GODBLIND

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Godblind is a fantasy novel set in the world of Gilgoras. A place where the gods are very, very real and life is hard, bloody, and short. The action focuses on the two lands of Mireces and Rilpor, kingdoms that have fought a long and difficult conflict to shut the dark gods out from the minds of mortals. Alas, the tribes who worshipped and venerated the dark entities never really went away. They have spent much of their existence on the fringes of society, harrying civilisation and growing lean and tough by stealing and murdering the good people of the world.

The first in a trilogy, Godblind is easily described as a descent into darkness. The core tale is what happens when you underestimate the barbarians at the gate, both in a literal and metaphorical sense.
Author Anna Stephens uses multiple points of view characters to carefully build a world. The cast of characters is pretty large, and Stephens has been careful to give us a very specific view of the world. Often, we’ll see events through the eyes of one person, only to see the action continue with another character in the next chapter and then realise exactly how specific certain biases are. This layered approach is engaging and accessible; every person in this book is something we want to know more about.

Anna Stephens is easily one of the most exciting début fantasy authors of 2017. Sometimes you get a book that simply nails a particular genre to the wall and gets everything right. Godblind is a triumph of grimdark fantasy, getting the setting, tone and characterisation spot on. Make no mistake though, this is a bloody and violent story. It is a world with heroes, but no one is perfect and the challenges and horrors that face each character are tough and detailed. Stephens dips various pages in gore throughout; this is not a gentle ride into darkness but rather a full on roller-coaster plunge into screaming horror.

Be warned: there is violent conflict from the get-go and some pretty explicit scenes of assault; the book pretty much opens with an attempted rape that ends messily for the aggressor. These scenes tend to be short and sharp and are very well done but may be unpalatable for some tastes. If however, you’re a fan of the likes of Joe Abercrombie or George R. R. Martin, then you’ll be pleased to learn that Anna Stephens has joined this august pantheon of lovingly horrible and deliciously dark writers.

Godblind is a triumph of its genre and an addictive, page-turning read. It’s not a smooth book; the pacing is very fast and the tone is strong and loud with a powerful story. It’s also the first of a series and we keenly anticipate the sequel.

GODBLIND / AUTHOR: ANNA STEPHENS / PUBLISHER: HARPER VOYAGER / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 15TH



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