The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan @mytholder @orbitbooks

Posted January 13, 2020 by midnightreview in Reviews / 0 Comments


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?

The Shadow Saint continues the gripping tale of dark gods and dangerous magic that began with Hanrahan’s acclaimed debut The Gutter Prayer.

My Review

This is the second book in Gareth Hanrahan’s Black Iron Legacy. I read The Gutter Prayer, his first book, in January last year, and it is easily one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. You can read my review of it here. I obviously went into The Shadow Saint with high expectations and also a little trepidation. The curse of the second book, would it be as good? Would I love it just as much?

I don’t do spoilers but I will be referring to events that happened in The Gutter Prayer. Read no further if you haven’t read that yet – and if you haven’t you are missing a treat!

The Story

We start this story right in the heart of the Godswar, introduced to God’s we haven’t yet encountered. It’s a full-on start, no easing into this story. We meet Sanhada Baradhin a spy being sent to Gurdeon, along with Emlin, a saint for Fate Spider, to find out what happened to the God Bombs after The Crisis.

We’re entering Gurdeon 10 months after The Crisis. The new city that sprang up after Spa sacrificed himself is a place of safety for many escaping the Godwars. It is also over run with people taking full advantage of the chaos. As with his first book Gareth’s vivid descriptions really bring the place to life. The scents, sounds, dangers all come to life on the page.

The political game playing in this book is masterful. Everyone is after something, has an angle to play or is just out for their own ends. The theme running through the book is the impending election that has been called. It is time to reform Parliament. Everyone wants to win the New City, but something stalks it, something they are calling the Saint of Knives.

There are so many story threads running through this book that I cannot possibly go into them all. What I can say is they weave together beautifully and you will be enthralled by them all.

Stick with it

I did find this book quite difficult to get into. Unlike with The Gutter Prayer I didn’t gel instantly with the new characters. They were hard to get to know, I struggled with the different lines of the story and I was a little lost with where we were in the timeline. However, at around 30% (I read this on my kindle) everything started to click into place. Old characters made a reappearance and it all started making sense.

I would strongly urge you to keep going if you find the beginning a little bumpy. It will come together. I took over a week to read it and I felt I needed that time to fully digest everything that was going on.

Final Thoughts

Gareth has grown the world in this book and you see far more than just the city. There is a big focus on Haith and their society. They fascinated me and I loved reading about how it all worked and the land in which they live. Oh and there may be dragons! Yet again the world building is some of the best I have ever read.  

This is an outstanding follow up, yes it took me a while to settle in, but once I did I was in it, hook, line and sinker. The World building is exquisite and Gareth’s imagination is out of this world. He writes in such a way that you can feel the tension, it pulls you through the pages and actually made my heart pound. I cannot wait to see what he does next.

My thanks to the publishers for a copy, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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