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Review: Ocean’s Blood – Thelma Mantey

Review: Ocean's Blood - Thelma Mantey

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Reviewer: Rari

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About The Book

A dark, gay fantasy novel about the fine line between hatred and obsession. Perfect for fans of CAPTIVE PRINCE and INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.

“With my blood, I bind you. I bind your body and your soul. My blood will fulfill your destiny. You will be my shield and my sword. You will be my voice. You will depend on me as I will depend on you. You will defend my life with yours, and I will do the same for you. This Bond is sacred. It shall only be broken by death.”

Vindt’s tranquil life as a lord’s son comes to an abrupt end when his homeland is overthrown. Friends, family, his freedom—he loses it all to Singers and their dark song magic. Human in appearance, Singers are a different species. Their powers only fail against the demons hunting them. But even this flaw has a patch: humans with a rare and valuable “trait”. It allows Singers to take over their voice and use it like a weapon. Vindt turned out to possess this trait, and was bound to a Singer by blood. Ever since, he has struggled to break free.

Unexpectedly, a chain of events binds him to a new Singer: the sly and enigmatic Asche. From day one, their egos clash. Only, their encounter was no coincidence; Asche needs him—but for what? To free the Singers from the curse that plagues them? Or because Asche is on a quest for power, as the Singer’s brethren believe, who are determined to bring him down? Caught in the middle of their fight, Vindt gets yet another unexpected opponent: his wayward feelings for someone he’s supposed to hate.

When Asche’s enemies offer Vindt freedom in exchange for delivering Asche into their hands, Vindt has to make a choice.

The Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It revolves around Vindt, who used to be a lord’s son but who was captured by the enemy and forced into servitude by beings called Singers. Singers are powerful creatures who are unnaturally beautiful, and whose songs can kill or heal depending on their intent. Singers are often hired by warring kingdoms to defeat their enemies. Their only weakness is a demonic entity called a Verdur, whose song negates the singers. The only way a Singer can defeat a verdur is by using the voice of certain humans called Thyds. Thyds have something in their blood which makes them capable of resisting the verdur. 

Vindt is a Thyd, but unlike most Thyds who are taken in by the singers as infants and raised in their society, he has fallen through the cracks and was discovered only as an adult. As such, he hates the singers and his own helplessness. Their magic binds him, and he’s addicted to their blood, without which he will die.

When the singer he’s bound to is killed by a verdur, Vindt should have died with him. But somehow he is rescued, and no one knows how he survived and healed. A new singer named Asche, who is also a member of the Singer’s council, is chosen as his new master. Even as Vindt hates Asche, he can’t help but be attracted to him. But there are those in the council who see Asche as a mad man seeking only power, and who ask Vindt to betray him, offering him what he wants the most in return: his freedom.

From the beginning, I was completely enthralled by this book. The whole story is told from Vindt’s POV, but it was evident from the start that he’s an unreliable narrator. How he interprets events are different from how everyone else sees them, and it’s clear that his perspective is skewed by his own prejudices.

I love Vindt for all that, but Asche is my baby. I loved that singer from the start, and everything that happened since has only reinforced my belief that he’s not as bad as he’s reputed to be. Even when Vindt can’t make up his mind, I did, lol. Just wanted to shake Vindt and point out everything to him.

The secondary characters are interesting, too, and the world building is top notch. If you love dark romance, fantasy, queer characters, flawed and morally grey characters who are nonetheless trying to do what’s right, personal stakes and well-realised worlds, you’ll love this book.

The Reviewer

Rari is an author and editor writing under the name of Niranjan K. She is an avid reader of all things fantasy, and loves to discourse at length about her favourite books as well as shows. This blog is the space where she will be sharing her views and insights of the books, shows and movies that she likes.