I love overpowered characters. It’s a preference Booknest’s founder Petros and I both share. And let me tell you, Domaren the Godknight is…just that…overpowered. I know, I know with a super chill name like God knight you would think the guy would be a real pushover…but no. He is a powerhouse. He and his other Godknights use their power, gifted to them by the Creators, to quell rebellions, squash tyrants, and to try to guide foolish mortals while following the Creators’ orders. Unfortunately, pretty early in the narrative, this connection between Godknight and Creator is severed.
So, what does a Godknight do without their God?
This book is jam packed with powerful magics, monsters, colorful characters, and epic battles. Despite the immense power wielded by the main character, there is a weighty feeling of responsibility which feels like a character in and of itself. While I didn’t find myself fearing for Domaren, I was always keenly aware of the mortality of those he protects. His concerns became my concerns, and if that isn’t a wonderful way to relate to Superman, I don’t know what is.
Jeramy Goble does an incredible job making his readers feel the Godknights’ responsibilities and the internal struggle of conscience versus calling. In the end, it doesn’t matter who your boss is, what matters is who you have sworn to protect.
In what I expected to be a book about paladins swinging big ass swords and fighting dragons, Eulogy for the Dawn turned out to be a book about paladins swinging big ass swords and fighting dragons and so much more. Eulogy for the Dawn is a story with as much heart as it has magic, swords, and battles. Fun, intelligent, and heartfelt. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
And that Felix Ortiz/Shawn T. King cover art is spectacular (big shock). It’s my favorite combination going right now. They’re the best.
This is another book I would love to have a physical copy of. I’m not certain I can afford a big old hardcover edition right now, but in the future I’m thinking I’ll grab one. You should do so too! At the very least, grab a digital copy and settle in. Eulogy for the Dawn is fast paced and compelling. My favorite from this competition so far, and my semi-finalist pick.
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THE COVEN QUEEN by Jeramy Goble is a Dark Fantasy story about a cursed land, a queen who must quickly acclimate to being a tyrant, and a terrible hereditary horror which is constantly in the back of the protagonist's mind. Long ago, a member of the royal family made a terrible pact with the godlike Voidguardian. Each of the monarchs of the nation of Acorlian must be sacrificed when they reach a certain age but they must first give birth or sire an heir so the line can continue to be sacrificed indefinitely.
Jularra is a woman who does not want to bend down and become nothing more than another nameless sacrifice for a land which is collapsing despite her family's endless sacrifices. Acorlian is suffering famine and with no coin to pay for the people to be fed, she makes a difficult decision to become a conquering warrior queen to make the potential last years of her life into something worthwhile.
I like the character of Jularra who reminds me of how I hoped Sansa's storyline on Game of Thrones should have gone (more akin to Daenerys than Jeyne Poole's). She's a woman who has a dark side and a terrible burning anger which provides her with motivation to change her circumstances. There's a few grotesque moments where she unleashes her full power to execute or torture those who have offended her.
There's a couple of moments which didn't work for me in the book where the books gets a little psycho-sexual. Jularra is a person who has issues with lust and desire due to her curse, so she lashes out in some truly grotesque ways. I didn't think this was necessary and it clashed against the book's overall tone. Still, you've got to admit cursing a man to become grossly deformed "there" to the point of death is a memorable scene.
The strongest part of the story is definitely he conflict with Jularra as the time ticks down until she is meant to present a sacrifice to the Voidwarden. Another generation who has no hope to be anything but a brood mare and a viceroy for the monster who looms over the kingdom. There's a lot of emotion in that and the author handles the conflict well. The resolution also nicely ties up the story and leaves it as an okay standalone.
Overall, I have to say this was an entertaining story which is carried by the strong personality of its protagonist. I would have enjoyed the book more if there was a more detailed supporting cast but they mostly exist in relationship to the lead.