Today I’m delighted to be reviewing ‘Gravitas’ by Christopher Russell as part of the blog tour organised by Storytellers on Tour. I really enjoyed Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth when I read it last year, so I’ve been excited for this one ever since it was announced, and what a deliciously dark book it turned out to be.
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 received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
History has weight behind it. The power to crush an empire . . . or birth it anew.
Nowhere is this more true than the Republic of Lestadt, an island nation founded upon the bones of tyrants and sustained by the might of Gravitas. This magic is the manifestation of the past, drawing upon the heritage of relics and heirlooms to bend the forces of nature. The more storied an artifact, the more power it commands.
Yet after 300 years of prosperity, Lestadt is crumbling. Revolutionaries gather in the docklands, seeking restitution for the crimes of the ruling oligarchs. A mysterious augury pronounces the nation’s doom.
Desperate to save themselves, Lestadt’s Court of Magisters turns to Lord Fixer Scraw for salvation. The deformed man may be ruthless in his methods, but he has never failed them. With a powerful Gravitas relic in his scarred hands, unlimited resources at his disposal, and a depraved plan taking root in his mind, can Scraw stop the revolution and save Lestadt?
Or will the cure be worse than the disease?
Or will the cure be worse than the disease?
That question in the summary had so much more meaning than I realised before reading this book. Now, a heads-up Gravitas is dark in so many many ways – the world is brutal, people are able and willing to do terrible things if they believe the ends justify the means (which of course depends on which side of the divide you fall on). Then there is the fact that POV is irrefutably a villain.
So, yes it is dark… and it’s also absolutely fantastic.
The most compelling aspect of this book is undoubtedly the POV character Scraw – or rather Fixer Scraw (the title alone is enough to give more than enough of an impression of who and what he is). What makes Scraw stand out, is that while he is most certainly the villain – and one that you want to hate – he is also one of the most fascinating characters to read. Russell knew what he was doing with the characterisation here, because he took the dark and the twisted, and brought forth a compelling character that you hate even as you find yourself drawn into his goals and voice – to the point where you are almost rooting for him as much as you are praying that he is brought crashing down. This is the kind of villain I love. You don’t have to agree with them, you can hate them and what they are attempting to do, but they are viewpoints and characters that are fascinating to read – and that brings a different weight to a story, especially when as well-written as they were here.
‘And so, even though you hate me, loathe me, despise me as much as the lowest bottom-dweller and most vile revolutionary, you need me, Scraw thought with a budding smirk, Oh, do you need me. Because I’m the only one who knows what’s coming— the only one who, at this late hour, can still keep your bloated necks attached to your swollen carcasses.’
Another aspect of this book that I really loved is the worldbuilding – which was also one of my favourite parts of Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth, and once again Gravitas reminded me of well Russell draws together his world. This is a short book, and while it is focused on a specific situation – and therefore the politics and society of that location, you get the impression of the scope, with enough scattered details to provide the breadth of this world – and I am honestly so excited to see Russell continue to build on this shared world. I also can’t talk about the worldbuilding and this book, without talking about the magic system, which uses Gravitas or magical relics to power the magic. One that is such a fascinating idea, and the sheer potential for it in this world that Russell is building up that is so rich in history is immense – and in this book that takes on a darker tone, as Scraw turns to more controversial means to build up his Gravitas. Once again, giving us that moment of horror, but also being able to almost see the method in his madness – there is purpose there, not just evil for the sake of evil and boy is it compelling.
I don’t want to say much of the story itself, because one it is a short read and two it would take away from the sheer level of impact that this book has. This is a snack-sized book that takes a bite out of your soul, and my only complaint is that I want more – and I have no words for how delighted I was by the author’s note and to know that this isn’t the end of what Russell has planned in this world. Not for the faint at heart, and a true plunge into the heart of tyranny, but Gravitas is a fantastic read.
Christopher Russell (native of Williamsburg, VA) is a 29-year-old mechanical and aerospace engineer (graduate of the University of Virginia) who has loved reading since the day he picked up a book and writing since he could scrawl his first letters. After voraciously consuming titles from every genre—ranging from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings—he decided to combine the expertise from his professional education, passions, and Christian faith into fantasy epics bridging the gap between magic and science. He currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his loyal dog, Vallen, named after the protagonist of his first work. For behind-the-scenes information on all of Christopher Russell’s works, visit christopherrussellauthor.com.
Prize: Signed copies of Gravitas AND Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth by Christopher Russell + Swag – International
Starts: November 3rd, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: November 10th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
You can enter HERE
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.