The book, of course, is Gillian Philip’s Bloodstone. And what I have to say is this: honestly, there should be a law against people who weave magic with words. This, because people who weave magic with words make you forget to cook dinner, forget to go to sleep and forget who you are. Edward Bulwer-Lytton didn’t say that “the pen is mightier than the sword” for nothing. A well-wielded pen can cut your heart right out. And this is precisely what Gillian Philip does in Bloodstone, the powerful and dramatic second book in her Rebel Angels series.
(You can read my interview with Seth MacGregor Gillian’s saucy, rather delicious and thoroughly bad main character, and you can also read my interview the author herself.)
In Bloodstone, the dark sequel to Firebrand, Gillian Philip fast-forwards her story from the sixteenth century to the modern day. Brothers Conal and Seth McGregor have spent four hundred years exiled in the human world, and without having found the Bloodstone so desperately sought by their Sithe queen, Kate NicNiven, so she might finally destroy the Veil between the faery and human worlds.
"For centuries, Sithe warriors Seth and Conal MacGregor have hunted for the Bloodstone demanded by their Queen. Homesick, and determined to protect their clann, they have also made secret forays across the Veil. One of these illicit crossings has violent consequences that will devastate both their close family, and their entire clann. In the Otherworld, Jed Cameron a feral, full-mortal young thief becomes entangled with the strange and dangerous Finn MacAngus and her shadowy uncles. When he is dragged into the world of the Sithe, it s nothing he can t handle until time warps around him, and menacing forces reach out to threaten his infant brother In the collision of two worlds, war and tragedy are inevitable especially when treachery comes from the most shocking of quarters..."
What makes Bloodstone such a striking novel is not only the evocation of the Sithe world through beautifully vivid writing, but also the rich characterisation which Gillian Philip creates. Her characters are real – sometimes horribly so – as in the case of the Lammyrs who kill ruthlessly; at other times, heartbreakingly so – Conal McGregor is the man your mother always wanted you to bring home – kind, caring, loyal, albeit it a fiercesome warrior. But of course, it is Seth McGregor who set hearts aflutter in Firebrand, and continues to do so in Bloodstone. He is a flawed but passionate hero. As much as you may sometimes want to shake him, you also want to hold him and try and undo the pain that has made him what he is. He is, I’m rather sorry to say, that classic bad-ass male character that most women, for some silly reason, want to reform and adore.
The Rebel Angel series reveals a plot which is epic and sprawling, and Bloodstone is a book you need to read in one sitting or you will get lost if you let too much time pass between readings. Philip creates a fine balance between Sithe and human worlds – merging and separating them as skilfully as a painter wielding a brush, telling intensely personal stories against the backdrop of greed, loyalty, power and love. As you are captivated by the words and the story, you will find yourself on the edge of your seat, wondering who to trust, who to believe in, as the author weaves a rich tapestry filled with characters that are both beguiling and enchanting. Don’t blame me if your brain becomes addled, your gut mangled and your heart wrenched whilst reading Bloodstone – it is a book of pure bewitchment, and one which never lets the reader off lightly.
I’m not going to mention the ending, short of saying to Gillian: “You, my dear, are a thoroughly wicked woman! How could you?!”
The Rebel Angel series is fantasy at its best and will be enjoyed by teens, young adults and adults alike – it is a true “crossover” novel. I am told, there are still two more books to come. If you’ve not read Bloodstone, hurry up and get it, but be sure you’ve first read Firebrand. I can’t wait to read the next book in this remarkable series so I find out what happens if the Sithe world collides head-on with the full mortal world.
To find out more about Gillian Philip, please visit her website.
You can follow Gillian Philip on Twitter and on Facebook.
Books are available in all good bookstores and on Amazon.