I received a copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Although if this is a dishonest review, I would hate to see an honest one, because I really did not like this book.
Fantasy’s most anticipated debut of the year
There was a time when the Red Gods ruled the land. The Dark Lady and her horde dealt in death and blood and fire.
That time has long since passed and the neighbouring kingdoms of Mireces and Rilpor hold an uneasy truce. The only blood spilled is confined to the border where vigilantes known as Wolves protect their kin and territory at any cost.
But after the death of his wife, King Rastoth is plagued by grief, leaving the kingdom of Rilpor vulnerable.
Vulnerable to the blood-thirsty greed of the Warrior-King Liris and the Mireces army waiting in the mountains…
GODBLIND is an incredible debut from a dazzling new voice of the genre.
Although excited by the blurb of this book, after slogging through all 500+ pages over the course of a week and a half, I was left decidedly cold, and not at all interested in further work from this author.
Grimdark is a genre that I’ve read a few examples of, but have recently come to the conclusion that I actually don’t particularly like. While realism in a fantasy series is difficult to pull off, I don’t think that unnecessarily graphic violence is the way to add believability to your work. Bearing in mind that I’m not really a fan of grimdark, that might explain why this book grated on me so much, but even without that, I was left unimpressed.
An ensemble cast of characters should have led to a book which I really enjoyed, with two warring countries, differing religions, and a host of treachery, backstabbing, and influence in the form of the gods. But I did not enjoy this book at all. From the off, it totally failed to grip me, and I read/listened to four other books while guiltily avoiding the points at which I thought my kindle might be looking at me. When I eventually did settle down and pick up the kindle to get reading, I realised that the book dragged massively. Besides a horrendously and unnecessarily graphic scene of torture/human sacrifice about 40% of the way through the book, there was very little that was memorable.
Two further complaints – this book does not finish the story. It doens’t even try to set itself up as having completed a story arc, leaving space for more. At the climax of the book, we’re left with one army just about to start a pitched battle, and one army caught in an ambush. The book literally finished mid-battle, which is just lazy writing. I would have accepted the tension of ending with an army outside the gates and battle about to begin, but I just cannot get on board with ending the action in the middle of what’s going on in the first installment of a series.
The blurb which I read on Goodreads (which I accept may be an older blurb) mentions Rivil’s failed attempt to kill his father. That attempt (which isn’t specified as failed in the book) happens 97% of the way through the book, and spoils before you even begin reading the big reveal that Rivil is actually a major antagonist. Having checked on the HC website and Amazon, that’s no longer in the blurb, so that might not be an issue for new readers. Unless, of course, they happen to read Goodreads blurbs.
My final complaint, which admittedly is quite esoteric, is that one of the characters, a skilled archer (to the extent that their surname is Archer), in testing out her abilities, picks up a bow and fires it without an arrow in it. This is called dry firing, and is literally the worst thing you can do to a bow. All of the power from the limbs which is supposed to go into propelling the arrow forward is left still in the bow, and can often shatter the bow. The worst part? This character doesn’t even do this with her own bow – she does it with someone else’s!
I realise that this is a factual complaint based on the fact that I have some experience in archery and therefore know that this is just about the worst thing you can do, but it smacks of a lack of research on the part of the author, for the sake of dramatic tension (the empty bow is aimed at another character) and really turned me off the book. Even more so than the scene which involved nails (the steel kind, not the finger kind) and testicles.
Various complaints linked up to make this a less than enjoyable experience for me, and not a series which I will be interested in continuing.