‘Written in the Blood’ by Stephen Lloyd Jones

Written in the Blood‘Written in the Blood’ is the sequel to Stephen Lloyd Jones ‘The String Diaries’. If you want to catch up on the plot, you can find my review here.

Set fifteen years after the first novel in the series, the main protagonist in ‘Written in the Blood’ is Hannah Wilde’s daughter, Leah. Last seen as a nine year old girl on the run with her mother from the dangerous Jakab, she is now 24 and on a mission to help save the future of her race – the Hosszu Eletek.

Fertility among the remaining Hosszu Eletek is failing, and Leah is one of the youngest in a declining society. Together with her mother, Leah is helping to run a highly controversial fertility programme to give women the chance to have a child. But the upper echelons of the Hosszu Eletek society aren’t keen on diluting their race with the human blood that runs through Hannah and Leah’s veins. And when they decide that it’s necessary to reach out to the banished Kirekesztett, their fertility programme is soon seen as something that needs to be stopped at any cost.

This starts of a chain of events that threaten to tear down everything that they’ve been working to achieve, and could destroy the future of the Hosszu Eletek for good. Enter a whole new threat in the form of the terrifying Lelek Tolvajok, seeking to body snatch the precious Hosszu Eletek children, and you have a fast paced, exhilarating thriller.

It took me a little while to really get into this book, and it was so jam packed with action and dramatic revelations that I felt character development was lost a little bit. There were a lot of characters, and some of them weren’t given the time they deserved. Had the book been a bit longer, we might have got to know certain characters better. I would have loved to see more of Izsak in particular, and the sections with Luca were so full of action that they flew by before I really had a chance to form any sort of emotional attachment to him.

There’s a lot of blood and gore, horror and barely restrained tension in this novel. But there’s also a focus on family and a community that is trying to rebuild itself. I loved how the relationship between Hannah and her daughter was developed and how their efforts helped to bring people together, despite the escalating threat of danger.

It’s a great sequel, although for me, it didn’t quite live up to the heights of ‘The String Diaries’.

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