We have come to the finale of the Of Blood and Bone Trilogy by John Gwynne. Dread, ruin, and chaos has spread with an iron grip across the Banished Lands with no end in sight. Our heroes have been pushed to their limits with losses being large and painfully heartbreaking. Drem, Riv, and Bleda know that they must fight on and never give up in the face of overwhelming numbers and there will be one last stand with A Time of Courage. John Gwynne has written a finale that I equate to a war machine! Action, battles, sieges, and shocking character moments that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel. This is the last entry in the Banished Lands, at least for now, but John Gwynne has written a swan song for the ages. You will not want to miss this! This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching on events in the previous two novels.
The demon king Asroth has been freed from his iron prison. Now, alongside his dark bride Fritha, he plans to conquer the whole of the Banished Lands. Riv has also freed Meical from his iron prison and she must flee the besieged Drassil mist try to find a way to strike back against the demon hordes. Far in the west, Drem is with the Order of the Bright Star. Their fragile defenses are on the brink of shattering, but they know that it is better to fight and die than to live without hope. Bleda must make a risky journey to his home grasslands to unite his people against the Kadoshim. Little does he know, Jin is right on his tail and she is out for blood. The story lines will converge at the sight of the most epic, bloody, and tragic battle the Banished Lands have seen in millennia with the fate of the world set on the edge of a sword and the grip of an axe.
John Gwynne has delivered is most action packed novel to date and it delivers in every way you would expect. The characters are written exceptionally well but always with them is an immense sense of dread and pain. The sacrifices they have made and comrades who have fallen weigh heavily of their hearts, but they will not be deterred. In their darkest hour, they will show the enemy what it is like to feel true pain. Another great part of this finale was the inclusion of certain scenes pertaining to the history after the Faithful and the Fallen. We get several glimpses into how life was after the events of Wrath and I loved this nod to the Faithful and the Fallen series. John Gwynne knows what his fans want and boy does he deliver! It felt like the entire story was one large fight, but the last 250 pages or so is devoted to the final battle. I have not seen this done since reading a Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. To pull off a battle of this scale requires precession, focus, character tension, and amazing combat, which John Gwynne has proved to be a master of!
I’m rambling on a bit but A Time of Courage was a triumph! With two complete series under his belt John Gwynne’s works will always be next of my TBR forever more. I don’t know what else I can possible say for readers to pick up one of his books, but WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! Experience the joy, friendship, heartbreak, and bad-ass stories John Gwynne has in his beautiful mind. Join the warband as we work our way through the literary world. Our heads will forever be held high and our strength will never fade as we ride off into that sunset.
Truth and Courage! Until we meet again.