Blood Over Bright Haven
PUBLISHED ON: 25 July 2023
GENRE: Dark Academia, Fantasy
You can buy the book here.
“…but we both grew up in a man’s world without mothers.”
Our journey takes us to beautiful city of Tiran. A city which is a magical utopia, where people are constantly in awe of advancements made by the mages. And the mages aren’t stopping at just what they already achieved but now, they want to work on expanding. And one of them is newly appointed mage, Sciona. She is the first female mage in the High Magistry, already proving exceptional to everything.
When she is tasked with most unexpected assistant, everyone aspects her to be lost. For her to lose her way and not work efficiently, but she makes the best of the situation and along with her assistant Thomil, the two of them try and find solutions for the advancements. And as we all say magic comes with a price, the question is what is the price and are you willing to pay ?
Your compassion does you credit as a woman, but it is not realistic.
If you’ve read Blood over Bright Haven, you know how simplified the summary is and if you haven’t trust me, this summary is nothing. I like to read books without knowing anything about the book and this version is like that, not spoiling anything. Blood over the Bright Haven by M.L.Wang made me realise why I fall in love with reading and why we need to read. This book shows time and again what is something we see all around us and the most underlying question, what if progress means scarifying some innocents? What will you do?
“You- you’re an innovator, Sciona. Regardless of where the magical energy comes from, you must respect what we’ve built here! The sheer vision and majesty of this city. You must.”
I had read in an Essay years ago where scientist said that we cannot stop progressing with the fear what humans will do with the innovation. And with it being the Oppenheim week around us, I’ve been thinking a lot about it. Blood over Bright Haven doesn’t directly ask that question but the question at the back of the mind is similar, if your progress, your comfort, your innovation all comes from blood, do you still want it? And the age hold arrogance of men that women can’t do anything. Because of course, it’s the men’s world. Because of course, men are the human who can solve problem and women? Well, if they prepare a good cup of tea, it’s enough.
“Women are always told to be kind, be forgiving, be nurturing.”
Now, coming to the actual review. M.L.Wang is a genius. Every word, every sentence in the book is beautifully written, so thoughtfully crafted that I had to stop mid-sentence to marvel them. The story is beautiful, the problems showed are beautiful, the difference shown among the people is wonderful. I loved how grief was portrayed in various stages, how guilt was shown, how many layered emotions were present. I think, it is the sign of intelligence how the story was crafted. The prologue and the epilogue, showing in circle, from where we began to where we reach. And all the crust in between? UN.STOPPABLE. I was trying to be that healthy girl who would sleep on time and this book came, shattering all my sleep schedule. I was up till 1 AM. I read. I cried. And I read again.
“I am not your glory,” Sciona realised aloud. “I’m your penance.”
Blood over Bright Haven is somewhat between a crossover genre, Dark Academia and Fantasy. Personally, I haven’t read too many Dark Academia books and way too many Fantasy books, but don’t let that comment steer me from the fact that this is one of the best standalone books, I’ve read in a while. This book has everything. A Good story. Characters that not only make you feel but rip your heart apart. A deeper shade of understanding with humanity, regrets, guilt, advancements, politics and ignorance.
In short, do yourself a favor and read this masterpiece so we can cry over it together.
“… Don’t do it for me- or for Tiran, or for the Kwen. Be selfish. Be arrogant. Do it for yourself.”
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Magic has made the city of Tiran an industrial utopia, but magic has a cost—and the collectors have come calling.
An orphan since the age of four, Sciona has always had more to prove than her fellow students. For twenty years, she has devoted every waking moment to the study of magic, fueled by a mad desire to achieve the impossible: to be the first woman ever admitted to the High Magistry. When she finally claws her way up the ranks to become a highmage, however, she finds that her challenges have just begun. Her new colleagues will stop at nothing to let her know she is unwelcome, beginning with giving her a janitor instead of a qualified lab assistant.
What neither Sciona nor her peers realize is that her taciturn assistant was once more than a janitor; before he mopped floors for the mages, Thomil was a nomadic hunter from beyond Tiran’s magical barrier. Ten years have passed since he survived the perilous crossing that killed his family. But working for a highmage, he sees the opportunity to finally understand the forces that decimated his tribe, drove him from his homeland, and keep the Tiranish in power.
Through their fractious relationship, mage and outsider uncover an ancient secret that could change the course of magic forever—if it doesn’t get them killed first. Sciona has defined her life by the pursuit of truth, but how much is one truth worth with the fate of civilization in the balance?
Sciona is freaking amazing. Everything she did. Everything she planned? Her journey? It is so inspiring. I loved the violent scenes, especially. The first time when Thomil told her what is actually happening. Her reaction. The way she couldn’t believe. And than when she conformed what Thomil told her. Her reaction. How grief consumed her. How she couldn’t just believe people did all this knowing the truth. Her episode at home. How the “doctor” that came to treat her, wanted to tame her. And finally accepting that yes, this is what is happening. And further, her refusal to use magic for mundane things.
I loved Sciona and Thomil’s unusual pairing. How they balanced each other out. How the expertise that they had helped bridging the gap between the knowledge. Oh and the talks of their faith, their belief. It was so beautifully written.
“I can be civil, ma’am or I can be honest. You can’t have both in their entirety.”
“Because Kwen truth isn’t civilized, ma’am.” … “It’s bloody, and Blighted and ugly. If you’re going to let me stay, I can be always respectful or always honest.”
More than anything I loved how despite everything, she did believe that no one knew the truth. She believed that no one voluntarily would kill and be okay with it. And feeling all that in a world of Mages… In a world of power-hungry, men dominated world, she hopped that they would be human.
The scene where she showed the truth to everyone? I admit, she didn’t think it through, but loved it. But the fact that she had the guts to do that. To show the reality, the truth to everyone? I don’t know about others, but yes, she is a badass lady and I love her so much. For doing what no men can even think to do.
Truth over delusion. Growth over comfort. God over all.
The reaction of the Kwen was expected but the brutality was an eye-opener.
I love how like so many other women, her efforts would not be remembered by many, which was her fear. But she still did what she had to because truth was more important than fame, because after all, life is more important than luxury.
To hope. Sciona lifted her glass, and Thomil raised a fist in return.
To hope, Highmage Freynan.
You can read my review for Aurora Cycle series here.