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.
The city has always been. The city must finally end.
When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born. Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.
Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld.
Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.
Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total Armageddon.
I honestly don’t know where to start. I don’t think my review will do justice to what a truly amazing book this was, but I am going to give it a dam good go.
This was unlike any prologue I have ever read. You are given a great snippet of the city in which the story takes place, however, it all seems to be told from the buildings point of view. I was instantly intrigued.
From that point on you are hurled head first into one of the most gripping tales I have ever read. A word of caution here. There is a lot going on, you may feel you lose your way in the early part of the book. Hold with it, you’ll soon find your way round the story and characters.
We meet Rat, Spar and Cari right at the beginning. An unlikely threesome, bonded it seems through Cari. Members of The Brotherhood, a band of thieves. They are thrown headfirst into the chaos that is about to hit the city of Guerdon. They are fabulous characters, with so many facets to their personalities. I was never quite sure which way the story would go because you couldn’t second guess their intentions.
They are by no means the only characters. You meet a rich array of the residents of Guerdon. Some are fleeting glances, others fundamental to the plot, but all brilliantly written. I have to say one of my favourite characters was Aleena, a human saint to the Keeper Gods. A woman after my own heart, she has a fiery temper, stands no nonsense and says f@#k a lot. Not at all what you would imagine a saint to be.
Add to this the Gods, Tallowmen, the priests, the Alchemists, the thief-taker, Gullheads, the ever so creepy worms; the list goes on. Hanrahan’s imagination is endless.
We can’t not mention the city itself here. It felt like a character, it positively seethes beneath the surface Built on such history and hiding secrets in ever corner. Safe from the Gods Wars threating other cities, it has become a place of refuge for many.
Most of the action takes place in Guerdon itself. Built over centuries, it’s dirty and gritty. Full of narrow streets, secret tunnels and dead ends. Hanrahan has written in such a way that you get to become part of the city. Fully invested and fully immersed. Although we rarely leave the city, we learn about other places, mostly affected by the Gods War. Literally wars between God’s. Make no mistake this a richly draw world.
The writing in this book is incredible, it’s hard to believe this a debut novel. Hanrahan is already a master of the genre. The way he writes pulled me in, some passages were so well written I actually felt repulsed at what was going on. Every sense is used to build the picture, I felt like I was going through everything with them. This is a story of resilience, courage and bravery against a seemingly impossible foe. It’s fast paced and made my heart pound with adrenaline.
I’m not one for giving ratings, but this is easily a five star read. Honestly this book is stunning. I would go so far as to say it is one of the best books I have ever read. Every fantasy fan needs to put this on their TBR pile right now. You can thank me later.