Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone #3) by John Gwynne

Rating: 8.5/10

Synopsis – Spoilers for the first two books

The Demon-King of the Otherworld is finally free. And armed with mighty new starstone weapons, Asroth prepares to lead his demonic war-host south. With the help of his dark bride Fritha, he plans to crush the warrior-angels and their allies.

In the shadows of Forn Forest, Riv and the surviving Ben-Elim hold a war council. After the catastrophic events at Drassil, they are desperate to unite those who would stand against Asroth and his army. So they fly west, to join the Order of the Bright Star. But Drem and the Order are besieged by a demon horde – and their fragile defence may soon shatter.

Across the Banished Lands armies are heading south, to settle ancient grudges and decide the fate of humanity. Drem, Riv and the Bright Star’s warriors will need every ounce of their courage if they are to join the final battle. But will their combined forces be enough to face down their greatest foe?

Review

Thank you so much to Orbit books for a physical arc of this book. Receiving this in no way affected my review.

“Sometimes the only answer is blood and steel.”

I have had a really hard time writing this review because of how much I adored John Gwynne’s previous series in this world, The Faithful and the Fallen. I ended up comparing the two quite a lot as I read and that is never good for writing a review. However, now that my brain has finally been able to process things after a few days of nonsensical emotions and thoughts, here is my unadultered and quite humble review of A Time of Courage.

It was really good.

Oh, you want more than that? Alright, well I want to start off with what I always do when it comes to John Gwynne’s writing, the characters. Gwynne is simply put, one of the best authors out there writing compelling characters and thorough character development. There is just not many out there that can make me care about each and every named character like John Gwynne does. The sense of family, found family, and bonds of friendship are real and profound throughout the Of Blood and Bone series, but especially in A Time of Courage. I will say that there was one friendship that felt a little forced and unnecessary, but other than that each and every relationship is beautiful with a natural feeling to it.

“That what we fight for is love and friendship. Not schemes and strategies, but people. Our kind, our friends. Our loved ones.”

Another thing that stands out in A Time of Courage is the battle scenes, especially the climactic one. John Gwynne knows how to write an epic ending and this book does not falter in that whatsoever. No character is safe and that heightens each and every battle’s intensity and stakes. I was afraid that one or more of our main characters was going to die at some point or other. I should have learned my lesson from the Faithful and the Fallen series about hoping that Gwynne would use just a little plot armor and spare my favorites. However, that’s not how this story works. It is immersive, visceral, and heart pounding.

That leads me to talk about the plot. I felt that both the first two entries, A Time of Dread and A Time of Blood, had a somewhat slow pace leading up to climactic endings. However, A Time of Courage has a fast pace throughout the narrative. We get right into the action and it doesn’t really ever let up.

All in all, A Time of Courage was a great ending to the Of Blood and Bone trilogy and my favorite of the series. If you like elements of classic fantasy, tied in with deep bonds of friendship and love, and quite a few epic battle scenes, this trilogy is for you. Fairwell to The Banished Lands, you will be missed…..until I inevitably decide it’s time for a re-read.

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