2019 Book of the Year Shortlist. Part Five – Ale and Blood

Book five on the list is the only novella on the list but it is a cracker. This was my first taste of Sam Sykes, who I discovered purely from him being random on Twitter, but it won’t be my last. It might not even be the last on this list…

Ale & Blood: A Bring Down Heaven Novella

Sam Sykes

Ale & Blood is a fantastic novella that serves as the perfect introduction for people who are not familiar with the author’s work. The author had me from the very first line and didn’t let go until the last page was turned, rarely have I been so immediately hooked by a book.

The dialogue is snappy and laugh-out-loud funny, the author really has a way with words that makes me genuinely feel sad about my own writing. Unfortunately, it’s hard to stay mad when he creates such interesting and varied characters and drops them into a high-fantasy world packed with monsters, madness and intrigue.

The characters really are the high point. This is the first book by Sam Sykes I’ve read, but they already feel like old friends. Kind of selfish, horrible old friends but old friends none-the-less. To develop that kind of response in a novella is something special and I can’t wait to delve into the novels and see how they pan out with more time.

Ale & Blood: A Bring Down Heaven Novella is slick, funny, action-packed fantasy of the highest quality. Snappy one-liners, violent action and some genuinely memorable characters make this an essential read. I think I’ve found a new favourite author…

Ale and Blood, Book of the Year 2019, Sam Sykes