Book Review: A Time of Dread
Title: A Time of Dread
Series: Of Blood and Bone
Author: John Gwynne
A welcome return to the Banished Lands.
The Faithful and the Fallen, John Gwynne’s exemplary debut series, is easily one of my favourite epic fantasy series. So, to finally start my journey with the sequel series was an exciting day.
Whilst I don’t think the first book in the Of Blood and Bone series has had the same impact on me that Malice did for the original series, I still think it has been a great return to Gwynne’s world.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the world has developed over the course of 100+ years, for better and worse. The Desolation has become (somewhat) habitable. The Ben Elim are acting like the world police. Although the main protagonist of the first series is long dead his order still stands strong. And the dreaded Kadoshim, demons that stand against the Ben Elim, are working in secret to regain their former strength.
As is typical with Gwynne’s work our story is told to us via numerous POV characters. I personally felt as though the selection given to us in this book was weaker when compared to Malice. I was hoping for more from the horse lords of Arcona; the stoic, no-emotions archetype doesn’t really do it for me. I did, however, find myself engrossed by the themes of familial ties and love that Gwynne always does so well. His strongest characters were those who had strong family dynamics to play off.
The payoff was interesting, but not exemplary for me. One storyline felt very “Hot Fuzz” and another had a world-shattering revelation for which the POV character just shrugs and carries on like the past 24 hours haven’t happened.
Although it sounds like I’m being negative in this book I promise that I loved it. The Banished Lands are as wonderful as ever. Gwynne has done a phenomenal job of crafting his world and I would happily read any book that takes place there. The action is written wonderfully and draws out all the emotions you would be hoping for. I believe that this is a good start and I’m hoping that the characters and plot will only improve with time.
Final Rating: 7/10