Friday, 24 March 2017

Blood of Kings: Power – Perversity – Redemption

Hello, this is Heather! With possibly the longest title of a book we've reviewed yet, here's a review on Norton's illustrated thriller, Blood of Kings: Power - Perversity - Redemption. Thank you to the author, Patrick Norton, for letting me read it in exchange for a review.

Author: Patrick Norton
Published: 28th March 2017
Publisher: Patrick Norton Books
Illustrator: Juan Manuel Gonzalez
Length: given the complicated format, I’m not sure

Rating (all out of five)
Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★
Writing Quality: ★★ (writing is not critical to this book though, it’s illustrated so naturally there’s less imagery!)
Overall: ★★★ ½

When John is asked by his adoptive father (before being murdered later that day) to protect a key that holds crucial secrets about his business venture, he finds himself embarking on a dangerous mission. Riddled with betrayal, drama and insecurity, the pitter-patter of bullets are a constant throughout. What makes this it stand-out are the 1254 digital illustrations that bring the story to life.
I adored the concept of using digital art within the book. Much like a comic book, but with a different style of art, this makes it more appealing to those that are daunted by large sections of text. As a book lover, I really hope that this style will encourage those that find reading tedious or challenging a far simpler task with the aid of pictures. It also clarifies any bits of the story that the reader is still puzzled over, reaffirming the plot. I did find the digital art style reminiscent of game art and thought that the book might be better suited in some ways as a game. I know that there is already a market for murder based games on gadgets like Nintendo where the user can simply click or solve riddles to progress with the story and feel this book would fit that very well. In terms of writing style, it’s basic, but considering the quantity of pictures there’s no need for imagery; you can literally see what’s happening instead.
The plot itself was interesting. Most of the twists were unforeseeable, making it a captivating read in which one is never sure what will occur next! I liked how the author addressed the issue of poverty in the novel, including some rather shocking figures to put emphasis on how fortunate those of us with a roof over our heads, clean water and food truly are. Although I got a bit annoyed with John for buying an emerald and platinum necklace towards the end despite all the efforts to show the reader that other people are in dire need of basic tools to survive whilst we splurge out of luxuries. Aside from that, the ending is incredible. I have never laughed so much – I don’t want to spoil the plot, but there’s a saxophone scene and it’s just the most sweet and random little addition.
The illustrations of the characters were great, but I did yearn for a bit more characterisation at points. The reader learns to sympathise with John and Laura about having lost their parents, particularly John who clearly had a strong bond with his adoptive father. Though he spends very little time pondering about his father’s death, the book being very plot heavy, so whilst it’s made clear that he is sad I felt that there could have been more description about his feelings of devastation. There’s also little time spent in remorse, which I thought the characters would have felt after having killed so many, even if in defence. The dialogue between each character seemed quite similar in dialect, with exemption to the culprit and evil villain who came across as… well… evil.
To conclude, I’d like to praise the book on its originality in artistic style, but did find the characters a little wooden at points. Many readers do prefer plot over description, so I can see how this will appeal to them and wish the author the best of success!

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