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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.