A Time of Courage by John Gwynne

(9.5/10)

Now THIS is the way you end a series. Readers and writers beware, a new standard has been set.

A Time of Courage closes the story arc first begun in Malice, a tale of good and evil recounted by the many loved and hated voices of the Banished Lands. It culminates in a battle so visually and emotionally impactful that I had to put the book down several times just to process what I’d seen and heard and felt. Throughout the epic final section my heart beat too hard and my hands were clenched round my kindle. I reread sections over and over, desperate to know if something really happened, if a character was truly, definitely gone. Cheering their departure if they deserved it, crying when they didn’t. This is John Gwynne, after all, and nobody is safe. So much happened that I’m awed by it even now. And it was impossible not to talk about it. My fellow readers (Petrik/TS/Eon) and I all had multiple Whatsapp discussions going, repeatedly checking in on who was where in the book, so we could share our experiences of the major moments we’d just read. Then finally when we’d all finished, our chat was wild with back and forth commentary, a catharsis that lasted two days. None of us could even consider reading anything else.

It seems strange now but while I enjoyed the first two books in Of Blood and Bone, I struggled to find an emotional connection to the characters. Save Drem, who was immediately engaging, and Byrne, who is easily one of the best written female characters in fantasy. It was partly that my heart was still with Corban, Storm, and the others from the Faithful and the Fallen, but there seemed a comparable lightness to this series that was exacerbated by the ever present reflection on what came before. All the references to the past seemed nothing more than reminders of what had been lost, a trauma suffered by both the Banished Lands and by the reader. There was none of that here. Whereas the previous books felt to me like they relied on the past for meaning, this built on those foundations and grew into something more, something that was both a melding of the two stories and something unquestionably its own. Those people I found it so hard to let go were here in spirit, their acts of heroism serving to inspire this new generation. But more than that, it became clear how much the quieter moments of friendship and loyalty and love linked both groups together, those bonds giving them power to be heroes, to fight for each other and for the future. There was no distance, not even the possibility of it. Right from the first page, this book, and all the characters within it, demand your time, your attention, your every feeling. And it is paid back to you tenfold.

That’s all I’m going to write for now, the rest is for you to discover. But if you find yourself alone on this journey, just remember that those of us who have come to the end are here if you need a virtual shoulder to cry on….

ARC via NetGalley

Review by

All reviews for John Gwynne's Of Blood and Bone series


A Time of Dread
9.0

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 [...]


A Time of Blood
8.4

Defy the darkness. Defend the light.At the battle of Starstone Lake, Drem and his friends witnessed horrors they’ll never forget. They saw magic warping men in [...]


A Time of Courage
9.5

Heroes shall rise and fall, the earth shall be stained red, and the fate of the Banished Lands will be decided once and for all in A Time of Courage, the final book in [...]

More John Gwynne reviews


Malice
7.6

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will [...]


Valour
9.0

The Banished Lands are torn by war as the army of High King Nathair sweeps the realm challenging all who oppose his holy crusade. Allied with the manipulative Queen Rhin of [...]


Ruin
9.6

The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures [...]


Wrath
9.8

Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu [...]

15+

A Time of Courage reader reviews

9.5/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

by NK Jemisin

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the [...]

Series: The Inheritance Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 2010

Score: 106

Our rating: 10.0 | 6 positive reader reviews

15+

The Hero of Ages

by Brandon Sanderson

Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed [...]

Series: Mistborn: Book 3
Published: 2008

Score: 109

Our rating: 10.0 | 9 positive reader reviews

12+

The Raven Tower

by Ann Leckie

For centuries the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by a god known as the Raven. But in their hour of need, the Raven speaks nothing to its people. It is into this unres [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2019

Score: 102

Our rating: 10.0 | 2 positive reader reviews

15+

Nevernight

by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight is the first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author, Jay Kristoff.In a land where three suns almost never [...]

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published: 2016

Score: 100

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Touch of Iron

by Timandra Whitecastle

Is the Living Blade real or just a legend? With it... Prince Bashan could win back his kingdom. Master Telen Diaz can free himself of the burden from his past. Owen Smith s [...]

Series: The Living Blade: Book 1
Published: 2016

Score: 100

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow

by George RR Martin

Blood runs truer than oaths. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud as winter approaches like an angry beast. In the northern wastes a horde of hungry, sav [...]

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 3
Published: 2000

Score: 104

Our rating: 9.9 | 5 positive reader reviews

15+

Legend

by David Gemmell

Druss, Captain of the Axe, whose fame was legendary, had chosen to wait for death in a mountain hideaway. But mighty Dros Delnoch, the last stronghold of the Drenai Empire, [...]

Series: The Drenai Novels: Book 1
Published: 1984

Score: 107

Our rating: 9.8 | 9 positive reader reviews

15+

The Priory of the Orange Tree

by Samantha Shannon

A world divided.A queendom without an heir.An ancient enemy awakens.The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen S [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2019

Score: 99

Our rating: 9.8 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

Half a King

by Joe Abercrombie

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it al [...]

Series: Shattered Sea #1
Published: 2014

Score: 102

Our rating: 9.7 | 5 positive reader reviews

12+