A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
Book of the Month
I received an advanced copy of A Time of Dread in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank John Gwynne and Pan MacMillan for this opportunity.
The story places readers within the Land of the Faithful approximately 120 years after the conclusion of the novel Wrath, which was an epic, brutal, and fulfilling climax to one of my favourite ever fantasy series. The angel-like Ben-Elim rule the land now from their base at the giant-erected fortress of Drassil. They've spent generations uniting the nations and tracking the remaining forces of the grotesque and scarily powerful Kadoshim, their Eternal enemy. The Kadoshim's leader, Asroth is frozen in metal within the Ben-Elim's stronghold but that doesn't mean his faithful aren't out there plotting, sacrificing innocents and boiling up some horrid actions that could equate to A Time of Dread.
In the first book of the Of Blood and Bone trilogy, we only follow four points of view perspectives so we get to know these characters very well. My favourites were the perspectives of Bleda, a warrior Prince who is superb at using a bow and arrow and Sig, a female giant that rides a huge yet loyal bear - she was also a minor character in Gwynne's previous saga. There are a great number of important personae, races, and animals throughout this tale that it might appear overwhelming to begin with but it's worth sticking with. The novel starts slowly as the characters, their allegiances and the history of the world are gently and cleverly massaged into the reader's mind. The world itself is also vast yet the action here predominantly takes place within a handful of fortresses, forests, and the bitter icy North which is known as the desolation. The story features the same areas and cities as the Faithful and the Fallen but time has changed the environment a degree. The history Gwynne has created is epic when describing events some readers will know from 120 years before, as are the revelations regarding important actions and battles that have happened since. This is cleverly done when elders explain the history to younger cast members. I have to admit that I went a bit teary-eyed with joy when occasionally some individuals discussed their relationships with the characters that I had followed for four books previously, and what had happened to them following the conclusion of Wrath. It shows John's unique skill as an author that him just mentioning Corban or Veradis had me so emotionally touched and gripped. I finished the Faithful and the Fallen a year ago so my exact memories weren't crystal clear. The way Gwynne introduces the characters, world, rivalries, and history is sublime, reminding me of the previous stories, however; I honestly believe this would be a great place to start too as the writing is deep, descriptive, and enchanting. This isn't just written for his current fans. You can lose yourself in this world even if this book is your first visit. 90% of the characters are new and likewise, I think previous readers will enjoy it 10% more with prior knowledge and past experiences yet that's not to say new readers won't be engrossed and blown away too. A few old characters are still walking this world. One of them returning made me 'fist-punch' the air.
It started off quite slow and steady. I enjoyed the beginning yet analysed this was targeted more at a YA audience. Boy, was I wrong! If anything this is Gwynne's darkest work to date. I should have known really looking at the awesomely designed cover. A Time of Dread contains amazing action scenes, shocking betrayals, intense battles, and a huge death count. The intensity rises right up until the awesome finale at an addictively gripping pace. Comparing back to the Faithful and the Fallen which has a clear alignment of the sides that were good and evil, those areas are greyer this time with political confrontations and even potential revolutions on the horizon between factions. The Ben-Elim were always heralded as the saviours of humankind. Now some people aren't so sure. There are many twists and shocking revelations throughout the narratives final half. I tend to be highly analytical when reading and I only predicted one of them. When that twist was revealed in the last chapter - the fact I had guessed what was to come didn't make it any less amazing.
I was so happy to venture back into Gwynne's world and mind. Gwynne is a master of his craft and one of the best fantasy writers around right now. With likeable characters, it hits so much harder should bad things happen to them but unfortunately, they do. This is a great place to start or an unmissable next step in Gwynne's majestic tale of Good vs Evil. A Time of Dread is epic, unpredictable and exhilarating with action galore and characters worth rooting for.
This A Time of Dread book review was written by James Tivendale
All reviews for: Of Blood and Bone
A Time of Dread
Of Blood and Bone #1
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
Of Blood and Bone #2
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...
Have you read A Time of Dread?
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.
A Time of Dread reader reviews
9/10 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
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear while the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power ...
Half a King
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...
The Farseer Trilogy
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets,...
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain, lifting its children up to the light. All creation nestles in its gigantic branches: all take shel...
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly tr...
The Ember Blade
A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man’s journey to find his destiny.Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He’s never questione...
In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall...
The Black God's War
Moses Siregar III
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wa...
Wall of Night
The violence of an age-old war casts a long shadow. It falls on a world where mercy is weakness and conflict is a way of life. Young Malian is being trained to rule. Her pe...
Great fantasy books published in 2017
The Fall of Arthur
The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the extraordinary story of the final days of England’s legendary hero, King Ar...
The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.In a land where three suns a...
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...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
A Conjuring of Light
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empi...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
The Witchwood Crown
New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ ground-breaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! • Volume One of The Last K...
‘An exciting new writer – sharp, compelling and original’ Mark LawrenceYears have passed since the Vagrant journeyed to the Shining City, Vesper in...
A modern Britain. An age-old cruelty. Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: