REVIEW and AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Children of the Bloodlands by S.M. Beiko

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The dazzling second book in S.M. Beiko’s Realms of Ancient series (Releases September 25)

Three months after the battle of Zabor, the five friends that came together to defeat her have been separated. Burdened with the Calamity Stone she acquired in Scion of the Fox, Roan has gone to Scotland to retrace her grandmother’s steps in an attempt to stop further evil from entering the world.ChildrenoftheBloodlands_Cover

Meanwhile, a wicked monster called Seela has risen from the ashy Bloodlands and is wreaking havoc on the world while children in Edinburgh are afflicted by a strange plague; Eli travels to Seoul to face judgment and is nearly murdered; Natti endures a taxing journey with two polar bears; Phae tries desperately to obtain the key to the Underworld; and Barton joins a Family-wide coalition as the last defense against an enemy that will stop at nothing to undo Ancient’s influence on Earth — before there is no longer an Earth to fight for.

Darkness, death, and the ancient powers that shape the world will collide as our heroes discover that some children collapse under their dark inheritance, and those who don’t are haunted by blood.

Praise for Children of the Bloodlands

“In book 2 of The Realms of Ancient, Beiko brings the hammer down while continuing all that I loved about Scion of the Fox — the characters, the originality, and the real-world locations. I cannot wait to read the series finale. Bravo!” — Julie E. Czerneda, author of the Night’s Edge series

“S.M. Beiko’s Children of the Bloodlands is a wild, fiery, earth-shattering, sky-scraping ride. Roan and her friends, who came together so memorably in Scion of the Fox, must now follow separate paths, which lead them into realms that are both terrifying and beautiful, and truths that hurt before they heal. Book 3 can’t come soon enough!” — Caitlin Sweet, author of The Door in the Mountain and The Flame in the Maze

“The rewardingly complex mythology is deepened through parallel humanizing themes in the protagonists’ storylines, while game-changing action sequences unleash real consequences in the highly diverse world. A densely-packed, well-crafted sequel that will leave readers eager for the trilogy’s finale.” — Kirkus Reviews

Children of the Bloodlands is an exceptional instalment to the Realms of Ancient saga. S.M. Beiko injects her narrative with a passion and pathos that had me hooked from the very first page. This is a complex and compelling fantasy from one of Canada’s most exciting literary-spec writers. I’m eagerly awaiting book three.” — Charlene Challenger, author of The Voices in Between and The Myth in Distance

“[An] intricately plotted and pleasantly creepy volume. Roan, with her sarcasm, intensity, and increasing world-weariness, is a compelling, realistic protagonist . . . This action-packed Canadian animal fantasy trilogy is recommended for its unique mythology and diverse characters.” — School Library Journal online

Review

Can you believe that there use to be a time in my life when I didn’t read fantasy?  I didn’t understand the hype, or the need to make up a world when there was already so much to focus on here in the real world.  And then, with the urging of Bookstagram, and my bookish friends I picked up Throne of Glass in 2015, and I’ve never looked back.  I was missing out on so much by pushing this genre to the wayside!  Because of my love of fantasy, I was so excited when I was given the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for Children of the Bloodlands, the second book in The Realms of Ancient series.

Children of the Bloodlands picks up a few months after the happenings of The Scion of the Fox.  Written with the same maddeningly clever style as book, Children of the Bloodlands was a powerful and extremely exciting continuation of book 1.  Beiko took the world that she had developed in Scion, and further grew her characters, and the situations, casting the reader deeper and deeper into the mysterious story of Roan.  To be honest, once I entered this world, I found it extremely difficult to close out the pages and continue on with my daily life.  This was definitely one of those books where I neglected all my housework, and barely put it down as I cooked dinner and feed my kids and husband.

Written through multiple viewpoints, Children of the Bloodlands let’s us into the heads of those fighting this newest battle.  Roan remains our main character, and I fell in love with her stubborn attitude even more within the pages of this book.  She is discovering so much about who she is, and while it’s overwhelming to both her and the reader, Beiko does it in a way that always you to soak it all in without growing confused or bogged down with facts.  I think this is one of the most important things to learn as an author of fantasy.  Throwing everything at the reader too quickly, can create chaos and is a huge turn off for me.  I never felt this way while reading either Scion of the Fox or Children of the Bloodlands.

After finishing this one, I desperately need book three so I can see where Beiko is going to take this plot and what lies in wait for this group of characters.  I still feel like there is so much more simmering beneath the surface of what she’s already given us, and I am totally here to find out what that is!  Overall The Realms of Ancient books are the perfect read for any YA fantasy reader, and I cannot wait to recommend these to more of my friends and introduce them to this world that I can’t get enough of!

