Review published on June 26, 2017.
This dark, gritty and often brutal debut novel in a proposed trilogy starts well, as the world of Gilgoras is set into a time of grisly chaos with a clash between of those that worship the Gods of Light and those who favour the Red Gods.
Central to this is the seduction of unlimited power and control achieved only through the sacrifice of blood in order to sufficiently strengthen those Gods that dwell beyond the veil so that they may become physical again. After much plotting and scheming, a truce between King Rastoth of Rilporian and King Liris of Mireces is cast aside.
Rillirin, for me, is the dominant protagonist in an evolving but strong female role. Of royal blood, but treated as a slave because she will not succumb to the blood thirsty, cruel practices associated with worship of the Red Gods. She kills King Liris as he violently tries to subject her to more rape and emotional torture. On the run, she is protected by the Dom, a warrior caste with the ability to have visions. From here a chain of events unfold.
Amidst a plethora of plotting, counter plotting and subterfuge, there is a clear good versus evil battle. But not all are completely aligned to one side. There is romance, allegiances and trust despite it being a time of flux. Acts of violence are uncompromising and gory. Battle scenes are very physical and you can almost feel their fatigue and pain as they attempt to endure.
More a steady evolution of a grim world rather than an epic feel, it has the basis of a good gritty storyline. There are some very interesting characters. Chapters are broken down into the experiences of the main cast, which run concurrent with the story and do at times overlap. There are a lot of characters and I would have appreciated a cast list, especially as some names are interchangeable, but I followed it nonetheless. Plenty of seeds being sown to carry through to the next books, not to mention a climactic ending. Good enough to appeal to Joe Abercrombie fans I would wager.
Sara Garland 4/2
Godblind by Anna Stephens
Harper Voyager 9780008215897 hbk Jun 2017