Godblind by Anna Stephens
“The Red Gods Are Rising”
*Contains minor spoilers*
I received a free advanced copy of Godblind in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Anna Stephens and Harper Voyager.
To begin with, I must admit that after reading the excellent Godblind I think I will be eternally afraid of betrayal and hammers.
The world of Gilgoras had an uneasy truce between King Rastoth of Rilporian and King Liris of the Mireces. The former were followers of the Gods of Light and the later under the direct command of the banished Red Gods. After recent events which caused the seemingly perpetual madness of one King and the murder of another, it seems like the Red Gods are now playing their hand, after years of plotting and they are hoping to send the world into bloodthirsty chaos. If so much blood and gore are delivered then the veil that has kept the Gods exiled from the physical world for so long will break and they can be made flesh once again.
Godblind is labelled as Grimdark for a reason. If Abercrombie presented lectures on how to write gritty, brutal and tortuous fantasy then I imagine Anna would have been his star pupil. To truly enjoy this book I think readers need to know what sort of journey they are getting themselves into beforehand. The themes and language presented and used are very adult. Towards the beginning of the narrative, there is an attempted rape, some good old fashioned cheating at cards, a savagely violent sacrifice and a regicide. This certainly sets the tone for the action which is to follow. A couple of early reviews have stated that they couldn’t handle the violence subjected to ladies in Godblind which I see could be upsetting to some people. At the same time, there are some very strong female characters here and the violence given is not restricted to just the ladies. There is one particular scene where it will be the men reading who are the ones cringing and perhaps even feeling sick. (I had to put the book down for ten minutes!) Returning to the statement regarding violence to women, the transformation of one character from being a recipient of the aforementioned to her position at the book’s finale made for an excellent character development arc. I believe that this book would not work if it was utterly and unconditionally horrific throughout and if the players involved were nothing but bloodthirsty cavemen-like individuals. The good news is that is not the case at all. There are some really nice moments here such as love found in unexpected places and there is a great amount of loyalty and honour amongst certain factions and troops. Stephens’ debut is typically a good vs. evil tale yet it is only about halfway through that the sides seem fully aligned and that leads to some amazing plot twists up until that point. Out of the main characters, my personal favourites were Captain Crys who is a brave and influential soldier and the warrior Dom who is a seer who receives often unwanted messages from the Gods.
The world of Gilgoras is not as grandiose as some recent epic fantasy creations but it works well presenting the tales the book is trying to tell. The ARC I received didn’t contain a map and this was fine so I would comment the final version probably doesn’t need one either because of how descriptive the book is. The world building is excellent from the short sharp chapters leading the narrative to be presented via approximately twelve points of view perspectives. As the world isn’t that large and the action normally only takes place in three or four locations at any time there will sometimes be a continuation or slight overlapping going from one character’s portrayal of an event to another character’s views of what comes next. The narrative will then switch elsewhere on the map to pursue what is happening in other areas.
This is the first book of a proposed trilogy. It concludes in pretty awesome fashion but it isn’t really self-contained and is the first portion of the bigger picture the same way The Lord of The Rings was. The intense and climactic ending definitely makes me want to pick up the next, currently untitled book as soon as I can. I noticed a lot of intriguing snippets throughout the book which I believe are seeds to more complex events and happenings and Stephens is working hard on the groundwork here to ensure that the following books become more complex, deeper and ultimately fulfilling. There is a sort of cliffhanger during a certain siege and I am really intrigued to see how those events are concluded. Godblind is a thrilling, unrelenting and a brilliantly presented debut that lets readers walk on the darkest plains visited in the fantasy genre. Highly recommended. It is not for the faint-hearted but definitely for fans of Abercrombie’s The First Law and for fans of ASOIAF’s structure, characterisation, and most brutal moments.
This Godblind book review was written by James Tivendale
Have you read Godblind?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Godblind reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Rigante Novels
Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land ...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
The Ascendants of Estorea
The Estorean Conquord has stood for 850 years. Its Advocate, Herine Del Aglios, knows that she presides over the greatest civilisation in history. But she wants more. And i...
The Drenai Novels
The Legend Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, hig...
The Aspect Emperor
R Scott Bakker
A score of years after he first walked into the histories of Men, Anasurimbor Kellhus rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years. The masse...
Chronicles of the Raven
The Raven have fought together for years, six men carving out a living as swords for hire in the war that has torn Balaia apart, loyal only to themselves and their code. Bu...
Prince of Nothing
R Scott Bakker
A score of centuries has passed since the First Apocalypse and the thoughts of men have turned, inevitably, to more worldly concerns... A veteran sorcerer and spy seeks new...
The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of...
Legends of the Raven
The Raven travel to a new continent in search of mages to help the ruined college of Julatsa rebuild . . . and find themselves in the midst of an ancient curse - a curse th...
The People of the Black Circle
Robert E Howard
Conan the Cimmerian: he rose from boy-thief and mercenary to become kingof Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nor demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as ...
A man wakes in the wilderness, amid scattered corpses and inquisitive crows. He has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. The only clues to his former existenc...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own. New alliances and old feuds will remake the natio...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...