The Delving (Overthrown - The Chronicles of Denoril #1) by Aaron Bunce - SPFBO 2020 Book Review

Write on: Sun, 04 Oct 2020 by  in SPFBO 2020 Read 4905

Thorben Paulson is an ordinary man who has put his past behind him to provide for his family and raise his children well. But when the tax collectors come and demand most of his family’s earnings and food, leaving his children to go hungry, he grows desperate enough to accept a job from his old friend. A job that requires him to once again ignore the Council’s order and delve into the underground crypts of the ancient dalan in search of priceless relics.

I’m always happy to see middle-aged main characters in fantasy as well as plots that are built around real-life difficulties, such as financial struggles. I loved Thorben’s family and was sad that we saw so little of them since he heads off to go delving relatively early in the story. But thankfully, there was focus on familial relationships elsewhere in the novel as well. In contrast, romantic relationships, aside from Thorben’s existing marriage, were refreshingly absent.

One of the main themes in The Delving is good people being forced to do bad things (both bad in terms of actively harming other people and in terms of simply breaking the law). This translated to complex motivations and relationships between most of the primary characters. The antagonists, however, were conspicuously lacking in nuance. They were big, gruff guys who reveled in violence and had little brain power between them, which I found rather stereotypical and uninteresting.

I think The Delving would classify as horror fantasy, and I have to say that it did succeed in being quite creepy at times. The supernatural elements such as ghosts, zombies, and strange blood vines were used in an imaginative way that gradually revealed some of the history of the dalan while at the same time leaving me constantly scared for Thorben’s wellbeing.

For me, The Delving was a book that got better as it went. The beginning was slow. Once we got into things, I became more invested but still wasn’t hooked until later on when more of the supernatural elements showed up. And the ending was perhaps my favorite part, even though it was a bit predictable.

The Delving is a perfect October read, so if it sounds like something that would interest you, now is a great time to pick it up!


Natasha's passion for reading was kindled by her parents and the local library that allowed her family to checkout 50 books at a time. She first fell in love with fantasy through Arthurian retellings whereas her love for science fiction began with Star Wars novels. Nowadays, she still spends her free time reading but also gaming, running a blog (natrosette), and obsessing over TV shows. Maybe if she spent as much time reading as she does looking for books to read, she'd actually make a dent in her TBR.