The war against the lands of Pawelon is now in its tenth year and King Vieri hopes that the kingdom's holy saviour, his son Caio will lead his army to a final victory.
Meanwhile Caio's sister Lucia is tortured with nightly visions from the Black God Lord Danato promising another 10 years of bloodshed.
What immediately strikes you about this novel is the clear and unique voice that projects from the pages which mixes gods walking the earth and spirit magic with a middle-eastern feeling that is as rich as it is intense.
The majority of the novel is set against the backdrop of this long and brutal war and one of the real highlights of the book are the way that both sides are given equal measure, this is no good versus evil battle but two very different people fighting for what they believe. I loved this sense of realism, of moral ambiguity that provides a much more likely stage to set this violent conflict. The characters are handled well enough but do occasionally feel a little two dimensional in places.
It's the descriptive, fast and lucid battles that really stand out while the distinct voice adds a real dynamic energy to these scenes. The magic systems used are also of note and I really liked how the differences between the two sides were handled.
The story switches between both sides of the conflict and this is carried out very well, at no point did I become lost or disorientated and there is a quite complex story that builds as the novel progresses. The prose is very well written with a degree of confidence and there are some really great ideas played out.
The novel is however quite brief and I managed to read it in one evening, although there is little space wasted on extended exposition or world building. I would have loved to have read a bit more about this rich world and I feel a bit more background would have given a greater weight to the story itself.
The Black Gods War is a concise, original and stylish novel that manages to feel very different, entertaining and rewarding.
Written on 23rd November 2011 by Ant.
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