The Swords of Blood and Gold


Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
308 Pages
Reviewed on 05/23/2022
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Author Biography

JCR Paulino is an emerging author of magical realism, fantasy, and science fiction. His debut novel, The Swords of Blood and Gold, received the Literary Titan Golden Book Award in July 2022. He is currently working on the second book of his Supernatural Treasure Series, The Crystal Canvas.

JCR lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

The Swords of Blood and Gold by J. C. R. Paulino casts its spell of mysticism over a broad horizon of adventure, anchored around two swords of incredible power. These immortal tools have traversed centuries, wielding death and destruction on their journey to sustain one entity; an entity driven to maintain itself no matter what the cost may be. Jon Sherman is an attractive 28-year-old guy with an exhilarating career as an ocean treasure hunter. He knows nothing about worlds of mythical powers and unfathomable entities; that is until his company is brutally attacked on an otherwise normal Monday afternoon. This catalyst propels Jon into a race with destiny, forcing him to confront not only unknown dangers but also his belief system and understanding of reality. Whether he survives this convoluted journey is the only question, and you will be compelled to read through to the explosive climax to discover the answer.

J. C. R. Paulino’s The Swords of Blood and Gold is a high-quality mythical adventure steeped in some truly engrossing Chinese legends. I found the plot to be well-paced, intriguing, and fresh without being overpowered by excessive convolution and complexity. The characters were quite palpable and unique in personality, and the relationships were crafted supremely well. This was particularly so with the relationship between Jon and Natalie; the pace and at times awkwardness that flowed between these two was very on point. In fact, the first intimacy between these two was handled in one of the best ways I have ever read. All told, The Swords of Blood and Gold is a thoroughly enjoyable read, suitable for every reader with a sense of adventure and magic within their heart. A remarkable, first-class book.

K.C. Finn

The Swords of Blood and Gold is a work of fiction in the urban fantasy, mystery, and thriller subgenres. It is intended for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author JCR Paulino. This stunning debut novel combines the historical treasure hunting atmosphere of Indiana Jones with a tense modern murder plot. We meet the protagonist and deep-sea diver Jon Sherman when he’s thrown into a world with supernatural killers and a dangerous weapon that could bring death to countless others. As Jon discovers his purpose and hidden potential in a world he never even knew existed, the adventure develops into a thrilling and emotive tale of treasure, love, loss, and impending doom.

This debut novel offers a lot for fantasy fans to sink their teeth into and such promise for whatever comes next from author JCR Paulino. I particularly enjoyed the pacing of the plot and the unraveling mystery, and how it was balanced with our protagonist and his total lack of knowledge at the opening of the tale. Jon’s fish-out-of-water cross-cultural experience is expertly pitched to celebrate the mystique of Chinese legend without making a gimmick out of it. The investigative journey settles the story into a believable kind of magical realism that makes it all the more exciting when the action heats up. I also felt that the development of the whole cast of characters was dealt with in great detail and using engaging original dialogue. Overall, The Swords of Blood and Gold is a superb work of fantasy fiction with action, adventure, and atmosphere on every single page.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Swords of Blood and Gold by JCR Paulino is an urban fantasy story. Jon Sherman is a deep-sea treasure hunter working for Deep Blue Marine Exploration. He's the best there is but he suddenly finds himself out of work after a bust-up with his boss. A blessing in disguise. Jon certainly thinks so when his ex-colleagues are murdered by a supernatural killer after salvaging chests from deep beneath the ocean. Unfortunately, that puts Jon squarely in the frame as the prime suspect and the police are on his tail - so is the killer. Teaming up with his late boss's daughter, Jon sets out to find out what's going on. They stumble over secrets that have been hidden for centuries and find out just what weapon the killer is using. Only one blade can help Jon fight back and he must find it before it's too late. But will it be enough? This is the deadliest journey he will ever face and he must win to save himself and everyone close to him.

The Swords of Blood and Gold by JCR Paulino is a unique story, an urban fantasy mixed with the supernatural with a thrilling plot. The characters were well-developed, likable people that you come to know and whose growth is developed gradually throughout the story. They are realistic characters, easy to identify with, and very easy to like, especially the two main protagonists. This is an action-packed story of a treasure hunt in China to find the one weapon capable of taking out the supernatural enemy, with plenty of nail-biting scenes softened with a little romance along the way. For a debut novel, JCR Paulino has knocked it out of the park. The suspense and tension build throughout, drawing you in and keeping you right there until the end. If you love urban fantasy or just want to read a cool adventure story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this is highly recommended.

K.J. Simmill

In JCR Paulino’s The Swords of Blood and Gold, Jon had found his passion early in life and had excelled in the field of deep-sea treasure hunting. There was nothing he loved more than planning a voyage and reaping the rewards of their hard work; nothing, except maybe the camaraderie of his friends and colleagues who sank every bit of themselves into the expeditions. But the business wasn’t as booming as it could be. The reason? The boss was obsessed with bringing home a certain haul. Maybe he shouldn’t have butted heads with the big man. Had he known the day he left the office would be the last time he’d see any of them alive, he may have rethought things. Wanted by the police under suspicion of mass murder, and on the run from a homicidal maniac, Jon must separate truth from lies and find a means to stop the vicious murderer from continuing to target those he loves.

From the very start, this book had me hooked. I was completely enthralled, drawn into the pages as vibrant characters and passion filled the pages in a gripping and intense plot. The Swords of Blood and Gold went from a genre I don’t read often straight to my recommended reading list, and I never recommend a book lightly. I loved the immersive storytelling; you’re not only whisked away on a terrifying ride of justice, love, loss, and hardship but on an epic and mystical adventure that keeps you glued to the pages. It’s the kind of book you want to read in a single sitting, JCR Paulino has a way of weaving a scene, growing the characters, and ensuring the reader is fully invested. The meeting of worlds, past and present, through fables and the supernatural was brilliant as a threat forged in ancient times endangers the lives of everyone Jon cares for. You share the grief and loss, celebrate the victories, and when the book ends, you have to take a moment to appreciate the magnificence of what you’ve just read. I’ll certainly be looking out for more books from this author.

Rabia Tanveer

The Swords of Blood and Gold by JCR Paulino is an urban fantasy novel with the perfect mix of action and the supernatural. Jon Sherman was let go from his job at Deep Blue Marine Exploration on a Friday and had no idea that was the last time he would see his friends alive. The whole crew was killed mysteriously after they salvaged some chests from the ocean. Detectives on the case believed Jon was the prime suspect. When he was approached by his ex-boss’s daughter Natalie to figure out what happened to her father and the whole Deep Blue Marine Exploration crew, Jon couldn’t say no. However, a mysterious masked killer was after Jon. As Jon and Natalie uncovered secrets kept hidden from centuries ago, they discover that the only way to stop the killer was to locate a blade so powerful it was deadly to find.

Action-packed with plenty of drama and mystery, The Swords of Blood and Gold has everything a reader desires in a wonderful novel. Immersive from the very beginning, Jon’s introduction was cool and calm, but that was the calm before the storm. Natalie knew Jon was the right man for the job, and she trusted him fully. However, that did not mean Natalie was just arm candy. She was far more useful than I imagined and complemented Jon’s aggression with her levelheadedness. The dialogues were fun, but the narrative was the star of the show. The descriptions made me feel like I was in the moment with Jon. That final chapter was magical, to say the least. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys adventure with a twist.