Bloodraven

Adult
Rated 4.83/5 based on 39 reviews
The forest dweller, Yhalen is captured by ogres, and surviving their viciousness, he is given to Bloodraven, the half ogre, half human war leader as a slave. Yhalen soon pays the price for offending ogre pride. But Bloodraven is no mindless beast, and Yhalen is drawn into human and ogre politics, and into forbidden magic which might mean the difference between death and salvation.

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Words: 220,730
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465817587

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Reviews

Review by: Adrian Fridge on June 17, 2014 :
I’m highly impressed. The author does a fantastic job at not only avoiding overused tropes but also balancing the story and the sex.

What you have here is a High Fantasy novel that isn’t afraid to be graphic, in both the depictions of sex and of torture… but mostly the sex. It’s long, but it doesn’t drag. It’s not perfect (could use more editing), but it’s addicting (f*** the editing). It’s the sort of thing I’ve been wishing more Fantasy novels would do, which is why I’m throwing all the stars at it.

Full review at http://entropyalarmreviews.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/bloodraven-by-p-l-nunn/
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: shadowfireflame on April 18, 2014 :
This is an incredible book that hooked me after just a few chapters. It's truly an epic read in length as well as themes, and is well worth the price--though certainly not for the faint-hearted.

The story deals with non-con interspecies slavery between a human (Yhalen) and a half-goblin (Bloodraven), but both of these characters have hidden talents and pasts, and they are both victims and heroes in their own ways. The world-building here is subtle but engrossing with some fascinating explorations of morality, love, heritage, power, and even politics. Highly recommended.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: D J on May 14, 2013 :
This is a book you won't want to put down. I was left wanting more in a good way.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Haven DS on Feb. 11, 2013 :
Bloodraven is one of my favourite books. I read it years ago on Bishonenworks and have now bought it for my e-reader. The epic story of Yhalen and Bloodraven is compelling and never predictable.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Lilia Ford on Dec. 31, 2012 :
There’s a moment about a third of the way through Bloodraven, when Yhalen, the young forester who was taken prisoner by ogres and then brutalized by them, uses his powers to heal his erstwhile captor, who had also raped him, though not with the same cruelty.

“Why?" [Bloodraven] asked instead. "Why do such things when my death would have benefited you far more?"
Yhalen bent over his knees, resting forehead on his forearm, perhaps not willing to answer, or not able to, strange creature that he was.
"Is that the way your people think?" he asked finally, as he turned his head to peer up at Bloodraven through the thick fall of the hair around his face. "That death is more beneficial than life?”

There are many, many things that I admired about this book: it’s a great high fantasy epic, with superlative world-building, compelling characters, action, adventure. But the book goes much deeper, exploring themes that have a resonance far beyond sword-play and magic.

Like the best books, it avoids easy answers for the complex questions it asks. The Ogres are a fascinating species. They are genuinely frightening and horrible, but they are not simply monsters. They are an entire culture--a peculiarly violent and non-adaptive one. There is almost nothing about them that appeals to the reader. They are brutish, violent bullies, with no ability to value anyone weaker. They destroy with wanton violence, but have no gift to nurture or create. They truly see death as more beneficial than life.

It is only through understanding them that Bloodraven’s actions can be seen as forgivable and that he can achieve stature as a genuine hero, which I think he does. There was another passage that struck me.

[Bloodraven] fingered the cloth, marveling at the tightness of the weave. The things that the men of the lowlands were capable of never ceased to amaze him. Those few stolen items that trickled up to the northern tribes were bartered at high prices, for even the mountain humans who worked in fear of their lives for the tribes, did not create such clever things. But then again, perhaps they were capable, but chose not to share with the race that had hunted and oppressed them for generations. Understandable. If he were in the same position he’d have offered nothing more than the simplest tasks demanded of him. Not for the first time he considered the tribal chieftains of old fools for choosing to make war with the humans instead of ally with them.

This is Bloodraven’s analysis. He is the sole product of this culture who seems able to question its basic premise: the only value is in strength. He is the only ogre we meet who understands the contradiction that the ogres can see the value in the cloth itself but show contempt for the world of tasks that go into actually creating it. He can do this because he makes the effort to understand another’s perspective, whether it’s the people who will spend hours upon hours carving useless decorations in a chair or embroidering a piece of cloth just to create beauty, or the slaves who choose not to devote those hours of labor for masters who kill them on a whim and treat them with merciless brutality.

