Hammer of God by Karen Miller

Rating 8.5/10
The politics were rather long-winded but the battles were as large and grand as you could hope for.

Mijak is getting close to dominating not only the deserts but now the seas. Ethrea is just a short sail away but the wind refuses to cooperate and Hekat is getting frustrated. It is time for Mijak to bring their rule to the rest of the world but there is something wrong and only a sacrifice on a large scale can fix it.

Meanwhile Rhian struggles to get the trading nations to recognise the threat of Mijak and sort out the Dukes that refuse to recognise her authority. While she goes about trying to scrape together an army and an armada to face the Mijakis Zandakar has to choose where his allegiance lies. Does he side with his mother who brutally killed his wife and son or does he side with Rhian and Dexterity who took him in and brought him back from the brink of death?

Hammer of God is filled with much more political intruige. The vast majority of the book filled with will they won’t they type scenarios as Rhian struggles to convince Ethrea’s trading allies to set aside their squabbles and aid the tiny island against Mijak. While Miller touched on the differences between the nations in The Riven Kingdom, it is not until Hammer of God that she really goes into depth about these nations.

While the politics and details of these nations are extremely interesting the politics in the book in general are very drawn out and longwinded. After all the action in the previous two books, Hammer of God slows the pace down considerably and gets to the nitty gritty details of ruling a kingdom and organising a war. At first it was very interesting but by the time you get to page 650 and nothing hugely significant has happened you find yourself considering skipping to the end of the book.

Despite the long winded politics the battles in the book were as large and grand as I had hoped they would be. Miller doesn’t draw out the battle scenes needlessly with descriptions of flying limbs and burnt bodies, which is somewhat of a relief. It is, however, a bit difficult for me to imagine a battle on quite the scale that Miller has obviously pictured it.

It does not help that Rhian and her husband Alistair are constantly finding themselves at odds over how Rhian should rule and her relationship with Zandakar. While I found that most of the characters really began to blossom in Hammer of God (particularly the annoying chaplain Helfred) I found myself actually half hoping that Alistair would die in the final battle against the Mijak just so that Rhian would find some peace.

I would still consider the previous two books in the series better than Hammer of God simply because the politics in this book can get a bit long and repetitive. When things actually start happening in the book and the run up to the inevitable final show down is well underway the book does start to redeem itself. I did, however, find myself unexpectedly finding a lesson in this book that I already knew; politics solve nothing, especially in fantasy.

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