Destiny Series, Book 1
By Marie Bilodeau
When I first started reading the description on the back of Destiny’s Blood by Marie Bilodeau I felt like it was something that I had seen before. Layela, a young beautiful woman who has nightly visions of doom, is uprooted from her quiet flower shop when her twin sister, Yoma, disappears. Anyone who has played fantasy video games can sort see where this may be going. Layela teams up with her thief friend, who is one of the last of her race, to find Yoma, and is thrown into a world of smugglers and assassins. In the background of all this is the mysterious First Star, sort of the ominous over arching theme that will become important later in the book. In truth, I wasn’t all that interested, that is, until I read…
“Layela must pursue her sister across space”,
…at which point I literally stopped and went, “Space? Really? Cool! Let’s give this a try!” So I settled in for the enjoyable action adventure through space that I was expecting.
I, unfortunately, found it rather difficult to get through and could not finish the book. Its not that the author uses a difficult language, its that there were a few things that didn’t sit right with me or my reading experience.
First is that the reader is continually introduced to new creatures and concepts, and yet not much is thoroughly explained and these new things are sometimes hard to picture. The space ship Destiny was one of the things that I had trouble picturing in my mind. While the idea that it is an old ship that had seen better days, I couldn’t figure the relative size or shape. As the book progresses, more and more information is revealed to the reader, but often I found it leaving me with more questions than answers. For example, ether. The concept of ether seems to be an important aspect of the book, but I couldn’t figure out what it is. Is it the power to see the future? Telepathy? The ability to cause pain with a single touch? I don’t know.
Secondly, I found the plot somewhat confusion and all over the place. The plot moves so quickly that I easily got lost. This is because the focus of the narrative jumps from character to character, and also because a lot of action occurs in short periods of time while the overall progress of the story seems to have gone nowhere. Layela gets captured, she escapes, she and Josmere are captured by different people, now let’s talk about some other guy on a different planet for a short while, Layela and Josmere escape, and now they are captured again by the first people… yeah…
My final grievance before I start telling you what I thought was good in this is book, is that I felt Layela and Yoma’s relationship was unrealistic. They are twin sisters who are supposed to be each others’ world, but I didn’t get the feeling of a real sister relationship. In one scene an attacker is describing how he tortured Layela for three days, and Yoma, who is present, has a proper reaction of becoming murderously enraged. But at Layela’s assurance that she is alright, Yoma’s righteous anger is immediately quenched. I’m not sure what everyone else’s family situation is like, but I have a sister of my own who I dearly love, and if any individual had caused her harm and was threatening more, I would probably be scooping out their eyeballs with a spork, no matter what anyone said.
OK, now to the stuff I liked!
First is Layela’s backstory. Its not the typical happy childhood leading up to some disaster that is usually presented in the a fore mentioned fantasy genre. It is kind of dark and scary. There is mention of Layela and Yoma being orphaned, having to change their names, a history of thieving and living on the streets, and even torture. Its one of those things that gives you the shivers and causes you to think, “Ooh, that’s different.”
Flowers and gardening are a running theme in Destiny’s Blood. For one, it is Layela’s passion and is something that is really important to her. She often thinks in terms of growing things. Josmere, who is Layela’s thief friend, is even a Berganda, which I gather is a plant-like species, having green hair and the ability to communicate with plants. I liked how plants were continuously pilling into focus in a book about adventures in space. No one expects
the Spanish Inquisition a story to have plants in space!
Finally, I really liked the idea of the universe, it is great. There are multiple planetary systems with multiple life-bearing planets, interplanetary governments that span multiple systems, a travel system that allows ships to cross galaxies in a matter of days, smugglers, military corruption, secrets and intrigue, assassins, new and interesting species of plants and peoples, star ships, and the list could go on and on. I just wish that it was presented with more detail. I’m not expecting a Tolkien-like exposition where the reader is waylaid by page long descriptions of the scenery, I just want a bit more because I would like to explore this universe.
I wish that I personally had the patience to continue reading Destiny’s Blood, and the rest of the Destiny Series, because I truly loved the universe, and I do want to find out what Layela’s story is and how the First Star comes into play. But patience is not my strongest suit. So, if you are a better and more patient reader than I, I say give Destiny’s Blood a chance.
Author’s Website: http://mariebilodeau.blogspot.com/