Bridge of Echoes (The Books of Gods and Kings #1) by Jared Loewe

I recieved a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review. A novel and author that came completely out of left field for me but delivered a grimdark epic! Can’t tell you how fortunate I was to find a volume like this I would have never thought to take a look at if not for Jared having reached out to me. We follow two main characters as two kingdoms are on a collision course of war due to conquest of the gods. Set in a what I consider a pseudo egyptian type world with the grimdark tension of a Malazan series and the center of the struggle being political turmoil. To say I was shaking at several of the scenes in this book is a testiment to the author and the work he put into this first entry. If you can stomach the darkness within, then let us begin the discussion.

Elekesh is an apprentice of the scriptorium in the city of Rushlai. A fat and short man will little to fall back on besides his smarts, Elekesh spends his time in the library organizing the scrolls for the royal library. When the king calls Elekesh to his palace, he is flabbergasted to learn that the status of Master of the Scriptorium now resides with him. With that title, Elekesh is give access to all corners of the palace including access to lords, library, and a slave of his own. Elekesh soon discovers the treachery he must learn to deal with including the dark secrets lurking in every corner.

Anamitmir is one of the many golden daughters of the god king of Atumin and from the very first page I knew she would be a charatcer to watch out for. Forced to sacifice her dear bird just for the sake of preventing her father from using it a leverage. When Anamitmir is called to the throne room with the other 16 golden daughters, it is soon discovered that this meeting is one of great glory and great pain. Military campaigns are to be taken in the North, South, East, and West with two leaders each. The other 8 are to be sacrificed to the gods to appease the desire for blood. Anamitmir is choosen to move south to conquer the land of Rushlai but failure to do so will mean everyone she has ever known, seen, or loved will be tortured, starved, beaten, and raped by demons. How would you deal will given this ultimatum?

I knew immediatly that I was in for an epic ride in this dark world. The world is just as big and vast as Malazan but with a two main POV story structure. Magic, gods, and demons are present in this world but its the sense of gloom and dread that drives the plot. Punch after grueling punch will be felt with each chapter while the political machinations begin to turn in the background. I wa incredibly shocked with how the story played out and let me be the first one to say that not everything appears as it may seem. Secrets are hiding in plain sight and you may not realize it until the end. Grimdark fantasy takes the most horrifying aspects of the human condition and implants it onto the pages. The author takes these grim aspects to the next level many times over.

This was an excellent start to this grimdark epic if you are in the mood for a slowburn and political story. Sometimes the story you are looking to read just so happens to fall into your lap with a friendly push. Bridge of Echoes so happens to be one of the and I’m looking forward to the sequel.


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