THE AGE OF DARKNESS APPROACHES.
FIVE LIVES STAND IN ITS WAY.
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity – until they disappeared, one hundred years ago.
They left behind a secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As a dark new power rises, five souls are set on a collision course that will determine the fate of their world:
A prince exiled from his kingdom
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up
One of them – or all of them – could break the world. Will they be saviour or destroyer?
When authors like Tasha Suri and Sebastien de Castell praise this book, you know it will be good. I have yet to read Tasha Suri’s wonderful Empires of Sand Book. But praise from a master such as Sebastien De Castell whose books I love? It’s going to be really good.
Thank you to the wonderful people at Little Brown Book Group UK and Orbit for providing me an ARC of this wonderful book. When I saw this reveal for the first time, I knew I had to have this. I want more Ancient World fantasy inspired novel books. I want way more of this. The Ancient World was fascinating for one big reason: The Times of Ceasar, the expansion into Gaul, Nero’s rule as Emperor, Ramesses and the Sea People, Egypt at the heights of its new found empire, the Assyrians and the Babylonians establishing their legendary empires. And the mythologies of the Norse, the Egyptian, the Greek Gods that has been told throughout humanity. Even Gilgamesh and the cities of Ur and the Sumerians. All these tales come from a time that is now long gone. So when I saw this, I knew I had to review this. There needs to be WAY more fantasy in the Ancient World. I appeal to Little Brown Book Group and Orbit to publish way more fantasy inspired in the Ancient World and the Bronze Age.
This is a book that was made into a legendary saga of a story. I have become a bit weary of high political intrigues in fantasy, for some reason what shocks me the most, is that humans are the best at manipulating each other. Humanity is humanity’s worst enemies. We are our worst enemies. There is so much political intrigue that it pays off right at the end. How long will humanity keep manipulating each other for the sake of a throne that carries power? It boggles the mind.
All the characters in this book served a solid purpose. None of their character arcs felt wasted in any shape or form. Khepri and Hassan make a wonderful couple, and I loved how their relationship blossomed from Pallas Athos to the Kingdom of Herat. There is so much power-plays and prophecies that it does take a while to get into. But I say keep reading on because then it gets interesting. I liked the Hierophant, but I was not convinced of his arguments that much. I wanted to see why the Seven Prophets had disappered. Was the Hierophant behind that?
Lethia is a character that will shock you in the end. I felt a lot for Hector, poor lad. I hope he has a better life. Jude was one of those characters that doesn’t spark until the end. I’ll tell you why because he’s privy to the events of the world around him. He reacts more than he does take action. And sometimes while I know the demand is that your character should take action, it’s nice to see a character actually figuring out what his entire purpose is. I liked the concept of the Graced and the Witnesses, but I did not see much of the power structure in Pallas. I didn’t see much of that and I would have wanted to seen more.
I love the fact that there’s trains. Please let there be trains. They are my favorite thing in fantasy. The Pale Hand and her sister have a tale that is best explored by you, the reader. I liked the world-building but I wished there was more references to actual Egyptian clothing and Greek armour etc. I felt we were in a sort of Medieval World with references to Paladins and Order. That’s my quirk, a small minor one. I want to see if there’s Gods in this universe. And Anton, he’s a character that grows with you in this book.
And if the Hierophant is working with Illya (who is a sadistic creature that has become a monster) and Lethia, then surely there’s more power-struggles at play. I was shocked when Hassan had his army ready, that Lethia’s son betrayed him and then it showed that Lethia had been playing Hassan like a fool all along. It reminds me of the admiration that Catherine the I of Russia had towards Frederick the Great. Frederick may have been a great general and king of Prussia, but she learnt a lot of her skills from him That is why Lethia reminds me of this relationship with her and the Hierophant.
I do feel we need more chapters into Herat, giving us more details of this fantasy Egypt. I’d like to see more hoplites and traditional Greek armour, and other things to show us more of this ancient world inspired fantasy.
I felt this was a fantastic book. A solid 10/10 from my side.
This is a novel that will captivate you in its wonderful prose, take you on a breath-taking journey and make you question your morality. For are we not all imperfect?