#Review: Godblind by Anna Stephens @AnnaSmithWrites @HarperVoyagerUK

Description

There was a time when the Red Gods ruled the land. The Dark Lady and her horde dealt in death and blood and fire.

That time has long since passed and the neighbouring kingdoms of Mireces and Rilpor hold an uneasy truce. The only blood spilled is confined to the border where vigilantes known as Wolves protect their kin and territory at any cost.

But after the death of his wife, King Rastoth is plagued by grief, leaving the kingdom of Rilpor vulnerable.

Vulnerable to the blood-thirsty greed of the Warrior-King Liris and the Mireces army waiting in the mountains…

Review

The Red Gods used to rule, it’s been almost 1000 years since The Light Gods banished them and the world became more “civilised”. But The Red Gods are ready to return and seek vengeance and they have an army to help them do it.

This novel is told from different points of view, but there are an awful lot of them to get used to. A whole list and I’m not even going to attempt trying to introduce them all to you here, what I will do is introduce you to the one’s who I felt most drawn to, or who I felt played significant roles.

Corvus is King of Mireces in Eagle Height, the Mireces worship The Red Gods and they are determined to see the Gods brought back to their glory. Now I think I was supposed to not like Corvus, the evil slayer who is set on slaughtering as many as possible but I was immensely drawn to him. I could happily have just followed him for the entire book watching him kill people. I think that probably says way too much about me but anyway! In a book like this you have characters you hold close and pray nothing bad will happen to them and Corvus was a big one for me. I really wanted him to keep his head!

Rillirin is an escaped Mirecean slave but also Corvus’ younger sister (because that’s not complicated!) She’s ended up with the Wolves, who are teaching her to fight so she can fight the Mireces and her brother. I really loved that this girl who had been through essentially torture had so much gumption, she was also very caring and loving, reading her passages were always immensely moving.

Dom is the Wolf who found and rescued RIllirin and is now protecting her, he is also the Wolves Calestar meaning he gets visions of the future and is able to warn them of things that will happen. With the war coming this is pretty handy and a darn nightmare for the poor guy who is being haunted by horrific visions. Dom was your quintessential nice guy except he knows how to fight, what with it being a fantasy novel and all!

Crys is a captain in the army and on the surface is a fun time guy but there are some real hidden depths to this character which we get to scratch the surface of as the novel progresses. He develops a friendship with one of the princes which was unexpected and one of the things that triggers us learning so much more about him. I loved this character dearly he has so much strength and intensity but he’s also immensely vulnerable.

The writing throughout is passionate, and vibrant. This book despite having little standard world building instead focusing on the characterisation and dialogue, to drive the story doesn’t lack at all. What it does have in bucket loads though is gore and violence and I have to say there were moments where I had to hold my stomach contents in, one torture scene in particular I don’t think I will ever get out of my head.

I’ve read a lot of shit over the years about how women can’t write the hard stuff in Fantasy. Those asshats need to pick this book up because if there’s one thing Anna Stephens does it’s give every single one of them the finger big, loud and proud proving once and for all that women can write fantasy just as brutal and bloody and riveting as any man.

I hated how this book finished, I was not ready to finish reading and it was definitely one of those times where I kind of wish I’d waited until all three books were out so I could just binge them because waiting almost a year for the second book is going to be a torture all of it’s own!

A huge thanks to Anna Stephens and Harper Voyager for sending me the eARC via NetGalley so that I could read and honestly review this book.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleGodblind
Series: N/A
Author: Anna Stephens
Genre: Fantasy | Grimdark
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: 15 June 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other FormatsHardcover | Paperback | Audio
Pages: 497
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstone’s | Foyles | Book Depository | Godblind | Wordery

#Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence @Mark__Lawrence @HarperVoyagerUK

Description

It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge

A brilliant new series from the bestselling author of PRINCE OF THORNS.

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin”

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. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Review

Nona isn’t your typical hero, she isn’t an orphan but she doesn’t come from a happy home. After losing her Father her Mother abandon’s her and a nine-year old Nona ends up at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. This isn’t somewhere that normally takes in waifs and strays. There is a fee for girls to go here it’s somewhere the richer families of Abeth send their daughters, and the fee is not something Nona can pay, but the Abbess seems to have her own reasons for taking Nona in, reasons she isn’t sharing with anyone, especially not Nona.

Most novels which start when our hero is a child finish when our hero is an adult, we skip over them growing up and boom they do their heroic deed in their adult form. This is not the case here. Nona is a child hero. She is a child fighter, a child warrior. The oldest we see her is about 11/12 but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a childs book or even a young adult novel.

Nona, has moments where she shows her young age, and these moments are refreshing and made me giggle and remember that I was reading a story with someone who was young, who should be innocent, but wasn’t. Then she would jump straight back to being her grown self. Her life experiences have shaped her to being so much older than her years. She was tenacious and loyal but she had a terrible temper which risked getting her in trouble.

The convent and it’s training is harsh but not unfair. I never felt like the girls were being treated unfairly, that the Nuns were bullying them or that the girls were at risk. But they were toughening the girls up, making warriors out of them. The work they were doing had an end game and sometimes the girls may get hurt. In our world what they were doing would definitely seem cruel but they don’t live in our world and their world is cruel!

Nona isn’t afraid to stand up for what she deems is right, even if that means going up against powerful people. She is willing to fight for what she believes is right, and does to the detriment of her own safety. This leads to Nona’s final battle which is excruciating to read, I honestly didn’t see how she was going to make it through, even though I knew this was the beginning of a new series I couldn’t see a way out. Oh and I forgot to mention she has a Wolverine style power. Yeah! So, I ended up spending the last hundred pages or so with my breath held, toes clenched,  and grinding my teeth, there was just so much tension.  And no, I’m not going to tell you how it ended!

Red Sister is a stunning piece of literature. I was swept away by this novel, the intricately woven narrative which wastes no time starting at page one and keeping you entwined until the final word. I highly recommend this not only to fans of fantasy but to people looking for a novel that is going to dig deep into their soul and grasp their heart tight.

A huge thanks to Mark Lawrence and Harper Voyager for the eARC of this book in return for my honest review.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleRed Sister

SeriesBook of the Ancestor #1

Author: Mark Lawrence

Genre: Fantasy | Epic Fantasy | Grimdark
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: 6 April 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | Audio
Pages: 512
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