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Bloodwalk by James P. Davis

Posted by travizzt on June 17, 2010

A woman wields a deadly magic and is threatening to take over the world. Will Bloodwalk quicken your pulse or will it make you see red?


Bloodwalk by James P. Davis- This is the second book in a stand-alone series called The Wizards. The first book is Blackstaff by Steven E. Schend, the third is Darkvision by Bruce R. Cordell, and the final book is Frostfell by Mark Sehestedt. With this series, each book is a separate entity and can be read out-of-order. The only theme to mention is that each novel revolves around wizards and magic. Bloodwalk is set in the Forgotten Realms universe of the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. This is James P. Davis very first novel and he has contributed a short story titled “Possessions” to the Realms of the Dragons II anthology. His other full length novels are all set in the Forgotten Realms. These include; The Shield of Weeping Ghosts (The Citadels series), The Restless Shore (The Wilds series), and Circle of Skulls (Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep series). Bloodwalk was released in 2006 and published by Wizards of the Coast.

Morgynn died at her own mother’s hands, only to be reborn as a power mage called a blood magus. After that fateful day, Morgynn has used anyway possible to increase her magical knowledge. After being forced from numerous cities, she sets her sights on Brookhollow on the edge of the haunted and deadly Qurth Forest. The only thing stopping her is the city’s circle of seer’s, but that is easily remedied. Creating a false prophecy that a ghostwalker, Quinsareth, will save the city and to not fight back that is shown in a vision to the High Seer, it’s up to Quinsareth and a hunter to stop Morgynn’s plans. Only Quinsareth doesn’t want to be a hero and isn’t a the hero type. He only seeks justice for the slain, not to get involved with stopping fate. After the High Seer tells her disciples to not fight back, one of the hunters named Elisandrya defies the edict in order to find the ghostwalker. However, we learn that Elisandrya has other reasons for defying the High Seer. Does Quinsareth and Elisandrya save the people of Brookhollow? Or does Morgynn get a firm hold on the city?

Criticisms:
1) Pacing. This story is insanely slow to read. Honestly, most nights I had to force myself to read two chapters. I even feel asleep reading at some points. But it wasn’t necessarily boring, it was just incredibly slow. I do see two things that could be the cause for this. The first is all the build up of the main antagonist, Morgynn. She seems to have a part in each chapter that builds up a certain aspect of her character. This parts add bits and pieces to her back story and her personality. However, I won’t delve to deeply into her character at the moment. The other problem for the slow pacing is that every detail or description seems to be repeated over and over. I hate to say it but after page fifty, I got extremely annoyed with Morgynn feeling everyone’s pulse and blood. A few times would have been okay, but not once or twice every chapter! Not only that, but other things were being constantly repeated but with slightly different wording. It just became a little tiresome. The slow pacing is definitely the novel’s biggest flaw.
2) Morgynn. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t like this character. She felt one-dimensional and flat for most of the book. You never really got her motivations down, other than she’s the villain. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when there were interesting aspects of her character, but they just never developed correctly. I think the biggest flaw with her is that you don’t know if your meant to like her, hate her, or just feel for her. Really, she was just a standard villain. Her powers were interesting, but everything else wasn’t.

Praises:
1) Setting. I did really enjoy the creepy and dark tone of the story. There were plenty of things that made me shiver. The best part is, this feeling never really dwindles. Almost every chapter gives you something new to experience, be it being ripped open from the inside or a Qurth Forest being a death trap. Then you have some of the imagery. There is one scene early in the book where Quin is walking into a town that felt like something out of a psychological horror movie or a Silent Hill game. The atmosphere is really what’s great about this book.
2) Quinsareth. I don’t know why, but I just liked Quinsareth. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the idea of ghostwalkers themselves or that Quin is a reluctant hero, but I just thought he dominated every character in the book. Sure, there were times when he seems to disappear into the background, but something always made me look forward to each part he had. There is also the fact that he is a cold, brutal killer that really sets him apart from other protagonists. I really don’t know what else to say about him other than I liked him.

Side Notes:
1) Magic. The whole premise of the series is to spotlight mages and wizards. That being said, it was very interesting to see a type of magic never really seen in the Realms.
2) Dues Ex Machina. It seems liked every major problem in the plot was solved by really simple and random solutions. For example, the shield to the druids ‘creature’. While the shield is more believable, the ‘creature’ really did feel a little tacked on and sudden.
3) Cover Art. It’s not bad, but it’s not good. I do like the use of reds, but Morgynn just somehow annoys me. It could be the cocked hips (which is a horrible art cliché for female characters) or her odd-looking expression (she looks more like a cheesy vampire), but she just rubs me the wrong way. But I do like the dead solider in the foreground, that’s a nice touch that is almost missed. But overall, not really great.

Overall: 3/5
Final Thoughts:
Bloodwalk could fall as either a two or a three for a rating. This is my second time reading it and to put it bluntly, I hated it the first time. In fact, I would have called this book one of the worst books I’ve read. However, after a second read through, I don’t really see why I would think that way. It’s not a horrible book, but it’s not a great one either. It just falls as average. The biggest flaw is the pacing, and that’s why I say Bloodwalk could be either a two or a three. There are times when the story is a flat-out two, due to the pacing, but it picks up just enough to get it to the next level. But in reality, the atmosphere really saves it from being a two. I constantly kept getting a creepy feeling throughout the novel and it did help the book out. With the characters, they mostly fall in two categories, good and bad. The worst being Morgynn and the best being Quinsareth. Would I recommend this book to a casual reader? I’d have to say maybe. If you like creepy atmosphere and gore, then yes. If you don’t, then no. If you do pick it up and hate it, try to read it again, maybe you’ll like it.

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