Ultimately, he becomes a stand-in for the nation-building emigrant: those visionary people who were forced to abandon the country of their birth because of its total failure to provide opportunities to grow and develop.

Yhalen too comes from a far more beautiful, but similarly non-adaptive culture, one that can survive only in the protected isolation of its Forest. All it takes is coming in contact with a far more violent people to highlight the limits of his people’s most cherished beliefs.

The bond the two of them create is epic--literally: it leads to the creation of a new, mixed people, human and ogre, that will nurture the dreams of all, instead of taking pride only in the ability to kill those that are weaker.

It’s a great story.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sophia Rose on Dec. 21, 2012 :
I can't honestly put my finger on just one single reason for why I pick this book for my next read because it was several things: recommendation from fellow readers, the blurb, being in the mood for a darker story, love for fantasy? All the above most definitely. It was a wonderful reading journey for me drawing me in from the start and engaging the gamut of my emotions.

I must add a caution though that for some this will be a difficult read. I am on the tender-hearted side so I admit to being squeamish about some scenes from the beginning of the book that involve non-consent/slave stuff and later there is one really horrific torture. It all fit within the context of the story and was told from the perspective of the fogged, crazed mind of the victim so wasn't as clear as it could have been, but it was definitely harder for me to read.

The story like many high fantasies involves a few different people groups with human being just one of them. It opens with a fae-type forest dweller, Yhalen, who has accompanied his grandfather as part of delegation to meet with the other peoples of the south regarding the growing threat of the ogres coming down from the north. Yhalen and his two friends are not comfortable in cities so they wait outside the city in a nearby forest and that is when his young life changes irrevocably.

Yhalen and his friends are attacked by ogres. His friends are killed, but Yhalen runs. He is captured when he comes back to check on his friends. The group of ogres keep him alive doing unspeakable things to him and then leave him to die. But though he is mostly dead, Yhalen's will to live and his affinity to the magic of the earth allow him to draw strength from the earth and he survives only to be kept captive and brought back to a larger group of ogres encamped in the vicinity.

All this time, because there is a language barrier, Yhalen has no idea what is his fate. He is taken and given to a smaller ogre who has more human features. He can't help, but notice the oppressed human slaves working around the camp. He figures out that this is to be his fate. And it is to a certain extent, but Yhalen's task is not that of menial labor, but that of a sex slave because of his beautiful features unlike the humans from the north that he is amongst. One of the humans shares with him that his master is Bloodraven, a half-ogre and commander of this group, who is not as cruel as the others. Yhalen doesn't feel his luck until he witnesses a few examples of what the other ogres do and their vicious behavior. Yhalen is determined that he will not be broken like the rest and he will escape this nightmare. All the while, he is terrified of what consequences amongst his people, his own misuse of power when he healed himself in the forest will bring.

Bloodraven is enamored with his new little human slave, but he is suspicious of why his personal enemy has given him such a wonderful gift. Ogres are not known for kindness or any other redeeming qualities to human way of thinking. They respect strength and they go for what they want and need with that being about it. Bloodraven soon discovers that his human is a great deal of trouble and is revealed to be much more than he seems. There is the temptation always to rid himself of the troublesome human, but something always stays his hand.

And that weakness as the ogres think of it is what takes the half-ogre and his human slave on many adventures together with the biggest adventure of all that tentative thing that grows between them that they both fight not to feel.

As I said, this plot gets a bit sticky with harshness, but there is just something about the word building, the characters, and the story line itself. At first, I thought the story would be entirely from Yhalen's point of view, but then I was delightfully surprised when it started switching back and forth with Bloodraven's perspective. The two come from utterly different worlds and ways of thinking. There is romance in this story, but it begins with brutal sex and only slowly becomes anything else. I love the spunk that both these heroes show when they face bald face realities. As a slave, Yhalen must adjust to his loss of freedom and what he can make of things. As a half-ogre, Bloodraven is despised by both races that make up his blood, but with the ogres he must always fight not to be worse than a slave and he earns his rank as war leader. I liked the fact that they learn to see something in each other when understanding starts to come.

