Bloodring by Faith Hunter is the first book of the Rogue Mage fantasy trilogy. Hunter brings us into a world about 100 years after a quasi-apocalypse when the seraphs broke out a can of angelic whoop-ass on the human species nearly wiping them out. An unexpected outcome of the apocalypse is the creation of neo-mages, humanoid beings able to tap into the leftover creation energy for their magical powers.
Once the seraphs are done smiting humans they now have to purge the demons and their demon spawn, which are humans that demons have taken over. Even though they were attacked by the seraphs, the humans fight alongside the seraphs against the demons. Hunter also introduces another humanoid species, the kylen, which are the bastard offspring of seraphs joining with humans. Yes, in this world angelic creatures have yearnings too. To add a sensual note of tension to the storyline, Hunter expresses how mages cannot get close to seraphs or kylen without both going into an overriding physical need to mate. Just for good measure the story includes dragons.
Humans and mages don’t get along, primarily because the humans are fearful. As a result, mages are provided with Enclaves to live in. Meanwhile, the Seraphs have taken over New York City as their headquarters. Mages cannot be in areas of human population without a license. If found out either the humans or seraphs may kill them.
The story opens with the main character Thorn St. Croix riding her horse in a mule train back to her town. Since the apocalypse, the planet has been pushed back to living in a state of existence similar to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Thorn is an unlicensed mage living in a small human town in the Appalachians. Her mage power comes from stones. Along with two friends she operates a jewelry store. There is a slightly higher demand for their jewelry since a prominent Seraph was seen wearing a piece.
Her secrecy begins to unravel when she learns from a detective, who is kylen and doesn’t know it, that her ex-husband Lucas Stanhope has been kidnapped. Now she faces the dilemma of protecting her secrecy or risking death to save Lucas and his daughter, Ciana. As Thorn begins to figure out what the demons are up to, she realizes that their objective is more than just Lucas, it’s to get offspring of the Stanhope bloodline.
Thorn uses her mage powers to protect the people she loves and follows clues to find the root cause of the problem. As she and her friends hone in on a powerful rock formation they are attacked by humans with guns. In the ensuing battle Thorn calls on the seraphs to protect her friends, which they do. This is all well and good until the townspeople learn that she’s a mage and want to kill her.
Embittered, fearful and tired, Thorn must run for her life. She decides to find the demons lair and tackle the problem head-on. In the ensuing battle she calls upon the seraphs once more to achieve victory.
Hunter leaves us with Thorn on the mend, and while her existence is now exposed to humans and seraphs we find her alive but unsure future of her future fate. Humans or seraphs may still decide to kill her.
This is a solid 3-star read. Hunter’s characters are believable, and you can’t help but fall in love with the girl Ciana. Thorn St. Croix is a strong female character that has a hidden past, an uncertain future, and enough problems to support the next two books!
1st image: Front cover credit: www.faithhunter.net
2nd image: Michael the Archangel defeating Satan’s army. Painting by Luca Giordano
3rd image: Damned in hell. Painting by Luca Signorelli