a cryptling from Duke’s Forest. It is her job along with the other cryptlings and her master, Vigo, to prepare the bodies of the deceased so they can join the ancestors. Bodies have also been plentiful with the Pestilence and the fumes from the storm cloud overhead. A vicious cloud that cracks lightning and has brought nothing but death to Duke’s Forest. It is for this reason that the Duke put a quarantine in place so no one could leave and no one can enter.

But Lena is charged with being a mage by the Justice. The sentence? Death. In order to live, Lena runs for her life away from a place she once called home. But she does not realize what troubles and truths she will soon face. Soon Lena finds herself traveling to the City of Kings to learn more about herself than she ever thought possible. Is she really a mage?

While Lena is trying to run away, Constance is venturing back to Duke’s Forest. Back to her home. After being gone for 6 years, she has returned with one purpose – To rid Duke’s Forest from the devastating storm cloud. She must find the heart of the spell before chaos breaks free. However, Constance must first deal with the Justice who will not stand down. She also needs to find the cause of her father’s ailments, for the physician he has been assigned is not trustworthy. But will her training be enough to find what she seeks?

“No one owns me.”
Storm in a jar, must be contained! (by @vivek_visuals)

Lena is a fantastic character. I just absolutely love how courageous and brave she is. Even when everything looks like it is out to get her, she still tries to survive. Within the confides of Duke’s Forest, she can only leave at night under the cover of a cowl. No one is allowed to look at her and she is not allowed to touch anyone. Though marked to become a cryptling, when she is outside of the Duke’s Forest, nobody cares about it. The only thing they care about is the fact that she is a rogue – a mage who is untethered to the gods.

Her admiration for Vigo was also super sweet. Of course, Vigo was her master, but he was also the only father figure she ever had. The way that Lena was able to overcome the complications she had to face with her undiscovered magic. Her relationship with Emris was also super heartwarming and loved how much he was willing to help her.

“Build your lies as false bricks into a tower of truths, so that no one can tell them apart.”
Butterflies of secrets.

Constance is also another incredibly well-thought out character. She is super mysterious and cunning. Of course with the training that she received, she is able to lie convincingly. She is a completely ruthless character who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. I loved how complex her character was. There are moments during the book that she is able to deceive people well. Constance is the type of character I love reading about because they are unpredictable. There are times during the story where she would be saying one thing, but thinking/doing another.

Side characters are just as good as the main characters!

As for side characters, I really loved Emris. He is a super loving character and cared a lot about Lena. Although he originally had a thing with Constance, he couldn’t stay with someone who could lie to him. I absolutely loved how much he wanted to see Lena succeed in her trials and for her to take control of her magic. My heart for him was so full. To me, Emris is a nicer version of Constance. But unlike her, Emris knew what was right and wrong.

Xander, or Lord Irvine, the Swordsmaster for Duke’s Forest also had my heart. He felt strongly for Constance even though she was not telling him the truth about everything. I kinda wish there was a lot more information about him from before Constance left. Maybe a mini-story at some point in the future?

I also hated how cruel and heartless the Justice was. He is a man who loathes mages and is willing to kill any to rid the cloud. Although his reasoning may not be completely crazy, how he went about it was insane. The fact that he was able to manipulate the people of Duke’s Forest, including the Duke himself into more power was deceitful.

Overall, We are Blood and Thunder is a fantastic whimsical tale of learning who you are and being bound in ways thought impossible. It’s mysterious, magical and with loads of action to book. A must-read for anyone who wants to learn about gods with power and characters who can hide who they really are.

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