Hello fellow readers and welcome to my stop on the Random Things Tours blog tour for The Blood Dimmed Tide by Michael R. Johnston!
The sequel to The Widening Gyre, praised by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal and more!
Tajen’s mission to seek aid from the Kelvaki Assembly is cut short when the Zhen invade Earth. Now he, Liam,and Kiri must return to Earth and liberate the colony from brutal occupation. When Tajen learns the Zhen plan todestroy a human fleet amassing in preparation to help Earth, he and his crew must escape the planet once more and warn them.
I only realised after I received this book in the post that it was a sequel. So naturally, I had to read the first one. Which I did and I loved it. ‘The Widening Gyre’ introduces us to Tajen and his crew with ‘The Blood-Dimmed Tide’ taking place a few months after the conclusion.
I really enjoyed reading both these books back to back but I am obviously focusing on ‘The Blood-Dimmed Tide’ for this review. We are thrown head first into a battle, with Tajen and Liam’s wedding being brutally interrupted with a Zhen attack. What follows is an expansive race across space with Tajen and his family to seek aid while also trying to maintain the upper hand on the Zhen’s attacks.
There was some great character development here, especially for Tajen. He has already been through so much in the first book but Johnston manages to develop what he built even further. What I really like about him is he embraces his own flaws while also trying to work on himself. Tajen and Liam’s relationship is an absolute breath of fresh air too. There is a strong sense of equality here and it is great to see such a healthy m/m romance in an SFF book.
I was very intrigued to learn as well that the author based some of the Zhen/human struggles on accounts of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. I feel he did a wonderful job here with this but there is also a moment where one of the characters is broadcast a declaration from Earth citing independence from the Zhen. Another nice nod to Irish history here I couldn’t help but spot and delight in.
If you are a fan of Mass Effect, Firefly or Becky Chambers, this should be next on your radar. This book and the previous are two fantastically paced books with a wonderful found family dynamic and great potential to build on for future books.
Thank you to Anne Cater and Flame Tree Press for sending me a copy of ‘The Blood-Dimmed Tide’ in exchange for a review! ‘The Blood-Dimmed Tide’ is published on the 20th of Februrary, and ‘The Widening Gyre’ is available now!
Born in the San Francisco Bay Area and raised in Napa,California, Michael R. Johnston grew up steeped in everything Science Fiction and Fantasy. In the early 90s, he took a“break” from college that went from being one semester to ten years. In that time, he had several jobs, from
serving subpoenas to making sandwiches, before he became the Data Processing Manager of a small research company. Eventually he decided he’d had enough of the corporate world and returned to college, graduating with honors from California State University, Sacramento. In fall 2006, he became a high school English teacher,a job he likens to herding a swarm of angry bees. It’s the best job he’s ever had. Michael currently lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and daughter. When he’s not writing or teaching, he spends time with his family, plays
video games and tabletop RPGs,and reads. He blogs at MJohnstonBooks.com,and can be found on Twitteras @MREJohnston.