The Bloodprint, Khorasan Archives #1 by Ausma Zehanet Khan

The Bloodprint - Ausma Zehanat Khan

Here's another fantasy I wanted to love, but it fell flat.


'The Bloodprint' launches the reader into a world torn apart by conflicting ideologies. The forces of The Talisman, led by a mysterious entity known as the One-Eyed Preacher, conquer more lands every year, subjugating women and selling them as slaves, and burning libraries and banning scholarly pursuits. Few seem able to stand against them, but an order of women known as the Companions of Hira may have a chance against Talisman forces.


We meet Arian and her friend/apprentice Sinnia in the opening pages breaking up a slave chain. Arian is First Oralist of the Companions and a master of the Claim. The Claim is magic derived from memorized lines passed down from a sacred text unseen for centuries. Its words offer comfort and power to their wielders. Arian has lost her family to the Talisman and fears she can trust only a few, even other members of her order are suspect. Thankfully it seems she is super bad-ass and powerful and can do just about anything she wants, until she can't. Khan shows us Arian at the height of her strength and early on has her accomplish a nigh-impossible task and collects an artifact of Extreme Importance. We know this because we are told so.


I wanted to like this more, but on the whole I couldn't get into the deeper mysteries or lore of this fantasy universe because Khan started us at the top. She may have wanted to skip the cliché of the humble beginning and get to the good stuff, but Arian ends up becoming more of a Mary-Sue than a strong woman of fantasy. We see little peaks of her training, but its too little, too late.


Supporting characters and subplots, Sinnia especially, seemed underdeveloped and I would have liked to have spent more time with her as something other than Second Prettiest Girl in the Room.


I don't know, Khan is on to something here, and I like the trend in genre fiction this diverse, female-centric title represents, but the execution fell short of where it needed to be.


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Next: 'The Black Khan'