The Mireces were exiled from Rilpor almost a thousand years ago, and their Gods were imprisoned beyond reach. Being savages, outnumbered and outclassed, they didn't dare fight except from the odd ambush here and there. But when a new Warlord takes command, and while the Rilporin King is unwell both in body and mind, the Mireces plot invasion with two targets in mind: destroy everything, and bring back the Red Gods.
A powerful Seer, an ex-slave, a General and a Captain are called to stop them. But are they enough, or is Rilporin doomed to be erased from human history?
The Blessed One hissed and drew all eyes back to her.
'Our gods are trapped on the borders of Gilgoras like us, but They weave Their holy work inside its bounds nonetheless. With the help of my high priest, Gull, who lies hidden in the very heart of Rilpor, They draw one to Them who can finally see Their desires fulfilled.'
She bared her teeth.
'Know this now, and rejoice in the knowing. The gods' plans are revealed to me, and soon enough to you. Begin your preparations and make them good. Come the spring, we do not raid. Come spring, we conquer. And by midsummer, we will have victory not only over Rilpor but over their so-called Gods of Light as well.'
Godblind is told by many points of view with short, sharp and to the point chapters. A lot of debuts (and especially first books in a series) suffer from a low tempo and a slow pace in an attempt to establish characters, world-building and make you feel familiar with them, before moving into the main story-line. The result of this is uninteresting and/or boring chapters that may force the reader to DNF. Fortunately, this wasn't the case with Godblind. Stephens is excellent at establishing and developing her characters, exploring and expanding her world, and telling a bad-ass story in the process.
If you can say one thing about Anna Stephens, it's that she's talented beyond doubt. But talent isn't always enough - it must be combined with hard work and a long-term vision; and that's exactly what she's done. From the smooth-as-silk prose to the exciting and steadily-rising tempo, from the exceptional main story-line to the intriguing smallest plot-arcs, from the masterfully-crafted characters to the fascinating world-building, Godblind might as well be the grimdark debut of the year.
In all of my reviews, I highlight both positives and negatives. Anna's debut is a great book, but it isn't perfect. Godblind has a problem in its first half, and here's where things are getting weird.... for the life of me, I can't pinpoint it. A lot of things crossed my mind: Perhaps the characters are one-dimensional. Perhaps the story-telling is slightly apathetic. Perhaps the pacing was uneven. But when I focused my attention on these elements, I didn't find them lacking. I can only presume that the said problem is insignificant and beyond notice so you won't be able to identify it while searching for it, but you can feel that there's something "wrong" while reading. In conclusion, I guess I'll have to settle with "slightly unrealistic due to multiple but minor factors", although I'm not entirely satisfied with the term. But, this is just a minor problem and didn't affect my rating or the pleasure of reading the book in the slightest.
All in all, Godblind is an excellent debut and the starting point of a promising author that won't take long to be a household name.