Book Review: The Gods of Men

The Gods of Men by [Kloss, Barbara]

4.5/5 stars

This was (almost) everything I wanted it to be. A solid, rip-roaring epic fantasy, with all the beloved elements of the genre. Usually when I pick up such a story, I rate it on four (albeit completely arbitrary and unique to myself) elements: magic, monsters, (wo)+men, and mayhem. All four of these things were *very* nearly there, and made my fantasy-loving heart oh so happy.

First, magic (and the only category with a docked half-point). The magic system was solid, but didn’t completely do it for me. I don’t mind unclarity (is that a word? If not, I declare it so) with magic. In fact, I prefer a little mystery to accompany the system, but this had a little TOO much fogginess with how it worked. I’m assuming it will become more concrete with the next installment of the series. But I would have preferred a little more clear lines with what it is and how it works. I feel like with certain POV’s, it could have been fleshed out more, particularly Rasmin’s. But generally, I enjoyed the unique element of music being a part of it, and the Shah was certainly an interesting concept. It will be cool to see how it (hopefully) becomes more defined in book 2.

Second, monsters. I love some good scary beasts adding unpredictability to a narrative. This book had it in spades. The shades were super scary and unique, and the chakran was downright terrifying. They kicked the intensity up a notch, and raised the stakes at times, so it had this element that I really enjoy and typically judge an epic fantasy by.

Third, (wo)+men, which is just a dumb way of talking about the characters while having everything start with an “m”. I thoroughly enjoyed ALL the characters, which is unusual for me. Usually there are one or two that I have complaints about, be it their character arc or motivations. But every single actor in this story was well-written, had believable motivations, and flowed well with what the author seemed to be trying to accomplish. Even the Maker, the god in this story, wasn’t typical. I love how the characters each interacted with him differently, had various ways they believed or didn’t believe, and how that affected each of their stories. Sable was a compelling main character, and the Wolf, while somewhat typical (at least, IMO) had elements to him that made him a bit different, too. I really loved the “is he a good guy or bad guy?” question throughout the whole book, and how it made him unique. There were snippets here and there throughout the book of fun, believable relationships. Wolf/Braddok and their friendship, the complicated Wolf/Sable thing going on, and even the sibling relationships the author delved into were awesome. My only complaint (very, very minor) was what happened with Astrid’s character arc. It was heartbreaking, in a way, but also made me both angry and unsatisfied. However, I think this is probably what the author was going for, and it in no way detracts from the story.

Lastly, mayhem. This book delivers on complicated plots, battles, fight scenes, and general madness that makes epic fantasy so fun and engaging to read. The author has a knack for pacing that is pretty unusual with epic fantasy, too. Most authors (usually unique to epic fantasy writers) can’t quite strike a good balance between worldbuilding and pacing the plot forward, but the author has mastered this. There wasn’t ever a point where I was bored by the descriptions of the world, because it was so masterfully woven into the narrative. Yet there wasn’t ever a time I was confused, either, by parts of the world because there wasn’t an explanation of it. YOU GUYS. This is so hard to do. I write epic fantasy, and this is the hardest part of writing it, hands down. It seems like this author literally had no issue with mastering this, and it makes me jealous. It seemed so effortless, so immersive, and kept the pacing of the book flawless. Major kudos.

All in all, this ties with one of my favorite epic fantasy reads this year. I’m really looking forward to book 2, and following this author’s career.

Grab it on Amazon or add it on Goodreads

Rift in the Deep is FREE For Five Days

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In anticipation for the release of Rise of the Warlock King being published on June 23rd (pre-order it here), Rift in the Deep is FREE on Amazon for five days. Yes. This is not a cruel joke.

You’re welcome 🙂 And share the love… let your friends know!

-Janelle G.

 

Want a free book?

Yes? I thought so. If you have read Rift in the Deepyou might have been left with questions. And if you haven’t read it (why not!? Just kidding. Kind of) then you’re in luck. You don’t have to have read it to enjoy this FREE (yes, free) eBook novella.

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Introducing The Tale of Briton’s Fury. A free novella available now. Check out the blurb below, and dive into a Steward Saga story unlike any other.

A dangerous warlock. A beautiful stranger. Three Lands amidst the havoc of war. Can two accessors make the difference?

 Briton the Brown is a madman. Or so it would seem. Colin wants nothing more than to hide away at the top of the sphere and live in peace. But with Briton entering the Scrape Lands, the Warlock Council summons him to tell his story. A story that sends shafts of fear through his core just thinking about it. When he travels to Shroud, he encounters a young woman with strange power and sparkling eyes. But does her power control him? Are the feelings that arise really his own?

Tiberius leads the Brotherhood, tasked with recording history and protecting the Jin’tai’s way of life. But when the Warlock Council sought refuge, he couldn’t refuse. And now? Briton invades the peace talks, and he brings chaos with him. There is only one way to protect the Scrape Lands from becoming engulfed in the war that has wreaked havoc through the other Lands. But is the price worth it?

