Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Flames of Rebellion’ by Aaron S. Jones organised by Storytellers on Tour, this is the first book in The Broken Gods trilogy and is also an entrant in this years SPFBO 7. There is a chance to win a copy of this book for yourself (UK ONLY).
I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE).
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review, all views are my own.’*
A dying world. A broken mage. An oppressed people. The sparks of a rebellion. The world of Takaara is about to change but are the people ready for it?
A young, nomadic mage, Arden Leifhand, journeys across the harsh Borderlands searching for his place is the world. Taken in by a tribe of warriors, Arden discovers there may be more to him than the bullied outcast he had always thought he was.
Meanwhile, south of the Borderlands, Katerina Kane is thrust back into her old life of solving crime in Archania as she searches for the murderer of her lover. Archania has changed since she last worked a case and The Empire of Light is tightening its grip on the land. Through it all, rebellion stirs with the downtrodden citizens as the land teeters on the edge of war…
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting going into this book. It was the cover that initially caught my attention, as I’ve always been fascinated by plague doctors and it makes for a very striking book cover, and there was enough in the blurb to catch my attention. However, I don’t think the blurb truly does this book justice – because there is so much to the Flames of Rebellion that is barely or not even touched on in the blurb, and while it was a joy to discover and lose myself in that world, there is so much here that will appeal to people that might miss it based on the blurb.
There is a lot within this book, for all that it was a fairly short book and Jones does an excellent job of creating a breadth and depth to his world within that space, from different cultures – particularly the clashes between the Barbarians (and I got dark D&D vibes right here) and the Borderlanders, as well as the different faiths within the city, and just the little details – travellers, mentions of far off places and conflicts, it all created a rich tapestry that brought the world vividly to life. It is a fractured world, conflict spreading along cracks from the personal level, through the city, across countries, and in the background is the bigger fracturing – the world itself at risk. The one aspect of the worldbuilding that I do want to know more about is the magic, and how that plays into everything, as while mages are central to the tensions in this story, we are shown little of what they are capable of – although from the ending I have a feeling that will be changing in the second book.
The plot itself twists and turns, and I was caught by surprise – in a good way – many times. There was political intrigue, religious and cultural conflict, secrets and treachery. This is not a gentle world, and that is mirrored in every aspect of the world and the life of the wide-ranging cast of characters. What I liked though, was even those characters that you don’t trust from the beginning – and there were a couple, are compelling and you are drawn into their plotlines; while those that do catch you by surprise, are written in such a way that the betrayals and reveals have an even greater impact because you become invested with the characters.
The characters were well written, with very different perspectives and personalities, and such strong voices that it was impossible not to be invested in their stories regardless of what side they fell on. There was also so many shades of grey, this was not a story of black and white, but all the shades in between, and as we watched characters choosing what to do, what side to follow, what path to take, it felt real and each decision carried a weight. I loved Katerina from the moment we met her, there was a depth of experience to her character and her voice, coloured by loss and secrets, and hope. She was perhaps the most hopeful of the characters in some ways, because she saw and said the truth more often than not, and saw what could be even if it wasn’t within her reach, and I look forward to seeing what becomes of her in the future books. Sly was another character that I really liked – he made no bones about who and what he was, and what he enjoyed, and while he was rough and violent there was an appealing honesty to his character. Cypher was another that I enjoyed reading even as I hated him, he is the worst of humanity and takes delight in it, but it was interesting to see how he played the game throughout the book.
I devoured the Flames of Rebellion in a single afternoon because it had me hooked right from the beginning and I needed to find out what was going to happen next. The ending left me hungry for more, and luckily enough the second book in this series – Paths of Chaos was released just a few days ago, so I will be able to jump back into this world straight away. A fantastic read, with a world and characters that I was immediately invested in, and a story that swept me away and I would highly recommend this book.
About the Author:
Born in the area of Birmingham that helped inspire Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Aaron S. Jones grew up with a love of fantasy. Inspired by his father’s interest in Lord of the Rings, Jones caught the fantasy bug and read anything he could get his hands on. Moving to the Middle-East and beginning a teaching career, Jones experienced a different world away from the green of the UK and has been able to mix in his experiences around the world with the time he spends in other worlds to write his debut fantasy novel – FLAMES OF REBELLION.
For fans of JOE ABERCROMBIE, SAMANTHA SHANNON, and JOHN GWYNNE, FLAMES OF REBELLION is the first part of THE BROKEN GODS trilogy.
Prize: A signed hardcover of Flames of Rebellion by Aaron S. Jones – UK Only
Starts: May 19th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: May 26th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
You can enter here:a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.