Showing posts with label gareth hanrahan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gareth hanrahan. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Sword Defiant by Gareth Hanrahan, Clytemnestra by Constanza Casati, & All the Dead Lie Down by Kyrie McCauley


 Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

This week's upcoming book spotlights are: 

The Sword Defiant by Gareth Hanrahan
Publication: May 2nd, 2023
Paperback. 608 pages.
Pre-order: Amazon |

From Goodreads:
"Set in a world of dark myth and dangerous prophecy, The Sword Defiant launches an epic tale of daring warriors, living weapons, and bloodthirsty vengeance.

The sword cares not who it cuts.

Many years ago, Sir Aelfric and his nine companions saved the world, seizing the Dark Lord's cursed weapons, along with his dread city of Necrad. That was the easy part.

Now, when Aelfric - keeper of the cursed sword Spellbreaker - learns of a new and terrifying threat, he seeks the nine heroes once again. But they are wandering adventurers no longer. Yesterday's eager heroes are today's weary leaders - and some have turned to the darkness, becoming monsters themselves.

If there's one thing Aelfric knows, it's slaying monsters. Even if they used to be his friends.

I was a big fan of Hanrahan's previous trilogy, The Black Iron Legacy, so I'm excited to see a new release from him!

Clytemnestra by Constanza Casati
Publication: May 2nd, 2023
Sourcebooks Landmark
Hardcover. 448 pages.
Pre-order: Amazon |

From Goodreads:
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best...

You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot.

But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice.

Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods' hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did.

If power isn't given to you, you have to take it for yourself.

A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece for fans of Jennifer Saint and Natalie Haynes, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.

I've always found Clytemnestra to be a particularly fascinating figure and I'm very curious to see Casati's take on her in this story.

All the Dead Lie Down by Kyrie McCauley
Publication: May 16th, 2023
Katherine Tegen Books
Hardcover. 384 pages.
Pre-order: Amazon |

From Goodreads:
The Sleeping House was very much awake . . .

Days after a tragedy leaves Marin Blythe alone in the world, she receives a surprising invitation from Alice Lovelace—an acclaimed horror writer and childhood friend of Marin’s mother. Alice offers her a nanny position at Lovelace House, the family’s coastal Maine estate.

Marin accepts and soon finds herself minding Alice’s peculiar girls. Thea buries her dolls one by one, hosting a series of funerals, while Wren does everything in her power to drive Marin away. Then Alice’s eldest daughter returns home unexpectedly. Evie Hallowell is every bit as strange as her younger sisters, and yet Marin is quickly drawn in by Evie’s compelling behavior and ethereal grace.

But as Marin settles in, she can’t escape the anxiety that follows her like a shadow. Dead birds appear in Marin’s room. The children’s pranks escalate. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, leaving mutilated animals in its wake. All is not well at Lovelace House, and Marin must unravel its secrets before they consume her.

Although this doesn't sound like the most original premise... it's one that I always enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Review: The Broken God (The Black Iron Legacy #3) by Gareth Hanrahan

The Broken God (The Black Iron Legacy #3) by Gareth Hanrahan
Publication Date: May 20th, 2021
Paperback. 578 pages.
About The Broken God:

"Enter a city of dragons and darkness. 

The Godswar has come to Guerdon, dividing the city between three occupying powers. While the fragile Armistice holds back the gods, other forces seek to extend their influence. The criminal dragons of the Ghierdana ally with the surviving thieves - including Spar Idgeson, once heir to the Brotherhood of Thieves, now transformed into the living stone of the New City. 

Meanwhile, far across the sea, Spar's friend Carillon Thay travels towards the legendary land of Khebesh, but she, too, becomes enmeshed in the schemes of the Ghierdana - and in her own past. Can she find what she wants when even the gods seek vengeance against her?"

I'm finally managing to catch up on some of this year's fantasy releases, and this latest installment in The Black Iron Legacy series has been one of the series I've been most excited to continue.

One of the best things about The Black Iron Legacy series, in my opinion, is how incredibly unique and distinctive it is. Each one of the books in this series so far has been pretty unpredictable for me. A lot of books tend to have either a plot where you can see a general sort of typical plot direction, with tropes, etc., or a plot that just feels entirely unpredictable where I genuinely am just along for the ride because I have no idea what's going to happen–and The Black Iron Legacy falls firmly in the latter. The Broken God has continued this trend and proved to be yet another incredible installment with some amazing world-building and characters, although I will admit that this has not been my favorite book in the series. 

Each book so far in the series has had different main POV characters, with some familiar faces thrown in as well. In The Broken God, we had a return of Cari (the infamous Carillon Thay) as a main POV character, which we haven't seen since the first book and was easily a highlight for me, as well as newer characters Artolo, Baston, and Rasce. We also get to see Spar, Eladora, and handful of other recognizable (and new) characters to meet. And although this may be a slightly unpopular opinion, I really enjoyed getting to check in on Eladora and see what she's up to, as I find her an intriguing character. 

