Reviews for Bloodline

Booklist Reviews 2009 February #2
The sword-and-shield pageantry found in Tolkien s Middle-Earth and Paolini s Alagaesia gets a historically based tweak in this adventure set in Britain circa 650 CE. In a land where allegiance to lords is held above all else, Essa is a young man with no king. The son of a roving trader and secret-peddler named Cai, Essa finds himself consumed with his ancestry: he is neither fully Wolf Folk nor Wixma nor Northumbrian, treads the line between British and Anglish, and has no mother--and then Cai disappears, too. Three years later, a routine reconnaissance mission mires Essa within a coming war between kingdoms. Keeping track of the various factions is a chore eased somewhat by a chart at the front of the book; Moran, nonetheless, prevails on the strength of her theme of shifting loyalties, as only fealty to his true self can pull our hero through. Essa s ability to see through the eyes of animals seems a bit tacked on, but once the climactic struggle kicks in, the result is no less than rousing. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #2
A bleak tale from a harsh time, told with elegance and graceful mystical overtones. Essa's father, a bard wandering seventh-century England, abruptly fosters his son to a hall of strangers. Caught between two bitterly feuding tribes, Essa is also internally torn, between his yearning for family and his resentment at being abandoned, between his Christian British heritage and the pagan ways of his Anglish caretakers and, above all, between his desperate desire to belong and his bone-deep need for autonomy and independence. When simmering hostilities suddenly flare up into savage warfare, it falls to Essa, with his supernatural affinity with animals and his secret ancestry, to declare his allegiance and take a stand. Lyrical, supple prose employs well-chosen details to evoke the politics, spirit, even the flavor of ancient Britain, despite some heavy-handed symbolic flourishes and awkward translations. Essa is a complex, sympathetic protagonist: prickly and quick of temper, but also clever, determined and of unflinching integrity. If his struggle is authentically gory and ultimately tragic, it is not without glimpses of love and hope. This impressive debut kicks off a trilogy. (Historical fantasy. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 May

Gr 7-10--Essa has traveled the lands of seventh-century Britain with his father, Cai, for many years without incident. In a Wolf Folk settlement, he wakes to find that his father has left without any explanation. Feeling angry and alone, he slowly comes to appreciate the people of the village, but never forgets his father's betrayal. Eventually Essa becomes sworn to a king and is sent out on a small errand. He gets himself deeper and deeper into tribal disputes and finds that the errand has become a full-blown adventure across kingdoms, with Essa taking matters into his own hands to try to influence the outcome of a potential tribal war. Well written and deeply researched, Bloodline moves along at a steady pace with enough intrigue and mystery to keep readers turning pages. It is a wonderful story of emotional and physical discovery that reads with "you are there" immediacy. The historical details are effortlessly woven throughout as the plot develops into a complete picture of the times. A map and an outline of the characters are included. This novel would make an excellent companion to a study of the Early Middle Ages and/or British and European history.--Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY

[Page 115]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2009 April
Set in seventh-century England, this novel tells the story of Essa, a half Anglish, half British boy who, after years traveling with his minstrel father, awakens to find himself abandoned in a small village sandwiched between two fighting kingdoms--the Wolf Folk and the Mercians. Essa spends the next few years struggling to fit in with his new community. During this time he discovers an unusual empathy with animals that allows him to see through their eyes and even influence their behavior. Essa's gift comes into good use when Egric of the Wolf Folk arrives at the village. Essa proves his fealty to Egric by accepting his gold ring, a practice his father often warned against. He is sent to spy on the Mercians where he discovers a plot that will destroy his home and those he loves. Soon he undertakes a dangerous mission to persuade the High King to stop the Mercian's aggression. Along the way he learns some surprising things about himself and his heritage Moran's first novel is full of bloody battles and epic adventure. The opening chapters feel a bit abrupt as she skips two and three years at a time. Secondary characters could be better developed, particularly Lark, the young girl who fills Essa's dreams while on his quest, but about whom readers know very little. Still the story is Essa's, and fans of Eragon (Knopf, 2003/VOYA August 2003) will likely enjoy this familiar story of a hero's journey.--Heather Christensen 3Q 3P J S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.