So it was a good, strong fantasy adventure with slow to build romance that will not appeal to everyone because of its darker nature.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Frida Berlin on Aug. 08, 2012 :
The sex is great, the torture gruesome and the main characters sympathetic. The fantasy world is interesting, not like anything else I've encountered. The view on women could have been nicer, but that is perhaps a terribly hypocritical remark considering the themes in the book. I'll read the other books from this author as well.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Frida Berlin on Aug. 08, 2012 :
The sex is great, the torture gruesome and the main characters sympathetic. The fantasy world is interesting, not like anything else I've encountered. The view on women could have been nicer, but that is perhaps a terribly hypocritical remark considering the themes in the book. I'll read the other books from this author as well.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: helen turner on July 24, 2012 :
Amazing! I literally stayed up all night reading this. Excellent story, plot and characters. It was incredibly scary, sexy, suspenseful and sweet too! I have never read a better M/m non con book in my life.

As I read quite a bit of slash I am used to a few spell check errors so it didn't bother me at all. If you are a lover of M/m and non con this will be one of the best things you'll ever read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Vivian Archer on July 02, 2012 : (no rating)
In depth and compelling worldbuilding here. I hit a speed bump reading this, I guess I lost confidence in the author being able to bring the story around to a reasonable conclusion, but eventually I carried on and yes, it ended well. I really enjoyed the questioning of "good" and "bad" as well as the exploration of power hierarchies. There is brutality and this is not for the faint of heart, but there is a pleasing resolution.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: peter paul on May 06, 2012 :
Wonderful book written with great imagination.It also had an excellent mix of graphic sex,excitement and story line.I wish i could find more of the same by this author
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tracey Morris on April 20, 2012 :
Loved this book and the art that goes with it. I was hoping there would be a sequel...
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Fallen93 on Feb. 28, 2012 :
The best mm Erotica I've read. Great length, great plot development, above-average writing for the genre. My biggest gripe is the editing. Lots of missing words, wrong words (lay instead of lie, that type of thing,) extra words, missing punctuation. I've seen an equal amount of mistakes in some Anita Blake stuff, but nowhere else. It was worth wading through for the story. My only gripe about the writing is the overuse of girly body language--staring up from under eyelashes, hiding faces with long hair, and a whole table full of people communicating raised (or arched) eyebrows...at a war counsel. No way. The sex was superlative--I think one scene felt a little perfunctory, but that's a small percentage. Thoroughly impressed. I've already started reading Dynasty of Ghosts and I have high hopes. If you just want a little gay in your fantasy, you can read major-publisher stuff. But if you want a lot, you can't do better than this.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: sonnenschirm on Feb. 27, 2012 :
I loved this book and couldn't stop reading
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Joana Brito on Jan. 31, 2012 :
I cannot fully express just how wonderful this story was for me. The writing flows beautifully and the development between Yhalen and Bloodraven captured me instantly that once I started could not put it down. Yes, I finished the story in two days and will definitely read it again.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Tercia Iyer on Jan. 29, 2012 :
I loved this story, there was amazing character development for both Yhalen and Bloodraven throughout the book. Yhalen went through some terrible things but it added to the story as it helped him grow into his potential that you can see he would never have realised on his own. It was also great to see Bloodraven coming into his own and allowing himself to be changed by Yhalen. Extremely well written and great length that you could really sink your teeth into.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Iris English on Jan. 29, 2012 :
Really, really, really good.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: sfrizell on Dec. 31, 2011 :
Great! Long, involved, and detailed....captivating and enthralling. I didn't want to put it down and I certainly didn't want it to end.

Given how it ended, one assumes there will be a sequel.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Barbara Stone on Dec. 19, 2011 :
Excellent book! One of the best I've read on Smashwords. Great erotica, great adventure, characters you care about. Highly recommended.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Steven Anderson on Dec. 19, 2011 :
Since I started reading books from Smashwords, I have completed over 200 titles. I am always asked to review what I have read, and never seem to get around to it because I can't wait to begin reading a new title.

I have been convinced to review Bloodraven by PL Nunn because it was so well written and just a very exciting read from beginning to end.

