Blood Stew by Todd Sullivan

In a world of swords and sorcery, illusionist Kim Nam-Gi has a dream: to become a hero.
Born in the land of South Hanguk, cursed with a malformed spine, Nam-Gi longs to prove his worth against dragons and monsters. Instead, he toils in his family’s restaurant while studying advanced spells under the tutelage of a Dark Elf.
When his father, Kim Joo-Won, goes deep into debt in an attempt to attract new customers to their struggling restaurant, Nam-Gi is once again denied permission to put his name forward on the governor’s registry. Joo-Won needs him for the restaurant, and a greedy money lender hovers over them with the aim to keep the Kim family in perpetual debt.
Desperate to solve their financial woes, Nam-Gi uses magic to trick customers into believing that the restaurant’s meager bottom feeders are actually carp and abalone. If he can keep up the deception, his family might prosper enough to escape the lender. Then his father may grant him permission to abandon his post at the restaurant and take the challenge of a quest.
A perfect opportunity soon arrives. On the other side of South Hanguk, two fishermen discover a corpse with strange leathery wings drifting in the sea. They haul the body back to the village. Tragedy ensues when their unexpected catch proves to be more terrifying than anything they could have imagined.
The governors of South Hanguk seek out adventurers who can slay the monster that now terrorizes the besieged fisherfolk. Will Nam-Gi be allowed to roam across wild lands and wander through dark forests to vanquish this threat? Can he push his crippled body beyond the limits that have plagued him since birth?

Thank you to the author for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Blood Stew is available now.

This is book three in the Windshine Chronicles. However, it feels very different compared to the first two, with more time spent on setup and development. It could probably be read as a standalone, but I would suggest reading the other books in the series simply because they’re good.

Blood Stew follows Nam-Gi, who dreams of swords instead of ladles. He was born with a twisted spine and, instead of embarking on the adventure he desires, he works in his family’s restaurant. Eventually, Nami-Gi is thrust into the adventure he dreams of, although it is far different than what he expected.

This book had a slower start with more of a buildup than the previous two books in the series. However, that gave me time to appreciate the worldbuilding and the details that author Todd Sullivan uses to bring everything to life. It also made Nam-Gi an extremely well-developed character, which I appreciate.

Blood Stew ramps up to an exciting conclusion, while at the same time fleshing out a creative and beautiful world. Todd Sullivan’s writing continues to evolve and grow, bringing new and fascinating layers to his Windshine Chronicles.

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