Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Blood Ties Blood Ties
by Pamela Freeman
Book One of The Castings Trilogy

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

I knew by the time I'd read the first few pages that I was going to enjoy this book. There is a great deal to be said for a writer who can put together a decent sentence, and it was immediately obvious that Freeman is indeed one of those writers. Her prose is finely crafted, her descriptions evocative and her characters clearly realised and fully three-dimensional.

And giving the odd minor character and occasional villain a brief chapter in which to explain themselves doesn't hurt.

The structure of this book is unusual in that we switch viewpoints between major characters regularly and that is often interspersed with a chapter from lesser members of the cast. This means that it takes almost the entire first book of the trilogy to get the protagonists together. But given that by that point we have gained a solid introduction to Freeman's world, her people, and their problems, it's not a bad start.

So what is Blood Ties about? It's about a people, the Travellers, who were conquered a thousand years ago, and now wander as exiles in their own land. It's about ghosts, and magic, and the casting of the stones. Fantasy is an odd genre. You'd think that with the whole gamut of the imagination as their sandbox, more writers would write more original stories. But so many keep within the conventions, and it's all so very much more of the same, very similar and boring little sandcastles. Freeman succeeds in being unconventional, giving us something both clever and new, and that is a fine thing indeed.


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