Cari was, of course, a joy to read from again. I think my opinion matches pretty well with other readers when I say that Cari is a favorite character and I love getting chapters from her perspective. Her story is such an interesting one, and I also find her personality compelling as well. She's a bit of an erratic character with a rather large chaotic streak, but she also has a lot of determination and heart that I think is what makes so many of us readers like her character so much. The Broken God really gave us the opportunity to focus on Cari a bit more and learn more about her background and how she came to who and what she is today. And since we're talking about Cari, this feels like a good place to mention Spar as well, who I was really glad to see again in this book. I don't know exactly what it is about him, but Spar is also a character I love to see, and it was hard to see that him and Cari weren't together much in this book. 

Artolo, Baston, and Rasce are the newer POVs we followed as more main protagonists, and I had some mixed feelings about all of them. Artolo was a great general antagonist figure for Cari, but I have to say that, overall, I didn't find him as compelling as I might have expected him to be. His singular drive and focus–to get Cari–was both admirable and annoying, at times in how it influenced his every action and personality. Baston and Rasce were hard for me to connect with as well.  Rasce is a favored dragon rider of the Ghierdana, and the entire Ghierdana focus in this book was really interesting to learn more about. He was placed in Guerdon with politics in mind, but his begins to form a connection that I didn't exactly expect, and I found this entire development really interesting.  Baston is one of those characters that I found myself admiring for his strong dedication to his moral values and personal feelings. I found myself a bit more interested in Baston's personality and individual motivations than Rasce's, though in contrast I found Rasce's general storyline and plot events more compelling than Baston's.

The Broken God is a novel that is undeniable action-packed and never really has a dull moment. Even the times of political discussions or any other religious or philosophical or involved discussion feels fast-paced and exciting. This lends itself to a nicely paced novel that, in general, makes for a pretty quick read. There were a few spots in the plot that I felt dragged a bit, such as when characters seemed to be forced into some action scene or other that didn't feel entirely necessary to the plot. This book felt like a middle-of-a-series novel in that there was considerable plot movement and some incredibly important things happened, but it also felt like it was sort of working quickly to progress and set up the plot for the future books, while also trying to simply fill in more world-building and background. I liked all of these elements, but I have to be honest that I didn't end up enjoying it as much as the previous two books. Still, I have no doubt I'll continue to enjoy this series and still had a great time with this book!

That ending was also entirely unpredictable, and I can't wait to see where Hanrahan decides to take this story next. I'll be anxiously awaiting the opportunity to find out! Overall, it's 3.75 stars from me for The Broken God!

*I received a copy of The Broken God courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Amazon | IndieBound

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Review: The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan

The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)
The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan
Publication Date: January 9th, 2020
Paperback. 567 pages

About The Shadow Saint:

"Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan's acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy. 

Enter a city of spires and shadows . . . 

The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees. 

Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets - a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it. 

As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay?"

I didn't expect it, but I think I enjoyed The Shadow Saint even more than I enjoyed The Gutter Prayer. The Gutter Prayer ended with a bang and I honestly wasn't sure what to expect plot-wise from the sequel, but it ended up being far more interesting than I could have hoped for. Everything that made The Gutter Prayer stand out so much in the fantasy genre continued to be a strong element that made me fall back into this world and story.

The Shadow Saint picks up about six months after the The Crisis (aka The Gutter Miracle) that occurred at the culmination of the first book and that resulted in the creation of the New City that has sort of thrown things in chaos. There are also now rumors going around about a new weapon in the New City that could completely change the landscape in the Godswar and relations among various lands. I love when we get to explore post-big-event cities and environments in fantasy (and other books) and see what happens when people try to pick things up and put order back into place. There is a decent bit of politicking in this book that I personally really enjoyed and that added a sense of realism and exasperation that felt so relatable in any sort of crisis or big cultural/social shift.

If you read The Gutter Prayer, then you already know that Hanrahan's world-building is top notch and truly incredible. The way that he crafts this world and manages to make it feel so real and alive is the work of someone who truly knows how to write. This city is alive with people, buildings, things underneath the city, things within the city--there's just so much at play to explore.

In The Shadow Saint, we follow three new POVs, though one is a side character from the first book, so she's somewhat familiar already. I genuinely enjoyed all three of the new protagonists and their perspectives. The first of the POVs that we follow is the spy, aka X84, aka Alic, aka Sanhada Baradhin. As you can probably guess, the spy shifts his identities depending on what the situation necessitates, and he has quite a great skill in doing so and creating up new lives and backgrounds for each person. I didn't expect to enjoy the spy or his perspective as much as I did, but it was easily entertaining and I liked watching him navigate throughout the city of Guerdon and ingratiate himself in various place with different people. He infiltrated the city with his "son," Emlin, who I also found pretty compelling and who I would've loved to follow even more than we did.

The next character we follow is Eladora Duttin, a side character from The Gutter Prayer who I was so excited to get to follow in this book. I really enjoyed her in the first book and I felt this elaboration on her role and watching her gain confidence and become aware of her importance in the story. She's an incredibly intelligent woman who, although may be nervous about things, really isn't afraid to put herself out there when she feels confident about what she should be doing or what is best for the situation.

