Reviewed By Steve Parkes
Bald Mage Rating 8.5/10
I would like to say a big thank you to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for giving me this wonderful opportunity of reviewing this book for free!
‘Sometimes the only answer is blood and steel’
‘Fuil agus cnámh, rud éigin nua a dhéanamh’
When I saw that I got accepted to review this book I was overjoyed and nervous at the same time. I know this author has a huge following and I have not read any of his books to date so I read this with a little added pressure knowing that people would be eagerly awaiting my opinion on the book, but I thought to myself ; maybe its a good thing that I haven’t read any of his works and that I would give an unbiased review.
The good news is I loved it, but not at first, the book grew on me as I read on.
The books structure revolves around four characters Drem, Riv, Bleda and Sig. At first I thought the problem with this style is that I would choose a favourite and early on I fell into that trap with Drem being my favourite character. However as the book went on I fell in love with the other three as well and the author links all their plot threads well.
One of the things I liked most was the history of the Banished lands, the author filled my head with a rich history that I presume was from the series before this book and I wanted to learn more and more.
This brings me to Ben-Elim, an interesting species of warrior like angels, that came from the otherworld to the Banished Lands over a hundred years ago following their enemy, the Kadoshim a demon like species. This idea was fantastic a simple good vs evil story and going back to the history again I learnt a lot about the battles between the races and their hatred for one another. A great battle was fought between Ben-Elim and Kadoshim unfortunately the peoples of the banished lands had to ally themselves with one or the other and races of men and giants took sides in a big battle!
Now after that history lesson much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim and they do some interesting things during this book to keep the peace and to extend their power over the people by giving them protection but not every one likes this. It was interesting for me to read about the different clans reluctantly giving up something in return for the Ben-Elim’s protection and if they didn’t accept their protection things got a little nasty. This got me thinking, are the Ben-Elim a good race of people?
Now I will go to the Demon like Race the Kadoshim some people might not like what I’m about to say but I was cheering them on mainly because I didn’t like Ben-Elim forcing peace on everyone and the Kadoshim are what you expect from an evil enemy; they do some truly awful things that made me smile a lot. Sorry, I’m a sucker for evil an race, they are always so entertaining compared to the good guys. This leads me to the reason why I haven’t given it a perfect score, I wanted to know more about them, it would have been interesting to have a character from their perspective during the book as well as the four characters the book revolves around. Maybe I’m nit picking?
I have to hold my hands up and say the last 20% of the book had me on the edge of my seat. I have not been gob smacked by anything since I read Steven Eriksson’s Memories of Ice. I never thought that would be beaten but this came very close and the action scenes are simply a joy to read and extremely well written. The plot has everything you would want from an epic fantasy and like any good writer they play with your emotions making you sympathise with each character and then bam!! I must admit I swore at one scene. But credit to the author where its due.
Overall I’m sure the fans will love this book and I can see why there is such a big following out there for his books. I have just bought his first four books before writing this review so I must have enjoyed it!
A Time Of Dread is released early next year I know I will be buying it!