Blood Sword (Lost Princess Series: Book 1) by L. J. Maisen

From the publisher:
His Oath…
My loyalty and sword to Rhaetia are true.
I lend my wit and might in fealty to you.
Neither through words, nor actions and deeds, will I dishonor thee.

His Quest…
One by one, the heirs to the Rhaetian throne have fallen, and now the future of the kingdom rests on the champion of the realm—the Blood Sword—finding the missing daughter of the king—the Lost Princess.

Blood Sword (Lost Princess Series Book 1)…
On the island nation of Xa’aia, the Blood Sword is enslaved as a gladiator and forced to fight to entertain the masses. However, to continue the search for the Lost Princess, he will do anything to gain his freedom.

Seeing a chance for escape, Zelayra, whore to Prince Calyl of Xa’aia, purchases the barbarian gladiator—so unlike the usual J’Haran prisoners and her Xa’aian captors in looks. But there is no time to ponder her similarity to the stranger and no time to explore the distant memories and unusual feelings his presence inspires, for she’s not the only one who’s been scheming in the island kingdom.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge fantasy/sci-fi fan. So, reading Blood Sword by L.J. Maisen was a no brainer for me, and I must say, it has promise. As you have already read above, it tells the story of a fierce princess heroine and a sword fighting hero. One thing that I loved about this short story was that it gives you two very strong characters to help immerse you in the story.  The fact that one is a female and the other male is something that is not very common in fantasy stories, which will make this appealing to a wide range of readers.

Blood Sword was a quick read, and I am still trying to figure out how I feel about that. It’s good because it allows you to read it rather quickly and enjoy the story  At the same time when I started reading, the length had me worried that there wouldn’t be much substance to it, which in my mind is the most important part of a fantasy story. The world that an author creates is one of the biggest aspects and key ingredients in making it successful. Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, just to name a few, are perfect examples of this. They bring you to a place that you never imagined and do so in such distinct detail. While this isn’t in the same league as either of those, I must say I was still satisfied. There was just enough detail for everything to come together and leave you wanting more.

With all that being said, my opinion on the book as a whole was easily swayed from when I first began reading. As a matter of fact, I think L.J. Maisen may be on to something. Rather than bombarding readers with too much detail, which is sometimes a lot to handle, she has introduced us to a world that unfolds slowly and yet still leaves us satisfied. I love the fact that this is a new short story series. I know fantasy isn’t the easiest of genres to create, and it often lacks new material, so this new work is definitely welcome. While I am not ready to call the Lost Princess series the next big thing in the fantasy world, I am intrigued at the small form factor of this series, as it provides us with something unique and different in a world that can at times lack originality. Ultimately, the verdict is still out, as to how well I’ll like the series.  I’ll definitely be reading the second story before I give it my final judgment.

3 out of 5 Stars

Blood Sword by L.J. Maisen
Twenty or Less Press (2012)
eBook: 70 pages
ISBN: 2940033136636

Special thanks to Twenty or Less Press for my review copy!

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The May Round-Up!

I’m so sorry for the delay in posts recently, life has been filled with non-stop traveling for weddings, bachelorette parties, graduations, communions, etc.  To say that life has been hectic recently is a severe understatement!

May was kicked off with celebrating my young cousin Daniel’s graduation as well as my cousin Lily’s 75th birthday.  2012 has been a year filled with lots of family celebrations which makes me really happy.  Over the past few years the older generation of my family has been unfortunately been passing away.  Being able to get together to celebrate so many positive events has been a really good thing to help the family heal!

My sister and her awesome PhD get-up

The following weekend of May was spent in Pennsylvania, celebrating the marriage of one of Todd’s best childhood friends.  The wedding was held near Bethlehem, PA at the Blue Mountain Ski resort.  It was an absolutely beautiful location, surrounded by nature.  The weather was beautiful and it was so nice seeing all of Todd’s friends for a whole weekend.  We all live fairly far apart, so a whole weekend in each other’s company unhindered is a rarity.  We had to leave PA early Sunday morning and made our way to NYC for Mother’s Day and for my sister’s PhD convocation.  We made it just in time and headed into the city, hopped on the subway, and headed towards Columbia for the ceremony.  My sister had an awesome PhD get-up (see right) complete with crazy hat and cape.  So so proud of her.  Todd and I were thrilled that we made it on time and were able to see it.  Her smartness knows no bounds.

Pool side view!

The following weekend Todd and I headed back to PA to see my sister-in-law Ellen’s undergraduate graduation from Lehigh.  Unfortunately it rained for most of the ceremony, but we made the best of it!  We headed out for a wonderful tapas dinner to celebrate and drank some of the best blood orange sangria I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. (YUM)

Throw in a bunch of Relay for Life meetings during the month and we’re up to Memorial Day Weekend.  The weekend of my sister’s bachelorette party in Miami!  I flew down all by myself (for the first time ever!) taking two flights down from Connecticut.  I finally made it to our hotel the Eden Roc Renaissance, and proceeded to get my drink on.  Turns out that Memorial Day weekend in Miami is Urban Beach Week, making my pale white skin that much more awkward.  There were pimped out Cadillacs everywhere with insane lift kits; I was definitely impressed.  My sister even witnessed a man “ghost riding the whip” down the street on one leg. (The man physically had one leg and hopped around the car)  Lots of poolside drinks and sun led to a nice relaxing weekend.  All the time I spent on planes led me to finish The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley.

Knowing how behind I was on posting reviews this month I tried to slow my reading roll down.  I successfully completed 11 books for the month of May, my favorite being the aforementioned The Orchid House!  Closing out May I’m completed 83 books for the year, or 75% of my total goal of 110.  I’m super pumped!  I read a variety of books last month: historical fiction, paranormal, novellas, and romances.  June is shaping up to be jam-packed month as well.  We’re participating in Armchair BEA as well as two historical fiction book tours!  Christine, Jess, Todd, Adam, and Charlie are all working on some fun things for the month as well!  Todd is finishing up reading A Million Suns which he will be jointly reviewing with me, Christine is reading The Cottage by Alan Austin, Adam’s working on Part II of Deal With The Devil (his review of part I is here), and Charlie’s working on the first book in the Lost Princess series Blood Sword.  June should be a pretty versatile and fun month for reviews.  Hope you’ll stick around and join in on the reading fun!

As always…..happy reading!!