reviews
Gary

Gary

Gary is a small town Irishman with a love for all things historical and fantastical. He works as an English and History teacher at post-primary where he endeavours to instil and nurture a love for reading and writing in students. Tea is his weakness. Reading is his passion. His one goal in life is to buy a castle when he retires.

A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone #2) by John Gwynne - Book Review 09, Jun

Author: John Gwynne

Series: Of Blood and Bone 

Genre: Epic fantasy

Publisher: MacMillan, 2019

Pages: 476

Rating: 5 stars 

There will be blood…and lots of it. 

In A Time of Dread (AToD) we returned to an altogether different Banished Lands than the one we left at the end of The Faithful and the Fallen. A creeping sense of dread permeated every page, and we witnessed horrors enacted by both the demonic host of Kadoshim and the angelic order of the Ben Elim in their eternal war against each other. Caught right in the middle were our protagonists Drem, Sig, Riv and Bleda. By book’s end, things could not have been worse for these characters. Then John Gwynne gives us A Time of Blood (AToB). 

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne - Book Review 05, Jun

Title: A Time of Dread

Author: John Gwynne

Series: Of Blood and Bone 

Genre: Epic fantasy

Publisher: MacMillan, 2018

Pages: 458 

Rating: 5 stars 

 

The Banished Lands are darker and more dangerous than ever before. 

(Warning: contains some spoilers for The Faithful and the Fallen)

John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen (TFatF) is one of my all-time favourite fantasy series to date. Upon finishing Wrath, I chose to take a break before jumping into A Time of Dread, the first book in the sequel trilogy, Of Blood and Bone, (OBaB), because I wanted to savour it as much as possible. That did not last long. 

Over a century has passed since the Day of Wrath, when Corban and the forces of the faithful defeated Asroth and the forces of the fallen. Leaderless, the remaining Kadoshim scattered to the furthest corners of the land and the Ben Elim and Order of the Bright Star have been hunting them ever since. From the very first page it is obvious that this is a darker story than TFatF. A foreboding prologue sets the tone and a creeping sense of dread imbues every page. This is an altogether different world than the one we left behind at the end of Wrath. I love the approach Gwynne went for here. 

Hellmouth by Giles Kristian - Book Review 10, May

Title: Hellmouth

Author: Giles Kristian

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical fiction. Horror. Fantasy(?)

Publisher: Self-published 

First Published: 2021

Pages: 52

Rating: 5 stars 

 

In absentia lucis, tenebrae vincunt. In the absence of light, darkness prevails. 

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Giles Kristian’s writing. I have digested three of his books so far including his stellar Lancelot & Camelot duology and God of Vengeance, the first in his epic Viking series, The Rise of Sigurd, and have praised his excellent characterisation, lyrical prose and remarkable storytelling. His new novella, Hellmouth, not only boasts all three but is also permeated with a raw horror that genuinely terrified me as I listened to it in the middle of the night.