I received an ARC of this book from Orbit in exchange for an honest review. It has been no secret for those who have followed my reviews that John Gwynne is my all time favorite author. The Faithful and the Fallen is still my favorite Epic Fantasy series to this day and I was overjoyed to be able to read an early copy for The Hunger of the Gods. I am pleased to say that this is a fast paced sequel with some wild twist, but ultimately I found myself not being as invested in the story as I would have wanted. This is an unpopular opinion I realize and I will get into my reasoning shortly but this is still a wonderful book and many of you will enjoy what it has to offer. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching upon events from book 1.
At the end of book 1, we experienced the release of the dragon god onto the world with the help for the followers. Orka is still on the hunt for her kidnapped child Breca and she will follow his trail to the ends of the earth to find him. Now in the company of the Bloodsworn once again, all the soldiers marvel as her legend continues to grow. Varg, now in the company of Orka, must quickly muster his strength as his quest to find the killer of his sister is still at hand. His journey will take him to the farthest reaches of the world if he can survive the trip. Elvar witnessed the dragons release first hand and is at a loss for words. Now the newly elected captain takes her soldiers into the dragons prison to find hidden treasures but they are not what anyone is expecting. Blood will be spilled and the only way to stop this unstoppable force is to find an immovable object. Or in this case, the resurrection of another God.
I will leave the summary here as any further details will contain spoilers. John Gwynne’s writing continues to be top notch as the characters seem to jump off of the page. The Hunger of the Gods also contains some of the bloodiest battle scenes in all of his work and even some torture scenes as well. There is so much to love about this book but for me it feel short of expectations for the following reasons. Two new characters are introduced in this novel and I found myself constantly confused as to which character did what and with which group. With the fast moving pace of this book, I had to double back several times to read sections and the characters names I had a hard time keeping track of. Some scenes I had a hard time understanding what was added to the story with its inclusion and this felt to me like a classic middle book in a series. It pains me to say this but this is how I felt upon reading the last page.
The characters and battle scenes still kept me invested until the end and everything is no set up for the concluding volume. Not every book will click with every single reader the same and sadly this is one for me. I will happily read the concluding volume and I hope readers enjoy this more than I did and a reread could change my initial thoughts.