And the last main character we follow is Terevant, another new addition to the story who brings an entirely new perspective as a native of the city of Haith and who happens to be one of the heirs of the House of Erevesic. I really enjoyed exploring the culture of Haith and watching Terevant and his brother interact with the city of Guerdon and its inhabitants. I was also intrigued by the Vigilants, which is a role that those of Haith can take on after death.

Hanrahan has once again given us an unpredictable, fast-paced, and highly entertaining fantasy that I sincerely enjoyed and I honestly can't wait to see what comes next in this series. I really don't know where Hanrahan will take the next book or who the main characters be or what will happen after this book, but I do know that I am more than ready for the ride!

Overall, I've given The Shadow Saint 4.75 stars!

*I received a copy of The Shadow Saint courtesy of Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review: The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

The Gutter Prayer
The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan 
Orbit, 2019
Paperback. 560 pages.

About The Gutter Prayer:

"A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy. 

Enter a city of saints and thieves . . . 

The city of Guerdon stands eternal. A refuge from the war that rages beyond its borders. But in the ancient tunnels deep beneath its streets, a malevolent power has begun to stir. The fate of the city rests in the hands of three thieves. They alone stand against the coming darkness. As conspiracies unfold and secrets are revealed, their friendship will be tested to the limit. If they fail, all will be lost, and the streets of Guerdon will run with blood. 

The Gutter Prayer is an epic tale of sorcerers and thieves, treachery and revenge, from a remarkable new voice in fantasy'"

The Gutter Prayer is a remarkably inventive, unpredictable book that was as incredible as I anticipated. This is a book that has such depth and intricacies to its world-building that you truly never know just what to expect from it. On a basic level, there are familiar elements int his book that can be found in many fantasy books, such as a gritty city, intrigue everywhere, nonhuman characters, etc., but that's where the similarities seem to stop. There is so much more than I ever expected in regards to the types of nonhuman characters, the gods and magic systems, and the underground politics of this world. Despite these many positive elements, there were still a few things that bothered me and prevented me from giving it a full five stars and which I will mention later in the review.

Guerdon, the main city setting, is a very grimdark-inspired city that I can easily say I do not want to find myself lost in, ever. It's dark, dirty, and full of random, horrifying dangers and I was so impressed by Hanrahan's ability to create such a unique and wholly unparalleled world in a genre that already has so many different worlds out there. The Tallowmen in particular were fascinating and I would love to see some sort of illustration of what they would actually look like. There is also something called the Stone Plague that is rampant within the city that was such a unique sort of disease that I really enjoyed learning about. It's hard to talk about the magic system for me because there didn't really seem to be an overly defined one, but the magical components were extremely interesting and I loved learning about the types of gods in the book, although I would have enjoyed learning even more about them.

The main band of thieves in The Gutter Prayer consist of a young woman named Cari, a ghoul named Rat, and a Stone Man known as Spar. I loved how different each character was from one another and that they all had very different backgrounds and outlooks on life. It keeps the story interesting when the three main characters--and POVs in this case--have enough things that are different about their story to keep my attention. There are quite a few supporting characters as well to explore and I think Hanrahan did a good job of building up characters to make this world feel full of life.

The Gutter Prayer is a busy book. There is a lot going on all the time and a lot of different history, magical components, characters, plots, and other events going on simultaneously, which does make it a little difficult to keep up with things. I felt a little overwhelmed at times, and I found that the ending was a bit overstuffed with content. That being said and despite the abundance of constant information, Hanrahan did manage to rather eloquently and tightly bring together all of the different threads occurring in the story into a final conclusion that seemed to wrap everything up in a satisfying way.

The few other areas that I had issues were mainly with the characters and a some of the plot. The characters themselves seemed like interesting people and for the most part I enjoyed following them, however, there was something off about all of them. I felt like I was being held at a distance from all three of the main protagonists, and although we get a bit more in depth into the nature of those such as Spar and Cari, there was always some sort of wall between myself and the characters. Rat in particular was a character that had so many interesting elements (you know, being a ghoul and all) and I was enamored with, and yet we didn't gt to spend nearly as much in-depth time with him as I expected. Additionally, the book is pitched as being about a crew of three young thieves and yet we rarely ever saw them all in one place working together. In fact, Rat seemed rather emotionless and uncaring towards a lot, so if the group's bond hadn't been emphasized so much in the beginning I'm not sure how much I would believe it was there.

And lastly, in regards to plot, I thought it seemed slightly meandering in some places and that the ending, although I enjoyed it, was a bit confusing. I kept forgetting what the main plot goal was supposed to be while reading a lot of this book, which isn't necessarily something that should happen. As mentioned, this is a busy book with a lot going on and sometimes I felt that there was just a bit too much going on.

Overall, I've still (as of now) given The Gutter Prayer 4.25 stars! The imaginative elements and entertaining aspects kept me fully engaged and I look forward to see what Hanrahan does next.

*I received a copy of The Gutter Prayer courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the book.*