The Returning by Christine Hinwood
An intense story of love, loss and turmoil in the aftermath of war. A first novel by a uniquely talented author.
Vivid, compassionate and totally absorbing, Bloodflower follows the fortunes of young Cam Attling and all those whose fates entwine with his.
Cam has a hunger, an always-hunger; it drives him from home, to war, from north to south. When he returns from war alone - all his fellow soldiers slain - suspicion swirls around him. He's damaged in body and soul, yet he rides a fine horse and speaks well of his foes. What has he witnessed? Where does his true allegiance lie? How will life unfold for his little sister, his closest friend, his betrothed, his community, and even the enemy Lord who maimed him?
With extraordinary insight and literary skill, Hinwood weaves their stories to create a tale of romance, adventure and everyday life in croft and manor house and castle. Her style is unique. Her characters will hijack your heart.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There are so many characters in this one and all their experience so unfamiliar to me that I wanted to get familiar with every single one of them as well with every aspect of their stories. The story spans a long while, beginning from right after Cam’s return and eventually tackling his younger sister’s own beginning…but the story is so much more than their family, because it touched on everyone around them. It’s quite daunting trying to sum it up, so I won’t even try… but I do see why there’s so much positivity around it.
There’s a sense connection here almost like what I felt in Finnikin, though it’s far from being the epic fantasy that the latter is. It does cover a lot of things and as a consequence there’s simply so many people. It’s clear that one character’s story affects another one and the next one after that and so on, but I enjoyed how each of them had something to deal with and their troubles uniquely their own. Take, Cam and his wanderlust; Ban and his feelings, Cam’s koi-boy and her dealing with what she was and what she had to do; Lord Ryuu’s son and his figuring out his place… or Pin and her place for that matter.
Again, there’s a lot of them at time I felt like each of their stories could have been dealt with more specifically, each of them could have been tackled just a smidge more. Because I only barely got a glimpse at what made each of them special, by the end, I felt like I’d only just begun to learn a little of who they were… and I wanted more.
Thanks you NetGalley!
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