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Divine Blood (Guardians of the Maiden #1)
The Shadow demon nearly took everything from Dynalya Astron, and it would soon return for more. When she discovers a way to fight back, she must go on a perilous journey and risk it all for those she holds dear.
Along the way, she meets Cassiel, a Celestial Prince with magic blood and wings as black as his heart. He wants nothing to do with Dyna until he learns she could lead him to a place he has been searching for all his life.
But reaching their destination is not as easy as they thought, nor are they the only ones who search for it. With danger at every turn and harrowing secrets between them, the quest will require much more than determination. They must fight for what they desire—or die trying.
For fans of Throne of Glass, The Cruel Prince, and The Lord of the Rings comes Beck Michael’s debut novel with remarkable characters, a budding romance, and gripping action. Divine Blood is the first book of an Epic Dark Fantasy series that explores the depths of loss, acceptance, and the true meaning of courage.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4.5 / 5) One of the first things I noticed about this book was Michaels’ writing. She draws you in quickly and efficiently with just the right amount of descriptions and emotion. I was quickly sucked into this world where Dyna is set on saving her family and her village from the Shadow that has already stolen lives from her. She seeks out her cousin Lev, a Lycan, as they set off for this journey. Along the way they meet a celestial. He has to be a fav character of mine. While Dyna and Lev are loyal, it’s a little more selfish why Cassiel is on the journey and his brusque, stand-offish manner becomes endearing when we hear his POV.
There are multiple POV’s in this book that just added to the excitement. Not only our 3 MC, but a few more. Michaels’ does an impressive job of filling in enough backstory to make me truly care for each one. Then the characters are clashed together, with not all good intentions, and the action, suspense and intrigue multiply.
There were few issues I had with the book that kept it from a higher rating. First was Dyna’s fluctuating personality. Most of the time she was strong and determined. Other times she felt younger and weak. She was prone to danger a lot and I wonder if continually needing to be saved made her feel a bit like a character from a vampire novel that hardly stood on her own two feet. However, there was an internal strength that was within her that I admired. Such strength could only come from enduring hardship. Second, the book felt more adult fantasy to me. I think Dyna was the only teen character and her presence wasn’t enough to carry the YA title. However, the romance that involved her was kept very low-key with a slow-burn and right up there with YA standards. Much applause to that.
Ah but the cliffhanger! Beck, why do you do such things to us?
This is a solid debut. I’m rating it slightly higher because I was impressed with Michael’s writing and detail and want this indie author to get some extra love because of it!
Content summary: high on violence with quite a bit of bloody details. Romance was very small and sweet with minor details. Language was fairly small but included 2 F words.
Thank you to Beck Michaels for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review!
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
God of Urn (used as an exclamation)
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A man takes a pill that influences those he speaks to to tell only truths against their will.
A bar serves alcohol to its customers. A man sips spiced ale.
A man puts drops of Witches Brew in wine so he stays awake.
Mead is served at dinner. Two men drink enough to slur and inhibit senses.
A man drinks a lot of rum to prep for severe medical treatment.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*No LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A young man appears after shifting from wolf form. He is naked, no details. This happens multiple times.
A woman vaguely propositions a man. He turns her down.
A man tells a young woman to leave unless she’s there to pleasure his customers. She goes to leave but a man touches her thigh and another puts her in his lap.
A wife runs her hands under her husband’s shirt as she kisses him. He grabs her hips and tugs down her shirt to kiss her shoulder. She takes off his clothes, he drops hers to the floor.
A man rips at a young woman’s clothes to attend to her wounds. He cleans and bandages her. Then covers her after. She sits up and it exposes herself. He quickly looks away.
A man kisses his wife.
“I “wouldn’t mind having a go with her in the heather.” “Miss, I’m a seafaring man needing a place to berth my ship, and the dock between your thighs looks a lovely place to moor.” Men continue to say things about a young woman and bedding her.
A woman yells and looks away when a shapeshifter is naked from shifting.
A husband and wife kiss deeply.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A Shadow sees a young woman and grips her mind, seizing it, she can’t breathe. Then it grips a young boy’s mind.
Stories tell of a “Shadow” eating children whole.
A woman sends a surge of magic into a riotous crowd. They stumble but are unhurt.
A shadow has taken or killed a young boy and wife and husband. He has taken many before, every 10 years he comes.
A man shoots an arrow at a young woman. She holds her knife out but more men come and twist her arms until she releases it. They throw her to the ground and take a burning sword to cut off her head.
A young woman sends a magic wave toward a man, throwing him and breaking bones.
A wolf attacks a man and young woman, grabbing her.
A man shoots a man with an arrow through the hand. Blood drips off his hand in rivulets, forming a puddle on the ground.
