The battle lines have been drawn and the army of the Kadoshim is growing in mass numbers. Our heroes need to scramble and regroup to come up with a plan of attack but hope is dwindling with every passing day. We return to the Banish Lands where chaos has erupted and alliances are ever changing when loyalty and pride should stand tall. John Gwynne puts forth his darkest and most grim book to date as the magic of blood and bone will take hold.
This will be a spoiler free review, but I will be touching upon events that have happened in A Time of Dread. Drem and his new friends are haunted by horrors they witnessed at the battle of Starstone Lake: the screams of men being warped into beasts and the sight of a demon rising from the dead. The Kadoshim have resorted to ancient blood magic to achieve their ultimate goal and at the helm of these deadly creatures is their high priest Fritha. We actually get to experience the enemies point of view with Fritha chapters and we learn about her desires, pain, and desire for vengeance against the Ben-Elim. Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill. The battle will converge at the ancient fortress of Drassil and the Bright Star Warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?
As we have come to expect will all of John Gwynne’s books, his work with characters is exceptional. You feel the dread, fear, pain, and desire for justice in every chapter. The Ben-Elim have been hiding the secrets of half-breed creatures by killing all whom have been born and threaten punishment of death to any who speak of it. When Riv learns of this betrayal and that she herself is a half-breed, Riv will stop at nothing to seek vengeance. Bleda learns of Riv’s heritage and is conflicted with his feels for her and his duty to his people when his people are brought to Drassil to help fend off the Kadoshim and his betrothal to Jin still lingering over his head.
A Time of Dread was John Gwynne showing us his ability to write dark/horror scenes and it is amplified more in this book. The goosebumps you will feel during your readthrough will make you wish you had turned all the lights on in the house. The battle scenes in a Time of Blood were, I believe John Gwynne’s best to date and the climatic scene at the ending will have you instantly picking up A Time of Courage. You will not be able to stop yourself from experiencing these characters and world one last time. I loved this book in everyway, but be warned going in that there will be pain, there will be hope, and there will be blood. There is a lot more where that came from!
Truth and Courage to the warband!