Book I of the Skyroar Trilogy

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
398 Pages
Reviewed on 11/04/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Joshua Olokodana for Readers' Favorite

In Hellblood: Book I of the Skyroar Trilogy by Balthazar Dusk, the world has become hell. Belgoriel and his demonic hordes made sure of it. Kingdom by kingdom, they vanquished the Cloudhunters, Vespertians, Lionkins, and almost all the Hundred Kingdoms. But Skyroar stood. However, when Mehrik, an Oceaner, is sent to take deliveries to and from the Seventh Seal, a sinister plot is set in motion, and the Conclave, the Skyroar government, sentences him to death for his part. In a fortunate turn of events, Mehrik gets out of Skyroar, where he realizes, in a chance encounter, the extent of the conspiracy. Belgoriel is changing his strategy, and the independent attacks on Skyroar have become coordinated. The enemy is also gaining a foothold in the Conclave as more demons get past the walls. Mehrik is the only loyal Skyroan aware of what is happening. Can he—a mere deliverer—save Skyroar?

Hellblood by Balthazar Dusk is a perfect example of what a book in the fantasy genre should be. Suspenseful, thrilling, engaging, and descriptive, it embodies all the qualities anyone who reads fiction would want to experience. Indeed, I found it hard to put down until I'd read the last line, and I can't wait to read the next installment. Balthazar's worldbuilding is immaculate. He made it appear like the world he depicted actually existed in reality. As for the characterizations, I cannot sing his praises enough. Most of the characters had a name—even the ones who didn't appear beyond a scene. The plot was paced just right, and the quality of the writing was outstanding. Hellblood is a gem. It has more than enough quality to be a bestseller. I also liked the map of The Known Territories at the beginning of the novel. It helped me visualize the action. This installment might have ended on a cliffhanger, but it certainly didn't lack hints pointing to what will happen next. If you read books in the fantasy genre, make sure you don't miss out on Hellblood by Balthazar Dusk.

K.C. Finn

Hellblood is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy, action, and adventure subgenres, and forms the opening novel of the Skyroar Trilogy. Penned by author Balthazar Dusk, it is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Readers are immersed in an enthralling journey set in a war-torn world where the fortified citadel of Skyroar is humanity's last stronghold against demonic forces and warring factions. The story revolves around Mehrik, a young man who dreams of becoming a warrior but who finds himself stuck in a less respected role as a Deliverer. When Mehrik is falsely accused of conspiring against one of the Seven Warriors, his life takes a dramatic turn. To clear his name, he embarks on a perilous journey, braving dangerous territories and demons aplenty.

Author Balthazar Dusk creates a richly detailed and suspenseful narrative, drawing readers into a world where allegiances are tested and the line between right and wrong blurs. The character development, particularly that of Mehrik, is compelling, with great attention paid to close personal narration and his speech and thought style. The clarity of his attitude and emotions offers us a closer insight into the immense pressure Mehrik faces, and as he confronts his beliefs, the story evolves into a gripping tale of redemption and sacrifice. Thematically speaking, the work explores the classic good versus evil idea but also delves into personal growth on a level rarely seen in fantasy fiction. The worldbuilding is richly cinematic, immersive, and varied, offering exciting vistas that shift with the well-paced plot. Overall, Hellblood sets the stage for a promising trilogy, offering an engaging blend of dark fantasy, intricate world-building, and profound character development that I would not hesitate to recommend to fantasy fans everywhere.

Alex Ndirangu

Hellblood: Book I of the Skyroar Trilogy by Balthazar Dusk transports us to the Known Territories, a world ruled by monsters. Hundreds of seasons ago, a black hole arose in the heart of Skyroar Volcano and granted demonic hordes a gateway from Hell into the Known Territories. For many seasons, demons led by their Dark Lord, Belgoriel, ruled unchallenged until Hishiro, the bravest and strongest (extraordinary) warrior, sealed the black hole within him. Then Skyroar built a protective wall and the Hidden Chamber around the Passage to Hell. According to Skyroar's Prophecy, the only hope against the demonic hordes is to protect the Hidden Chamber until Hishiro returns. However, armies from Icedorf, Oceano, the Hundred Kingdoms, and demonic hordes will stop at nothing to destroy the Passage to Hell—something Skyroar is dead set on protecting. In this world filled with demons and vicious enemies, we meet a witty young man called Mehrik. When one of the Seven Warriors, burdened with protecting the sacred resting place of the Passage to Hell, mysteriously dies, Mehrik is wrongly accused and sent to the dungeons to await execution. Overtaken by circumstances he can't control, Mehrik is forced to embark on a journey that will challenge everything he believes in, including who should be considered an enemy.

