- Title: Divine Blood
- Series: Guardians of the Maiden #1
- Author: Beck Michaels
- Publisher & Release: Pluma Press, June 2020
- Length: 384 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⚡ yes for fans of the genre
Thank you so much to Beck Michaels for sending me a copy of Divine Blood to read and review! This gorgeous book had me in some serious cover love when she advertised for readers!
Here is the description from Goodreads:
The Shadow demon nearly took everything from Dynalya Astron, and it would soon return for more. When she discovers a way to fight back, she must go on a perilous journey and risk it all for those she holds dear.
Along the way, she meets Cassiel, a Celestial Prince with magic blood and wings as black as his heart. He wants nothing to do with Dyna until he learns she could lead him to a place he has been searching for all his life.
But reaching their destination is not as easy as they thought, nor are they the only ones who search for it. With danger at every turn and harrowing secrets between them, the quest will require much more than determination. They must fight for what they desire—or die trying.
For fans of Throne of Glass, The Cruel Prince, and The Lord of the Rings comes Beck Michael’s debut novel with remarkable characters, a budding romance, and gripping action. Divine Blood is the first book of an Epic Dark Fantasy series that explores the depths of loss, acceptance, and the true meaning of courage.
I enjoyed my time spent in the world of Urn. The world building is extremely well done. The book has both the map of the kingdom AND of the entire continent! It is hard to write books that contain epic journeys, with towns 90+ miles apart, and maintain a proper time and distance and bonding between characters and events, and I think this is a uniquely strong writing element in fantasy that she handled very well. Between the length of the journey and the motley group, I was getting Lord of the Rings vibes. She also describes beautiful trees and fauna, mountains and scenery. In the towns we get a good idea for the general feel of things, the individual political scenarios, and small details like foods and currency even. There are only local swears like “God of Urn!” and nothing that detracts from the immersion. Like I said, I really appreciate the world building so far.
The description should really say for fans of ACOTaR, Cassiel is perfect to fill that Rhysand shaped hole in everyone’s heart. The characters are the central aspect of the book, and make up a motley crew for sure. Dynalya is the foreseen maiden of mage descent, trying to save her family and village from a demon that takes children. Also she is a magical healer so YAY! Zev, her cousin, is a lycan with a temper. Cassiel is a handsome prince. Each has their own struggles and feelings of inadequacy and lack of acceptance to overcome. The book spans quite a number of miles travelled and the characters grow on each other at a seemingly appropriate rate. The only thing that bugged me was how Dynalya changes between the points of view – she is portrayed as super brave in her chapters but in the other POVs she is treated like a 6 year old precious flower with no self preservatio. I have to agree more on the stupid human that can’t be alone in the dark at age 19 portrayal, than the brave woman one, it just seems like a huge change.
The other characters include an elf with some seriously amazing magic, a torn commander who is working for an evil mage (p.s. these 2 are my favorite characters, Rawn and Von), and a sassy sorceress who also has some awesome magic. All sorts of magical races from minotaurs to elves to werewolves are in this book, and Dynalya ends up with six guardians so I can’t wait to see who else pops up in book 2.
My only real qualm with the book is a few (maybe 5 total) blatant editing mishaps, they are few and far in between though and I hate to bring it up but it distracts me so much from the pace of things. The other enjoyment issue for me was the pacing – the plot pulls back and meanders in the middle half to build the characters and world while they travel. I do enjoy these things and there was plenty of action thrown in too, but it wasn’t a compulsive read until the last quarter. I guess to summarize: this is more of a classic fantasy and I’m only truly docking a star for Dyna’s bipolar portrayal, none of these other reasons.
As far as content: The romance was kept clean and slow burning, there is a brush of lips and some light hand holding only. Only local swearing and nothing vulgar. Some violence and gore mostly including werewolf attacks and stabby battles or magical murders. I would put this in the ‘clean reads’ category!
So yes – I do fully recommend this for fantasy readers who enjoy a romantic twist in a well built world. It is one of those rare ones that really truly has something for everyone.