Forget all about the m/m erotica, although that was very well described also, the story could very well stand alone without it and still be an excellent read. I will not hesitate to read another story by this author. As a matter of fact, I will look for one right now!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: c jenny on Dec. 13, 2011 :
one word....OUTSTANDING!!!!!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Shonee McCord on Aug. 19, 2011 :
Like many have said, this book isn't for the faint-hearted. Like, seriously. I've read PL Nunn's fiction for years, but the level of brutality in this story still caught me off guard. One thing that threw me off was the speed at which the Yhalen and Bloodraven become attached to each other. Which isn't to say that it was by any means "speedy," it just happened faster that I thought it would. Just a personal preference, I guess. Also, the story ends with a semi-open ending. The possibility of a sequel is a definite plus.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Penelope Frost on Aug. 05, 2011 :
OMG!! I love this! I want to reread it and I've just finished it! I really wasn't what I had expected but I loved it none the less!
I did wonder, though, why Bloodraven didn't even consider the fact that Yhalen could have slit his throat the night he escaped, and maybe appreciate it or at least wonder a little as to why Yhalen didn't.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: lizblue on July 16, 2011 :
While this book was too violent to be one of my favorites, it is still well worth the purchase price. Long, detailed, well-characterized, and well-edited, it rewards both fantasy and romance fans.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Belle Ann Dane on April 18, 2011 :
Bloodraven is one of the few books I've felt I got the better deal on. It is at times humorous and horrific, romantic and gut wrenching, but it is still one of the best and most enjoyable books I've ever hand the pleasure of reading. I keep coming back to it over and over.

P.L. Nunn's work is truly amazing and I highly recommend this book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: DarkSunshine on Jan. 28, 2011 :
The book starts off with real sexual brutality but if you’re able to continue reading past the first few chapters, you are going to enjoy the story. Yhalen is nothing like a good submissive slave and struggle to survive and to deal with his feeling toward Bloodraven and his own dark side. And we get to see past Bloodraven’s brutal ogre side as he is growing increasingly fond and proud of his little human.

I loved following the slow and delicate building of their relationship, through a very convincing plot toward a satisfying end. The story was excellent, I am reading it again for the third time!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Amaranth on Jan. 15, 2011 :
You know you've read an amazing story when you're sad to see it end. This is a very long read and yet it's not long enough. I became very emotionally involved with the characters of Bloodraven and Yhalen and there were parts where I literally sobbed in anguish for them. There are scenes that were really hard to get through simply because of the intensity of the abuse Yhalen suffers at the hands of the ogres. It's relentless and almost unbearable. I really like P.L. Nunn's writing style and there was not one moment in the book that I felt like it dragged or could have been better. And my only complaint would be the grammatical errors that riddled this book. I would love to be Ms. Nunn's spellchecker/editor. In fact, I would do it for free just to be able to read her awesome work! I highly recommend this book to any m/m fans out there, and just wait til you get a load of Bloodraven. Yummy!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: BarkLess WagMore on Dec. 09, 2010 :
I should not have started this book when I did. I had books to read for review (with deadlines looming over my head), several reviews to write and another book halfway finished. But after being drawn to it by a review from a Goodreads friend, I bought it and started it immediately. Everything else came to a screeching halt until I finished.

This book gripped me in a way that very few books can manage. It starts off with unimaginable sexual brutality but if you’re able to recover from the first few chapters of grue and pain you should be ready to deal with all that happens later. I knew what I was getting into, having read some spoilerific reviews but it was still . . . shocking.

Yhalen is a young, beautiful, carefree forest dwelling human who spends his time flirting and having sex with his closest male friends. He is blissfully ignorant of what lurks beyond the boundaries of the safe haven his people call home. Political machinations mean nothing to him but everything in Yhalen’s world is shattered when he is attacked by a group of violent ogres. REALLY bad things happen to Yhalen. He only manages to survive by tapping into power he hadn’t realized he had. Scary, awful, forest destroying powers that frighten him and shake him to the core. And as if all this weren’t bad enough he’s given to Bloodraven, a half-human/half-ogre warlord who chains him up like a dog and uses him as a sexual toy.