Magical beings were tortured, raped and had wings cut off so humans could use their blood.
A seraphim man attacks another seraphim man, knocking his head against the wall and damaging his wings. He is then punched in the gut and beaten bloody.
““His father’s mangled body lay on the floor, entrails torn out, blood seeping through the cracks in the floorboards. The stench of carrion filled his nose as his mother’s terrible screams echoed in his memories.” His mother said her young (wolf) son did it.
Two men in wolf form fight, clawing at each other and holding each other down. One bites the others neck, killing him as hot blood pours down. Many attack, biting and clawing. Blood sprays, bones are broken. One feels himself being torn apart. Then he tears the head off another and it splashed in a pool at his feet. Many dismembered wolves are strewn about with innards spilling out. One pleads with him for a quick death so he breaks its neck.
A man has bloody claw marks and a chunk of flesh hangs from him.
A man lashes out at a man, cutting his arm.
A man holds a knife to a man’s throat.
A man tells a man to kill a man.
A man holds onto a young woman’s arm, not letting her go. She kicks him. A man backhands the man.
A man’s body is found with a twisted neck and staring eyes.
A man throws a knife into a man’s chest then slides a sword into another’s stomach. The man gurgles, spills blood and collapses. Another man uses swords to work his way through a group of men. It’s a fury of blood and screams.
A man lunges at a man. He knocks the man down, where he smacks his face on the table with a crunch. Blood gushes from his nose. Another man grabs a knife but the man grabs his arm abd twists til it snaps.
A man throws a knife into a man’s shoulder.
A wolf attacks a young woman, snapping at her neck and standing over her.
A beast squeezes a wolf until it crunches and dies. It throws a young woman into a rock where a large crack is heard. Blood seeps to the ground. It bites her shoulder and drags her away as she screams. Blood soaks her clothes. A man tries to stop the blood but it is too much and her pulse is faint.
Magic erupts from a man’s sword, “passing over his men, and cleaved through the unprepared Rangers in one fell swoop. Bodies split in a volley of limbs and heads. The field became a crimson sea.” Magical lightning strikes the men, body parts falling to the ground after. One slides his sword into a man and beheads another. Another man kills many with his scimitars. A knife is thrown into a throat, many are killed by his knives, his knife slices a stomach. Blood coats his face as he “hacks” through men. He throws a sword into a man’s chest. Many are killed. It is a very bloody battle. A man fights a man from taking a woman. A fire burns through the battle. A man “lashed out at the colonel’s throat. The man flopped on the ground, gurgling and …clawing at his neck where his windpipe was crushed. His face shifted from red to purple, vessels bursting in his eyes bulging with terror. He wheezed desperately for air, legs thrashing.”
A man knocks out a young woman.
Two men fight, punching and hitting each other. One feels bones crunch with his punch. Another man comes with a dagger but another man intervenes and breaks his hand then knocks him through a window.
A man grabs a young woman and throws her over his shoulder. She is kicking and fighting. When she’s down she elbows him in the groin and another man grabs her hair. She rakes his face with her nails and another man grabs her as she kicks. She is tied up.
““He split one from his guts to his sternum and twisted around to run the second man through. The Raider gasped, blood gurgling from his mouth as he caught fire.” He burned to ash then blew away. Many more are killed the same way. He plunges his sword into one man, he gurgles and falls to ash. Two swing their swords at him. He ducks and stabs both, sliding the knives in and up through muscle and bone. He fights another and is kicked and held. Then fights and stabs a knife through a man’s jaw. Many kick and punch him, breaking bones. One man is shot in the back with three arrows. He shoots another then uses his sword to kill more, then shakes the blood off his sword. A shapeshifter wolf attacks and shreds men, blood oozing down the street. A scream dies out as the wolf attacks a man’s throat. A man lights another man on fire to get information. The fire consumes him as he screams. Then a man throws a knife into the man’s heart.
A woman throws a young man, injuring him. She uses magic to throw lightning and she deflects knives from a man. He slashes at her throat, she contains him with magic and knocks him out. The woman uses magic to snap a young man’s shin, he screams in agony as the bone protrudes. She then throws him against a tree and snaps his arm.
A woman shoots arrows at a group. A man shoots an arrow into her chest and she falls dead.
A man and young man are each whipped twenty two times. Blood soaks into their pants. The young man screams and wails then falls unconscious.
Potentially Intense Themes
The “Shadow” has a man-like body, red glowing eyes, is a wraith who is intangible, and is like smoke.
A venomous snake strikes at a young woman.
“The Other” is a beast, half man and half wolf. Very large. Kills quickly and without thought.
A shapeshifter man is chained with silver regularly. It burns him and leaves scars. The pain is excruciating.
**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.