I literally forced myself to put this novel down several times so that I could savor it longer. The Broken God is a fine vintage.
It's hard to review books you love this much. Granted, it wasn’t perfect, but so much of the book flew by in a whirlwind of page-turning delight that it’s hard to put my finger concisely on what is so enjoyable about a book like this. Part of the magic, if you will, is that anything can and will happen…shit gets wild in these books. Nothing is off the table. Characters have incredible agency, literally going toe-to-toe with gods, and yet Hanrahan manages to create these possibilities without making the characters overpowered Mary Sues. There is real peril and real connection. And the way that the plot unfolds is just flat out cool. There is so much magic, and so many moments where you just have to stand back and appreciate a spot of clever worldbuilding or a good sentence or an unexpected twist.
My favorite part about this book is Cari’s return to prominence. She’s unquestionably the protagonist of the series as a whole and although she stepped back in book 2 and it was still wonderful, I was glad to see her step to the fore again. We’re introduced to two new major characters with significant POV‘s in this book. Rasce is the chosen of the dragon, and the local head of the mob-like Gierdana. He was definitely an interesting character, erratic and deeply conflicted. I mostly enjoyed his storyline although there were times that it felt like his motivations were a little muddy and inconsistent. Gaston as a former member of the brotherhood, philosophically inclined to the egalitarian tenets of Spar’s father, but forced to live in a brutal reality of present day Guerdon. I also liked this character and rooted for him. although I feel like there were a few missed opportunities to make him feel a little more fleshed out and unique.
Make no mistake I absolutely loved this book. Any quibbles I have about missed opportunities take a backseat to the raw enjoyment this series gives me. Hanrahan has created a vibrant city, a vibrant world, and it comes to life on every page of the Black Iron legacy. Hanrahan is gifted with an imagination that excels even other fantasy authors. The Black Iron Legacy creates something special, it transports you. The Broken God continues to deepen this fantastic world, introducing us to its distant shores while circling it all back to the core characters whose fates we care about.
I think the quality of Hanrahan’s prose is often overlooked. The strength of his world building gets a lot of credit, and rightly so, but I think it tends to overshadow how well-written the books are. His descriptions are vivid and unique and the voices of his character shine through in every sentence.
The Broken God picks up where the Shadow Saint left off and keeps the story moving at a jaunty clip. I hope I have conveyed how much I enjoyed this book and how much I love this series as a whole. Hanrahan has created something special in his depiction of Guerdon’s struggle to survive the Godswar. Fans of strong worldbuilding should flock in droves to read this series. You will not be disappointed. It is fun, fast-paced, spectacularly imaginative, and peopled with vivid characters.