Purchase Links

Amazon – Barnes and NobleKoboIndie Bound

Interview With the Author

The Rad Babes were lucky enough to ask S.M. Beiko a few questions about herself and her writing, and we are so excited to share them with our readers!  Sit back, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy these next few minutes with the author!

1. I love discovering new authors and finding out fun little facts about them along the way.  Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself – like your favorite color, or favorite food, or if you like to binge watch tv shows on Netflix?

Red, cake, and yes to binging! It’s a great activity when you’re typesetting books (part of my day job) or managing freelancer finances. My current faves are Outlander, the new Anne of Green Gables, and I just re-watched The OA and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Other fun facts: I cycle commute 30 km a day through pretty hectic traffic. I love sculpting in the Froud/Henson style. I have a rescue dog named Sophie who looks suspiciously like a wolf. And I sing in a local Welsh choir. Just trying to expand my horizons, constantly!

2.  As I reader, I’m often in awe of how authors are able to come up with such amazing story lines and characters.  The Realms of Ancient has some intricate world building and storylines.  What inspired this world and the characters involved in it?  Was it something that happened all at once, or was it years in the making?

I started conceiving the story entirely around a chance encounter back in 2013. I lived in an area of Winnipeg right beside the Assiniboine River, and I’d walk by it often to and from my local gym. One night, dead of winter, on my way home, a red fox scampered into my path, and my brain fired this gem: what if the fox followed me home and gave me a fantastic mission?

From there, I pulled from my education background in literature, folk and mythology studies. I wanted the world to be grounded in familiar Canadian landscapes and the creatures in it, hence why the key animals are foxes, deer, rabbits, owls, and seals. I’m also really into the Western European pagan elemental wheel, and used that as the font for each Family’s powers. It also goes without saying there is a lot of Japanese folklore references, as my first foray into fantasy was through extensive anime influence.

With the basics down, I just sort of just dove right in. I developed most of the storyline on my wintry walks to work through Wolesley, and loved the idea of epic magic battles taking place in familiar Winnipeg locales. I finished the first draft in about a year, not planning much and pantsing most of my way through. When the publisher saw it, they were excited—but asked if it was a series. I hadn’t thought that far ahead, so I said “Sure!” Let’s just say I’ve done a lot more hard plotting in books 2 & 3…

3.  Have reading and writing always been a part of your life?  Or was writing something that grew from another love/hobby?

I have an elder brother who was really into books, Final Fantasy RPG games, Magic the Gathering, and all things fantasy. Just from following him around I imprinted the same interests with speed and devotion. I was obsessed with Sailor Moon and all magical girl offerings, and found myself drawing my favourite heroes on any available surface (including the walls.) I was very immersed in drawing, and then developing my own characters and their stories, and from there was the natural transition into writing. As I’m in the Harry Potter generation (growing up alongside the character as the books were coming out), my illusions of grandeur developed rather early, and I knew I wanted to be just like J.K. Rowling. I wrote my first novel at 15 (a behemoth that…needs total rewriting), and my next at 16—which became The Lake and the Library. The great thing about writing, or any art form, is that with enough practice you can, somehow, make your dreams a reality. I’m still mystified that I get to make things up for a living.

4.  What is a recent read that you loved and adored and would like to recommend to our readers?

Ugh, so hard to choose! BUT: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert—I devoured this in one non-stop red-eyed night. Also lately devoured The Bear and the Nightingale and its sequel The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, as well as Seraphina and its sequel, Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman.

5.  Any words of encouragement to writers that are just starting out, or may be doubting if they have what it takes to be a writer?

Like I said, the only way you can be a writer is to write. Don’t over plan. And don’t wait for ‘inspiration’ to strike, either—that’s where Writer’s Block thrives. Know that writing is a discipline and a practice, that requires time and just sitting down and putting the work in like training for a marathon, or learning piano. Read widely—read things you normally wouldn’t, take risks in what media you consume. Learn to people watch, to observe, to ask yourself weird questions, and follow those questions down deep rabbit holes.

Above all, remember: finished, not perfect. You can always go back and revise and rewrite, but you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t at least finish the project you started.

Also, have fun! That’s why you started writing, isn’t it?

More About the Author

SM Beiko credit Teri HoffordS.M. Beiko is an eclectic writer and artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She also works as a freelance editor, illustrator, graphic designer, and consultant in the trade book and comic publishing industries in Canada and the U.S. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Her fantasy trilogy, The Realms of Ancient, began with Scion of the Fox, followed by Children of the Bloodlands, and will be concluded with The Brilliant Dark (2019).

Social networking links:

Website: https://www.smbeiko.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SMBeikoAuthor/

Twitter: @SMBeiko

Instagram: @samantha_smash

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