As part of #WyrdandWonder and because I had read these books before this blog existed, I decided to revist and reread the Godblind Trilogy by Anna Stephens. This has been one of my favourite trilogies ever since I discovered it – devouring Godblind and Darksoul in a couple of days just a few weeks before book three – Bloodchild was unleashed. This series destroyed me in the best possible way, and I have reread it many times since then, and my first book-inspired tattoo that I had always thought would be LOTR related, was actually based on this series instead.
Today I am reviewing book one – Godblind, while reviews for book two and three up at tomorrow and Tuesday respectively, because each one deserves its own love and rambling.
There was a time when the Red Gods ruled the land. The Dark Lady and her horde dealt in death and blood and fire.
That time has long since passed and the neighbouring kingdoms of Mireces and Rilpor hold an uneasy truce. The only blood spilled is confined to the border where vigilantes known as Wolves protect their kin and territory at any cost.
But after the death of his wife, King Rastoth is plagued by grief, leaving the kingdom of Rilpor vulnerable.
Vulnerable to the blood-thirsty greed of the Warrior-King Liris and the Mireces army waiting in the mountains…
Grim, dark, bloody… and I love every moment of it.
Now, this is not the first time I’ve read Godblind, or even the second or third… and yet every time I read it, it feels like a punch in the gut and falling in love all over again. Now, this is certainly not a book for the faint of heart, and it shows that from the very beginning with some very bloody sacrifice, and it goes from there – blood and torture, violence and sacrifice, and yet it is far more than that. It is humanity in all forms and at all levels, pushed to the limits through choice, fate and circumstance.
This is a world where the Gods are real and shape many aspects of people’s lives – in very different ways. It’s a brilliant exploration of what people will do for faith, and how that can be twisted from a single person to an army, to an entire people. The worldbuilding is done through the characters, it’s through their eyes that we see faith and tradition, political intrigue, love and family, and fighting – it’s all shaped by the world, but it is through their actions and voices that we are shown the world. And this world feels so real because of it, especially as there are so many twists, layers between layers, that you can’t help but be entirely immersed in it.
There are a lot POV characters, and for me, each and every one of them regardless of what side of the conflict they were on stood out vividly. They are brilliantly drawn, each with their own voice and view on the world and proceedings around them. Not only does this offer us varied views on the world, on the situation and plans (which is fantastic in a story of twisted threads, betrayals and opposing views). There is also great diversity in the characters, both POV and secondary, and this book and series stands out for me because of its female characters. Who are wonderfully strong, flawed and human in an uneven world, where some are welcomed to fight, others have to fight to be able to, and others fight because there is no other choice. This is not to say that there is no balance, and in this book, both men and women are vulnerable, have courage, need rescuing and are the rescuers – people bound by blood, both familial or shed in war or in the name of faith.
In terms of the main POV characters – I have a very definite bias for Crys throughout the entire series, I loved him from the moment we met him, and my heart twisted for him so many times, the threads of his story gripping me. That said, I loved all the characters – even the Blessed One and her bloody hammer were fascinating and understandable, you might hate them and what they’re doing, but you can see why they are on that path. Gilda has a special place in my heart- I would like to possess even half her heart and compassion, and if I was to take Crys out of consideration I would have to say that Mace Koridam and Tara Carter were probably very high on my list of favourites. But I would struggle to choose, and that is due to the sheer strength of the characterisation and writing.
The multiple POVs and the relative shortness of the chapters mean that Godblind is fast-paced and it really lends to the urgency of the situation and makes it really difficult to put down once you’re caught up in the events. There are moments when it is so intense, that it is hard to breathe, and you are so involved in the characters – their fates, their relationships (especially when Gods and battles lie between them), that you care deeply about the outcomes.
Honestly, I could talk for days about this book – this series – and still not come close to summing it up, or how I feel about it. Godblind is something different, something that has gripped me and refuses to let go, so here is to the Trickster and lots more rereadings.
Godblind (Godblind #1) – Anna Stephens (Published by Harpervoyager, 2017) – ***** (5/5 Stars)
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book as I cannot talk about it enough.