Book Review: Godblind (The Godblind Trilogy) by Anna Stephens (published by Harper Voyager)
Godblind is a grimdark fantasy novel that has been on my ‘to be read’ list since it came out this time last year. I was first attracted by the gorgeous cover, then read lots of rave reviews and added Anna Stephens to my must-read female grimdark fantasy authors list. But a year after it released, I still hadn’t quite got around to reading Godblind.
Then I read two of the author’s short stories in two different places: Flesh and Coin in Art of War anthology and Just a Little Murder in issue 15 of Grimdark Magazine and was completely sold. Godblind got bumped up my TBR pile!
And it did not disappoint. Godblind is a fast-paced story told from multiple (and I mean multiple!) points of view. The people of the country of Rilpor worship two benevolent Gods, but that wasn’t always the case. Almost one thousand years before, the brutal, bloodthirsty Red Gods ruled the land. They were banished, along with their remaining followers, out of Rilpor and into the mountains. The peaceful Gods created a veil to keep the Red Gods in their world and prevent them from walking the lands of humans ever again.
And for nearly a century, that’s where they’ve stayed, bitter and brooding and communicating to their followers, the vicious Mireces people, in the mountains through ‘blessed ones’. But now a few events have sparked an opportunity for the Red Gods to reclaim Rilpor and their former glory. And they’re not ones to pass up an opportunity…
The story is told from a few characters on both sides. The Mireces blessed one, High Priestess Lanta, who instigates some gory torture in order to speak with her gods, as well as the new King of the Mireces people. We also hear from Rillirin, a Mireces slave who changes her fate, Crys, a Captain in the army of Rilpor as well as quite a few other characters. A stand-out for me was Dom. A vigilante who lives at the border between the countries of Mireces and Rilpor and fights off the Mireces when they come down from the mountain to raid the Rilpor villages along the edge.
Dom comes from a tight-knit family and community and is generally a decent guy. But he’s special – he receives visions of the future from the good Gods. It all starts to go a bit tits-up for poor Dom when the Red Gods find a way into his mind…
I enjoyed the action scenes and the dark humour. Each chapter is told from one character’s POV and they switch regularly as the chapters are short and succinct. I appreciated the lack of waffle in this book. We don’t need to follow a character on a long and tedious journey from point a to point b (as is often the case in epic fantasy novels), so time skips forward between chapters. I also liked seeing the story from the eyes of multiple characters.
My only small niggles were a couple of plot points that felt a bit unrealistic: the Lanta / Gilda thing and the overhearing of Galtas. And also a couple of weird jumps in time within a chapter e.g. at one point Gilda is watching attackers enter her village and in the next sentence the fighting is done and she’s hidden without any linking sentence like ‘she ran and hid’. It broke the flow for me as I had to go back and re-read to understand/make assumptions about what had happened.
Otherwise, this grimdark epic fantasy is action-packed, bloody and highly entertaining. I read it in a matter of days. Can’t wait for book two, Darksoul.
My rating: 5/5
Goodreads | Author website | Publisher website
This review can also be found on Fantasy Book Review.
>>My debut novel, a grimdark epic fantasy called MELOKAI, is out now! Available from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play Books, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Read more about my books here.<<
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