Genres: Grimdark, Fantasy
Format Read: Paperback
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on June 17th 2017
Book Depository | Buy from publisher
For fans of Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, and Mark Lawrence comes a brutal grimdark fantasy debut of dark gods and violent warriors.
The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.
Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.
Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?
** Warning: This book contains dark themes**
Grimdark. I honestly have no idea what this genre is, but I kind of like it. Godblind was an introduction into the grimdark fantasy genre for me, and I gotta say I’m impressed. Not in love with this genre just yet, but I really enjoyed how brutal it got. Fully aware that I sound quite crazy right now.
I picked up Godblind to get my fix of intricately plotted fantasy, while in between Game of Thrones season seven episodes. I haven’t had the chance to pick up the Game of Thrones book series yet, so thought Godblind would be a good place to start since it’s a little under 500 pages.
Godblind follows multiple characters living in Rilpor and Gilgoras. One that’s a brutal tribe, worshipping the Red Gods who was expelled from Rilpor hundreds of year ago. And the other, a more peaceful civilisation that worships the Red God’s more gentle sister, the Dancer and her son the Fox God.
I do have to admit that this book and I didn’t get off to a good start. I went into the book with little to no knowledge of the series, and was absolutely shocked reading the events that happened in the first few chapters. I can honestly say that I almost gave up on this series before I even began. I don’t condone the use of rape and brutality as a plot point, but can understand why it was included. There’s a lot of ways that you can paint the image of a wicked person, and I personally think the use of rape is a little lazy. But this is fantasy, and I assume grimdark is a way to convey dark fantasy.
What I liked about Godblind were the twists and turns. You never really know whats happening, and even if you think you’ve figured it out..you haven’t. The Mireces are brutal warriors that believe in sacrifice. Their gods demand pain and blood as worship, and it’s often difficult to read some of the scenes where torture and sacrifice occurs. Particularly this one scene around a third of the way in. If you’ve read Godblind, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It was horrid. Having been exiled for hundreds of years, they’re finally looking to break the veil that’s keeping their gods from their lands, and retake Rilpor for themselves. The more they kill, and the longer the war goes, the easier it is for their gods to step through the veil. While certainly a brutal bunch, I was pleasantly surprised by their military strategies. They’re cunning, and their moves in the game of war were intriguing to follow.
And then there were the Rilporians. In a multiple POV book, this became really hard to follow, especially at the start. Chapter after chapter, you were introduced to new characters all from different areas, and it was a slow drag in between chapters before all their lives crossed paths. Only once they did, did the story get interesting. There was betrayal, love, backstabbing, double-crossing and more, which made for an interesting story overall. The downside to having so many characters though, is that it leads to a lack of characterisation. We never really spend enough time with any particular character to grow attached. Even in the more dire of times, I didn’t feel scared for their outcome.
Godblind leaves off on a minor cliffhanger that makes you want to immediately pick up the next one in the series. For a debut author, Stephens has launched an interesting new world in the fantasy genre space. I look forward to seeing what Stephens comes up with next.
Thank you to Harper Voyager Australia for providing a copy of Godblind in exchange for an honest review.