This is a story that centers around Thorn St. Croix, a neomage hidden among humans in a post-apocalyptic world. The book blurb calls it a "ambiguous apocalypse" because while seraphs have descended upon the world and mass genocide occurred, followed by a continuing war against dark beings, life seems to be going on. Now the survivors aren't sure of what the Divine Powers expect or what religion is right; they all live in an uneasy peace, following strict rules against sin (or the seraphs could exact vengeance) and in fear of demons that live underground and DO exist.
Thorn is a mage whose powers are from stone, and she's pretending to be human because for some reason most humans hate and fear mages. Humans will turn into a murderous mob if they found out who Thorn really was. Most mages are protected from humans in enclaves but Thorn cannot do so.
The story starts when Thorn's ex-husband is kidnapped under mysterious circumstances and Thorn is determined to find him. A cast of interesting friends and acquaintances surrounds her at her store – Thorn's Gems, who form a family that help Thorn even though they are unaware of her powers.
THOUGHTS: Overall the world was fascinating so I enjoyed the book. 7/10
Good things: I found this to be a very well-imagined and detailed world. I could see the scenes very well, especially the cold weather and ice (nice to read about when it's summer). It also felt like Hunter spent a lot of time thinking about the way Thorn's magic worked and how different stones worked differently for a stone-mage: chants to get magic working, shortcuts, and how magic is taught to the mages, and there was a lot of thought about the history of the apocalypse, and about different species in the world – mages, humans, and seraphs. Sometimes the details were hard to keep track of (Thorn's amulets were described particularly often) – I found this page @ the author's website helpful and interesting after I finished the book. Another thing I liked was the side characters were pretty interesting and well-written, especially the interaction between them. There is a sense of history and shared memories between her business partners and I could believe the relationship and reactions of the characters.
Less good things: I had a lot less questions answered at the end of the book than I expected. Really big, obvious questions that I expected to have answered were not. I know one biggie that other readers commented on was.. why do humans hate mages so much? This is the one out of them all I most wish was answered in this book. Another one I had was - why is there this weird "mage-lust" between Seraphs and mages, but they are not allowed to mate? Many times in the book Thorn goes into throes of lust. Amazon reviewers compared it to Laurell K. Hamilton's "ardeur", but this book does not have the sex all over the place that Hamilton does (point to its favor). Still.. what's up with that? Finally (Hunter did this several times in the book) – Thorn notices something and then she'd "forget", or it seemed important for a second but she moves on. What is this stuff she keeps forgetting? It usually does not get referenced later on! So because of all these questions, Bloodring did not feel like a standalone book and even though there is sort of an ending to it, it has a huge "to be continued" feeling and I have to go get the sequel now because I'm still quite confused.