Sounds truly awful, doesn’t it? Well, it is! But I’ll be honest. I could not stop reading. The world is vivid, the writing thoroughly captivating and it never lets up. Yhalen maintains his spirit despite everything and does not make a good submissive slave. He has a strong will to survive and after all he’s been through at the hands of the ogres he has to admit that Bloodraven isn’t as bad as all that. He’s afraid, he’s tormented and he despises Bloodraven’s touch but he submits because he hasn’t a choice. As time goes by he realizes that there is more to Bloodraven than his brutal ogre side and he is shamed to find his body responding to Bloodraven. Though raised by ogres he is much smarter than any full blood ogre, he’s ambitious (some may say insanely ambitious) and has grand plans to save other half-lings from the torment they’re currently exposed to in the ogre camp. Bloodraven’s plans include Yhalen, who he’s growing increasingly fond of. As the story progresses the two forge an uneasy relationship that will be tested time and again.

Their relationship is a slow building and tenuous thing that changes as circumstances change. Both characters have major struggles to overcome and inner issues. This is not a “shove all the bad stuff under the carpet and forget about it while you declare your undying love and live happy ever after” type of story. It’s rough and pain-filled and in the end very believable. There are no unrealistic revelations of undying love on either side but what they have is strong and it worked for me on so many levels. I could have spent another 500 pages with these two and still wanted more. The story was darkly fascinating. 5 stars all the way.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: BookwormDragon on Nov. 27, 2010 :
Awesome book. Definitely not for the faint hearted, but well worth reading. I can hardly wait for the next book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suong Doan on Oct. 09, 2010 :
This is such an amazing read. By no means for the faint hearted. I had to read it in parts to get through the brutality of it all. Probably not so much for those who are looking for an intense romantic relationship.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sue on Oct. 02, 2010 :
I am rapidly becoming P L Nunn's devoted fangirl!
I bought 'Dynasty of Ghosts', loved it, and so bought Bloodraven.
I must say I was never disappointed. From the first page her care in writing is apparent, her characters took shape quickly and were people you wanted to follow, to root for, to suffer and cry and hug and love.
Yhalen has such an awful time of it - beware! the scenes where he is abused by the ogres are traumatic reading. Then he is given to Bloodraven, and the story really gets going.
I haven't finished the book yet, but know I won't be disappointed. P L Nunn gives real value for money in the length of her sagas, her knowledge of the craft of writing English and making a satisfying, complex, wonderful plot that ensures you won't put this one down.
If you haven't already, buy it! Well, as long as you can cope with the non-con and violence, but the overriding themes make that a necessary, if harsh part of the point of the book. The ability to rise above such behaviour, such upbringing (in Bloodraven's case) and such treatment (in Yhalen's) is, I think, a large point of the story. And of course, the redeeming nature of love. I can't think of greater themes to interweave in such a fantastic narrative.
So yeah, I love it, and will re-read this and Dynasty of Ghosts, something I do quite rarely with books.
5/5 from me. :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: L R on Aug. 22, 2010 : (no rating)
Well written with just the right blend of erotic and story. The descriptions are never too much and you are drawn in to the main characters pain and pleasure. And excellent read and I'm glad I bought it!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Siobhan Irwin on July 29, 2010 :
Awesome story though not for the faint-hearted! I enjoyed this very much. The characters were well developed and stayed true throughout the entire novel. A very enjoyable story.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Siobhan Irwin on July 29, 2010 :
Awesome story though not for the faint-hearted! I enjoyed this very much. The characters were well developed and stayed true throughout the entire novel. A very enjoyable story.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: deathonl on July 27, 2010 :
Has the polish and care of a traditionally published book.
Enjoyment of the story will depend on whether you like that sort of thing :)
For my part it was money well spent.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Eleonora on July 03, 2010 :
The first few lines of the book were definitely the most difficult to plough through in the whole book. The introduction of those names that are all almost the same was very jarring to me. But I'd read Dynasty of Ghosts before and liked that one, so I continued reading, and it was well worth it. The characters are strong, and the story is compelling.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Amy on April 24, 2010 :
This book drew me in from the second I opened this book, i just couldn't put it down. The love between them was seen throughout the book and i just loved how she wrote their characters. You felt for them and just wanted it to work out for them no matter what. I loved this book!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Andre Marks on April 22, 2010 : (no rating)
very well written. powerful magic, and love.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Bianne Bobbitt on April 13, 2010 : (no rating)
This is an unusual love story between two special beings, misfits of great power and attraction brought together in a satisfying tale of pleasure slaves, mighty warriors and magic! Enjoy!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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