Step into a tale of fury and romance, of friendship and hate, of loss and sorrow. This is the tale that started it all…and that has far reaching effects into the history of the Stewards.

Short Story Tuesday: The Warlock Council

Below are the first 500 words from my book Rift in the Deep, available for e-book pre-order here. 

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Colin Redstone inched backwards over the smooth stone, the sound of his shuffling feet masked by the raucous shouts of the Warlock Council. How had it come to this? Yet he knew how, deep down inside. Briton the Brown made it clear as soon as he invaded the peace talks and demanded an audience with the Council.

Never had Colin seen such anger and animosity. Or fear. The Council shouted at the diminutive man in their midst. Briton’s flowing brown robes were the same hue as his skin and eyes. At first glance, nothing about him demanded attention. Colin knew who he was, but if he hadn’t, he would have thought he was a drake, wandering too far from his temple.

But he was no drake.

Hence the shouting and anger.

Colin stopped his slow escape from the Council chambers as one voice rose above them all, twisting his neck to observe the commotion.

“We demand you cease your perverted ways!” Spittle flew from High Councilor Radan’s mouth, specks glittering in the air. “You have embroiled all the Lands in your war, and have forced the warlocks into hiding, even from our own nations!”

“You cannot blame me for this.” In contrast to his small stature, Briton’s voice rang deep and commanding. Colin felt the impact, a burning desire to believe him burning in his chest. But no. Briton was a madman.

Colin paused and leaned in to hear what he had to say. The whole room stilled, silent. As if the other warlocks wanted to believe him, too. It wasn’t true, since Colin had many a discussion with the assembly about Briton, and the consensus was that he was a manipulator.

That must be part of Briton’s accessing power; the ability to turn men’s hearts to him. It was a dangerous, seductive thing. And probably part of the reason the Lands were now embroiled in war. Actually, not probably. Most certainly the reason.

“We most certainly can,” Councilmember Josiah said, his calm demeanor a direct contrast to Radan, who sat red-faced next to him. “This war must end, Briton. And you are the one who can end it.”

“Am I to blame that the common people are afraid of us?” Briton’s dark eyes swept the assembled warlocks, turning from the table where the Councilmembers sat to appraise the other warlocks present. The room was packed wall to wall, mostly standing room. Colin stood closest to the door. Wedged as he was, he had a good view of the men present, and their wide, inquiring eyes watching Briton the Brown’s every move.
No doubt, Briton would hold them in his grasp, only to wrench the rug out from under their feet in an instant. His silver tongue couldn’t talk its way out if this predicament. A shaft of fear, icy and cold, crept up Colin’s spine at the thought.
Briton had made his bed. Violence is never the answer. Surely he knew this.
All roads led to him. All Lands feared the warlocks because of him.

***

Want to know the rest of the story? You can, March 1st! And don’t forget to sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of Infraction by JE Purrazzi.

Recent Reads

Occasionally I like to post about recent books I’ve read and give my recommendations. It’s part of my effort to build up the indie author community, and make sure other writers are supported in their endeavors. If at all possible, check out these great titles.

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King. I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy tale full of love, friendship, and good vs. evil. The magic system is unique, and the main character is engaging. I’m looking forward to the second in the series due out in September.

The End of All Things by Jill Williamson.  The third part in her Kinsman Chronicles Series, it was a nice wrap-up to the anticipated breakdown that has been building throughout the first two parts. Reads like a miniseries.

Do you have any other recommendations for me? Post in the comments! Extra points if its in my favorite genre.

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What’s On My Reading List

One of my favorite things is supporting indie authors and their efforts.  And as everyone knows, if you want to be a good writer, you have to read, read, read.  Here’s a run-down of what is on my list.

Jill Williamson’s epic Kinsman Chronicles Series.  So far, I’m really enjoying it.  Will review when I’m through with all six.

The traditionally published Tim Keller’s “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.”  Of course, nobody can say it quite like this modern-day CS Lewis.  I started this awhile ago (read: months ago) and as it sits on my nightstand, I savor it, like a hot cup of coffee I’m afraid will end.

Hugh Howey’s Wool.  This needs no explanation.

James Maxwell’s “Hidden Relic”, the second part of his Evermen Saga.  So far so good…will also review when I’m through with the series.

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On the docket:

Looking forward to diving into some not so Indie titles: Ender’s Game, Pillar to the Sky, and perhaps a thriller, to branch out a bit.  Any suggestions?

One of the coolest things, in my humble opinion, about the indie author community is the ability to support each other as we all work hard at improving our craft.  I’m biased towards fantasy and sci-fi, since my own work in progress(s) are in the fantasy genre, but I’m pretty sure the same thing goes for ANY genres within this community.  What are some of your favorite things about it?  Comment below!