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ARC Review The Raiders of Bloodwood A Descent Legends of Dark Novel by Davide Mana

You should know this by now if you follow my reviews but let me just state for those of you who may be new a little bit of housekeeping. Firstly, I was kindly given access to this ARC for review and as always my review is felt voluntarily and is completely honest. Secondly, beyond a few character names and vague outline I never like to spoil full plots in my reviews whether it is an arc or already published. I am happy to discuss more in depth via dms or email. A

I think I should start this by saying two things one this is a tie in based on the Decent games but two you don’t necessary have to have played much or any of the game to enjoy this high octane fantasy novel but obviously it will help.

As with most fantasy and fantasy games we see a handful of heroes standing between a mounting threat. This time in the shape of a monstrous horde of Uthuk Y’llan.

We are thrown right into the action as the synopsis states: “The invasion of Terrinoth has begun. Brutal Uthuk Y’llan hordes swarm across the land, ravaging everything in their path. A great champion has arisen in the Darklands: Beastmaster Th’Uk Tar, bent on destroying the wild and mystical Bloodwood as his first step in conquering the great forests of the Aymhelin and annihilating the elves who call it home. If the Amyhelin burns, so will Terrinoth. Trapped between his army and the forest are a misfit band of elven, orcish, catfolk, and human refugees. To repel the murderous Beastmaster, they must overcome their differences, embrace their skills, and learn the secrets of the Bloodwood. They are the realm’s only hope.”

Davide Mana is brilliant at setting not only the story but the sense of tension and ultimate cruelty and viciousness of the Beastmaster. Our group of heroes as stated are rag-tag and misfits and in many circumstances would not dream of working together but with a threat like the Beastmaster and invading hordes they have no choice for if the forests fall so to will Terrinoth.

As I said before this is where this novel has all the makings of a great fantasy adventure, a misfit group of heroes having to overcome their own differences and mistrust to defeat the evil that threatens all the homelands. You do not need to understand the world of Descent to enjoy this aspect but obviously it does help. Mana’s storytelling is wonderful, they create both tension and suspense in equal measures to engage and keep us hooked. The characters while not all my favourites were all likeable in their own ways and had some interesting arcs throughout. I was personally biased to Brix but anyone who knows me probably saw that coming.

The action is wonderfully described and laced throughout the story. I admire anyone who can write convincing fight scenes and Mana does just that. The final battle was intense but fluid and beautifully written. Another thing I adored was the heroes are injured, their odds are not always good, it isn’t clear they will win and this kept me gripped throughout. Of course this is rather true to the game in that sense but to see it written so well was really rewarding. I also liked the slight potential for a sequel or at least seeing these characters return.

The Raiders of Bloodwood really does deliver. It’s a action packed fantasy novel which will keep you on the edge of your seat. It as all the makes of a good old fantasy adventure, a misfit band of heroes with their own strengths and weaknesses, heart pounding action, and amazing battle scenes with touches and hints of horror along the way. A definite must read for fans and players of the game but for fantasy of fun adventure fantasy like to good old staples of Dragonlance or Warhammer Fantasy universe novels.

The novel will be out in ebook on July 5th with paperbacks following on the 19th July for the US and September 29th for the UK.

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