Wow! What an epic ride! Within the first few minutes, Balthazar Dusk's intricate descriptions draw you into a chaotic battlefield where Skyroar's army battles hordes of demons. Here, you will visualize blades and shields crashing against rock-hard claws and jaws amid screams and muffled demon squelches. Then, it's an unstoppable journey packed with more adventure, relentless suspense, and action. The originality and characters are another feather in the author's cap. From the Elgarians, a race of heavily built people that grow to over ten feet tall, to the Oceaners, who are smaller yet swift runners and swimmers, Hellblood is bursting with fascinating and unique races of people. The tale explores thought-provoking themes such as friendship, identity, self-discovery, and complex issues involving race, power, and good vs evil dilemmas. It does so in a way that uplifts and encourages deep reflection in the reader. Notable for its fresh, intricate, and well-developed setting and compelling tale of bravery and tenacity, Hellblood is a must-read for fantasy lovers. You are in for a treat with thrilling, fast-paced action, grand adventures, and nail-biting suspense.

Romuald Dzemo

Mehrik has grown up with the burning desire to join the Skyroar army that has kept the hordes of demons, Icedorf, and Hundred Kingdoms at bay. They are the protectors of Skyroar, the gateway to Hell. Before he even gets the chance to prove that he can be a brave warrior, he is wrongly accused of plotting the assassination of one of the Seven Warriors. The wrongful accusation sets him on a journey of redemption that will test him in many ways, bringing him to unimaginable places. The narrative beautifully explores Mehrik's struggles as he is forced to challenge his beliefs and venture even beyond enemy lines to clear his name. However, as he is hellbent on clearing his name, he becomes oblivious to the repercussions of his actions and that he puts his world in great danger.

Hellblood by Balthazar Dusk introduces readers to a wonderfully crafted fantasy world. The conflict is phenomenal and the author uses it to move the plot forward. The protagonist is a likable character, and readers will feel connected to him. His inner world is brilliantly explored. Mehrik's quest for redemption initiates a chain of events that holds the fate of the world in balance. The impending doom and the stakes at hand are conveyed well, creating a tense and engaging atmosphere. Hellblood features terrific descriptions and strong imagery. Readers will find themselves captivated by the book's intricate world, the compelling plot, and the internal struggles of the characters. This richly layered and engrossing tale of heroism, sacrifice, and the fight against darkness had me spellbound and turning the pages. Fans of fantasy will love it.

Foluso Falaye

Mehrik's job as a deliverer is to transport goods and messages across all of Skyroar. However, he wants to do more than just deliver. The army calls to him, despite the dangers of war and defending the land against evil. Mehrik, however, finds an opportunity to take on a more important role, which involves him doing what he thinks is right while disobeying an important rule. Unfortunately, he is punished by his people and relegated to a compromising position in a moment of war and turmoil. Surrounded by enemies on all sides, the people of Skyroar must defend themselves against hordes of demons, battle dragons, and agree on the best strategies to employ amidst all the confusion. Embark on a perilous adventure in Hellblood as Balthazar Dusk portrays a magical world filled with supernatural beings, intricate traditions, and mind-blowing action.

Throughout reading this book, my emotions were all over the place since the plot advances through several gripping, evocative scenes and events. I felt angry, sympathetic, fearful, happy, and many other emotions, all within short periods. One moment Mehrik is being helpful, and the next is being detained and punished. The fantasy world is expertly developed with vividly described creatures and peculiar traditions that intensify its realism. For example, dragons' hides ​are said to be much thicker than demon skin. The heart-racing action scenes offer an experience as immersive as being in the front-row seat of a cinema. Whether the characters are fighting against dragons or they're experiencing demonic possession, Balthazar's vivid descriptions will have you hanging on for the entirety of this thrilling, fast-paced ride. If you love dark fantasy, you don't want to miss Hellblood.