Acclaimed epic fantasy author John Gwynne returns with the first book in a new trilogy, perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, and David Gemmell. “A Time of Dread reminds me of why I became a fantasy enthusiast in the first place.”–Robin Hobb
A race of warrior angels, the Ben-Elim, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands, but their peace is brutally enforced.
In the south, hotheaded Riv is desperate to join the Ben-Elim’s peacekeeping force, until she unearths a deadly secret.
In the west, the giantess Sig investigates demon sightings and discovers signs of an uprising and black magic.
And in the snowbound north, Drem, a trapper, finds mutilated corpses in the forests. The work of a predator, or something far darker?
It’s a time of shifting loyalties and world-changing dangers. Difficult choices need to be made. Because in the shadows, demons are gathering, waiting for their time to rise…
“Sometimes the only answer is blood and steel”
Thank you to Hachette Audio for the listening copy of A Time of Dread in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book did not in any way effect my review. I ended up flipping back and forth between my physical copy and the listening copy and I really enjoyed reading this book in both formats. The narrator was excellent.
Another quick note before I get into my actual review. If you have not read The Faithful and the Fallen, I would highly suggest reading that before you start Of Blood and Bone. There are many spoilers in it for the previous series. I did my best to keep this review as spoiler free as possible concerning The Faithful and the Fallen, but there are still a few things that couldn’t help but be mentioned. So if you want 100% zero spoilers, you may want to skip the rest of this review.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous heading into this series. I loved the author’s previous series set in this world. I especially loved the characters in that series including Corban, Caewyn, Coralyn, Gar, Brina, and basically every other character in this series (I hope I spelled all those names right). Not only that, but the villains were incredible as well and easy to dislike and even hate. This new series, Of Blood and Bone, is set 100 years into the future with an almost completely new cast of characters. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect with and care for the characters in this story as much as I did in the previous series. I was wrong.
If there is one thing I now know about John Gwynne, it’s that he is a master of writing characters with whom the reader can connect. We follow four POV’s in A Time of Dread and I cared deeply about them all. Drem, a trapper and son of Olin, just wants to live a happy life with his father out in the wild but ends up getting sucked into events bigger than he ever imagined. Sig, a warrior Giant, strives to protect the land from the dread Kadoshim and their servants. Riv, a warrior in training for the White Wings. A hot tempered, young woman trying to find her place in the world. Bleda, a captive of the White Wings to keep his tribe from making war, strives to figure out right and wrong amidst the chaos of his world. All were well fleshed out, unique characters that I grew to love.
The Banished Lands have changed in the 100 years since the last series ended and not necessarily for the better. There is still much strife in this world and I really enjoyed that Gwynne didn’t go with the “happily ever after” ending after his previous series. Not everyone is happy with the way the previous war turned out, nor how the new “rulers” have done things and it shows in the attitudes and beliefs of both main and side characters. The changes that happened in The Banished Lands gave the story a fresh feel even though it was set in the same world.
Another thing I know about John Gwynne is that he loves to write his books with climactic, cliffhanger endings and this one was no different. Throughout this book the pace slowly, but surely increases until the last 100-150 pages blow by and you are left wondering what just happened. I love this about Gwynne’s writing style and it made me want to pick up the sequel, A Time of Blood, right away. Which I did.
If I had to nitpick and say one thing that wasn’t perfect, it would be that the plot was at times a tad predictable. However, even though the plot was sometimes predictable, Gwynne makes up for that by having jaw dropping twists and reveals that end up changing the whole story and left me desperate to find out what happens next.
A Time of Dread is a great book and a worthy continuation to the masterpiece that is The Faithful and the Fallen series. A well balanced, heart felt, exciting first entry in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy that left me wanting more.
Susy's Cozy World says
I know I am to write a very bad thing, but I haven’t read anything by Gwynne yet (bad bookworm, I know!) but I plan to start, sooner or later! And I really hope it would be soon!
David S says
Haha there is only so much time! Definitely worth a read for all of his books though! They’re excellent
I really need to catch up on this series. I even have the second book already, just no time to do a proper re-read of this one first!
David S says
Haha I can’t believe you didnt need to continue into a Time of Blood with the ending that A Time of Dread had! I started A Time of Blood the next day and already finished it lol
I read it when it first came out and kind of lost track of what happened by the time I got the second book! Now that the newest one is out I think I’ll make time to catch up.
David S says
Oh that makes sense haha. Enjoy the ride!
I’m loving this series and looking forward to picking up No.3. Unfortunately I didn’t read the series that Gwynne wrote prior to this – and tbh it’s highly unlikely that I will go back now, but I’m still so pleased to have finally picked up his work. His characters are excellent and he really can write a battle scene.
David S says
Yes! His characters and battle scenes are incredible! And that’s sad that you didnt get to read the previous series beforehand. Maybe give it a while so you forget about Blood and Bone spoilers and then you can try it? Lol. Imo Faithful and the Fallen is an even better series!