I've read a great, epic, and dramatic book as my first book of the booktubathon last week!
Godblind is a grimdark fantasy novel, which means that it has a much darker and more brutal tone than regular fantasy novels. I'd say it was more for adults because of this and the sex scenes. Many of the characters are morally grey, and do very ruthless, savage, and inhumane things. This shocked me when I started reading but I still highly enjoyed it.
I requested this from NetGalley and they were gracious enough to send me a review e-copy so thanks to them!
I read Godblind for the cover choice of the booktubathon. I love the reds and black on the cover. I think it looks really dramatic, which is what the book is.
Godblind is a fantasy tale set in different parts of Gilgoras. It tells the story of war between the Mireces and the Wolves. The storyline of this book is set in the world of Gilgoras, where the people either worship the Dancer, the Goddesses of Light, and her Fox God son or the Red Gods who are the Dark Lady and Gosfath, the God of Blood. The Mireces people choose to worship the Red Gods, but they pay the price by being exiled to the cold and miserable places of Gilgoras, while the Wolves (the people that follow Dancer the Fox God) get to live in Rilpor.
The story is told from many points of view in third person, both male and female. This worked well because it would be more confusing reading the story in first person because "I" would have been used instead of the character's names. I wouldn't have known which "I" was which, I don't think. We follow some well off characters and some poor characters. The points of view don't give too much, I don't feel. They just give enough without bogging you down. I was unable to put this down. I basically finished it in just over a day. I'm reading it for a booktubathon challenge, so it's good that it was such a quick and gripping read.
Godblind has friendships, love stories, including a gay one as well as betrayals, war, dark rituals and just everything I look for in fantasy books, I read.
The Mireces people not only worship the Red Gods, but they make horrible sacrifices to them, also. There's a character who's taken against his will and has terrible things done to him. He's not a nice character but it's torture all the same that he suffers. He's killed as a result of the torture (see quote below). They have enough power at that point in the novel to take over the land, though and because of their Gods turn it red.
Rillirin is a slave at the beginning of GodBlind. She is violently hurt by Liris, the Warrior-King at the beginning of the novel.
"When I choose, understand? You belong to me"
shows just how domineering and brutal Liris is. He never shows any mercy, which ultimately gets him killed.
Dom, a civilian living in Rilpor is connected to the Gods. They can speak through him and make him feel horrible things. Because of this though, he can normally tell his people when something catastrophic will happen before it happens. He then rescues an escaped Mireces, a girl called Rillirin.
Dom and Rillirin get to know each other and develop a relationship of sorts. This was my favourite bit of the book, I think because I love romance. It could have been developed slightly more, I think but it certainly wasn't the main focus of Godblind, which I was fine with. Rillirin becomes something pivotal to the overall plot of the story.
There's the sick King who's mourning the loss of his wife as well as his sons trying to steal the crown from him. This has one of the most brutal scenes, I think where Rivil the second son gets someone else to kill his brother to get the crown.
"You would make a better King than him"
is something that Galtas, the King's advisor says about Janis, the heir, to Rivil. Galtas supports Rivil, throughout.
As I said the scene where Janis is killed is very brutally written.
"In the echoing quiet, the blessed one stretched Janis's scrotum and positioned a testicle over his anus. She placed a nail over it and pressed down hard, raiding the hammer high..."
this is an example of how feral and graphic some of the scenes are in Godblind.
There's also a commander trying to protect his King, while trying to discover the truth, a general, who only wants to do what's right, a new King who has an advisor who makes questionable choices, lucky and cursed characters, and some Gods who are evil and want to rule mankind. Godblind is a really complex story with lots of threads coming off of it so there's more going on that what I've written above but yeah, as I said at the top it's really epic and dramatic.
What did I like about Godblind?
I liked how women fought in the war as well as the men. We follow many perspectives as I've already said. About half of those are women.
I liked how the settings were described. I could always tell where I was within the story without the chapter header.
I liked how the characters were all individuals. They all had their own plot lines within the main plot.
I liked how lots of people were represented. We had rich, poor, good, evil, gay, straight, disabled, they were all there in some way. This showed great representation, which often isn't seen in canasta novels.
What didn't I like about Godblind?
I thought the scenes were very action heavy, which is fine in and of itself but I would have liked to have seen more emotional development from some of the characters.
I would have liked to have seen more about certain storylines throughout the book. It weighed heavily on the war aspects. It would have been nice if other elements were given enough time to shine.
I wish the politics had been slightly better explained. Also, the history of why things were like they were. Why there were two Gods in the first place.
Godblind is book one in a series, I believe so I'm really excited to read book 2 when it's released. I think that what being Godblind actually is will play into book 2.
I'm giving Godblind 4 stars because I got really engrossed in the story. I would have liked to have seen more explanation as to why things were the way that they were, as it's important to always have some sort of foundation in fantasy books and a few more emotional scenes to balance the action better. That's why this wasn't a 5 Star read for me.
My next review will be posted in a minute as I read 3 novels last week for the booktubathon.