Fiction Book Reviews

Fantasy | Blood and Mercy | V S Holmes

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We’re delighted to be hosting V S Holmes in our hot seat, chatting to us today about Blood and Mercy (Blood of Titans : Restored Book 2).

Find out which scene they enjoyed the writing the most, where they go for inspiration and much more!

Book cover for Blood and Mercy by V S Holmes

Blood and Mercy by V S Holmes is available to purchase in digital and paperback formats.

Saving the world may have doomed them all.

Keplan reels in the wake of grief and guilt at the blood on his hands. Outside the city walls, however, winter grows fiercer and droughts longer. Alea reforged the fractured world twenty years before–so why is it withering before his eyes? Then, just as he masters being a monarch, a prophet arrives spouting scripture about a One True God. Keplan’s own mother killed the last gods, yet this one matches his description perfectly–and its wrath is about to fall upon Athrolan.

Isolated within the same cold, marble walls as Athrolan’s murderous king, Rih struggles to plot her rebellion leagues away from everything she has ever known. With an unexpected ally, she may have finally found a way to the Mirikin Hetmir–until tragedy strikes. With religious fanatics at their walls, blight in their fields, and a king floundering from addiction, Athrolan spirals out of control. Now Rih must choose between a mad king’s life and her own revolution.

This series contains scenes of intimacy between queer characters. If this makes you uncomfortable, this is not the series for you.


Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.

Please summarise Blood and Mercy  in 20 words or less.

A Deaf former soldier plots rebellion while married to a queer, teenaged god. He hopes the world ends, she prays it doesn’t.

If you could choose to be one of your characters, who would you be?

This is a tough one! I certainly have favorites to write, but as far as who I’d want to be–Reka is pretty similar to me. I’d love to live in the Wise Hare as the bartender Firas, or as Sha/Rheman, the gender queer dockhand.

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be …

Hold fast and trust who you are.

What scene did you enjoy writing the most?

My favorite part of writing is getting into the gritty aspects of someone’s psyche, and unraveling all the huge machinations that result when those people are in positions of power. Honestly, though, I’m a sucker for reunion scenes, especially when there’s a lot of time and unfinished business between characters. Anything that breeds heartache and honesty! The bedside vigil scene and the final scene in the book got me with every read-through.

Does your book tackle a social barrier?

I try and create characters who are disabled and queer, both as a way to process those complexities in myself, but also because there is a dearth of those characters written by us. In this particular book, I tackled different sources and symptoms of PTSD and anxiety, and included disability, pansexuality, gender fluidity, asexuality, and trauma. On a larger scale, the world brushes on climate change and the justifications and condemnations of war.

If your book is part of a series, what is in the future?

Blood and Mercy is the final book in this particular arc of the Blood of Titans world, but I’m outlining another series in this world that follows up on some of the side characters several years later, when the world has become more industrial with steam engines and firearms, more flintlock than epic fantasy. I also have plans to revisit the world in a prequel series to explore An’thor’s character and the roots of the Gods’ War.

Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?

Outdoors! I’m lucky that my day job as an archaeologist (when it’s safe to work) takes me to all sorts of places. I meet incredible people and experience deep solitude. The balance between those two things really helps hone my craft. As I’ve said before, archaeology and writing are one and the same–searching for the truth of the story.

What are you reading now? Opinion?

I just started Robert J. Sawyer’s The Oppenhiemer Alternative, which is fascinating (I’ll have a full review up on my site as soon as I’m done!) and How Soon Until Black Future Month, which is part of my effort to educate myself on Black fantasy (and is incredible!)

What are you currently working on?

I’m a multi-project author, so I’ve got a few in the works! I’m drafting Heretics, the fourth book in my lesbian archaeologists in space series, the Nel Bently Books, which take place in the shared Starsedge science fiction universe.

I’m also outlining Dagger’s Dance, the first in the sequel series set in the Blood of Titans world. Get ready for lesbian swordswomen, a zealot with a crisis of faith, and a clash between raptor cavalry and mammoth armies!

Lastly, I’m sandboxing a third unrelated project which I’m not at liberty to share just yet, but it promises to be dark, complicated, and is different from anything I’ve done before!

Finally, are there any tips you could share with new writers?

Finding my process and what worked for me was pretty difficult, as well as realizing I can write characters like me, despite seeing very few of them in contemporary literature. My advice would be to test all sorts of writing tips, and not get bogged down in what other authors are doing. Create your own particular skillset. Hold on to your roots, but let yourself change. As Dolly Parton said: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

Thank you for being my guest today.

Author photo V S Holmes

V. S. Holmes is an international bestselling author. They created the REFORGED series and the NEL BENTLY BOOKS. Smoke and Rain, the first book in their fantasy quartet, won New Apple Literary’s Excellence in Independent Publishing Award in 2015. In addition, they have published short fiction in several anthologies.

When not writing, they work as a contract archaeologist throughout the northeastern U.S. They live in a Tiny House with their spouse, a fellow archaeologist, their not-so-tiny dog, and own too many books for such a small abode. As a disabled and queer human, they work as an advocate and educator for representation in SFF worlds.

Blood and Mercy, the final book in the Blood of Titans: Reforged series sits shelves June 27th 2020

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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