The Bloodprint – Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Bloodprint

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager

A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.

But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, skilled warriors who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now, they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.

Finding a copy of The Bloodprint promises to be their most dangerous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal ex-slave and Arian’s former confidante and sword master—both Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last.

DNF at 284 of 425 pages

The Bloodprint sounds like such an awesome fantasy novel that revolves around kickass female characters and an in-depth use of religion all wrapped up with feminist tones. Unfortunately, The Bloodprint is a poorly written novel that is not what it’s advertised to be.

Within the first 120 pages the magic system is not properly explained. Their magic is derived from religious texts, but the connect between the two is never explained or how it came to be. The main character often uses and relies upon her magic, so it’s a central part of this novel that is left vague and confusing.

Khan has created an interesting world in that the women are forced to become slaves and a group of women who call themselves the Companions of Hira are trying to liberate the women and the world. Unfortunately, the Companions of Hira are also poorly written. Their order, formation, rank, and traditions are hardly touched upon and only explained when they relate directly to the plot. Khan wrote the Companions of Hira to feature a complex hierarchy with politics and infighting, however it all falls flat because of the lack of world building and character development.

Near the beginning of the novel, the reader is introduced to a male character that is described as handsome every time he’s introduced in a scene. It quickly becomes apparent that this male character and the main character have a complicated romantic history. Khan tried to create sexual and romantic tension between the two, but, unfortunately, it also falls flat. This is due in part to the writing itself. Khan’s writing style is pompous and overly poetic making it hard to connect to the characters and story.

Despite the very obvious feminist themes in the synopsis, the book has a hard time actually utilizing those themes and overtones. This is further hindered by the fact that male characters are used to further the plot and save the main character every time she finds herself backed into a corner with no apparent way out.

Overall, The Bloodprint is an absolute disappointment. I expected an intricate story about oppression, religion, and feminism, but instead received a poorly written novel with little to feminist tones and a boring main character.

The blurb on the front comparing this to N.K. Jemisin and George R.R. Martin is an insult to those amazing writers.

3 thoughts on “The Bloodprint – Ausma Zehanat Khan

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