Actual rating: 9/10 Stars
I couldn’t have been more surprised by how good this book was! Sure, it kind of bogged down around the middle, but not due to bad writing. It kind of had to. But I wasn’t even bored during the slow parts, just hungry for more of his well written action scenes!
This story follows 2 POV’s: Wynn and Kharios. Wynn is the son of a farmer who has hit hard times due to draught and has sold his son to the church in exchange for the Father’s Blessing. Wynn thinks he’s going to serve the church to become a priest, but he couldn’t be more wrong. He’s sent down to the mines to mine ore for the church. Once he’s down there he does find out that people do get chosen, by the priests, to take the Trials. If you pass the Trials you get the chance to become a novice to a priest and train at the Forge to possibly rise up in the ranks and eventually/hopefully become a priest. Kharios is currently a novice who is having a bit of trouble with the priest he was/is studying under, due to their rocky past. Saying any more than that is spoiler territory, so I’ll leave it at that.
The Faith and the whole premise of the book is what made me give this book such a high rating. His writing, too, but I think that goes without saying. The Faith revolves basically around blacksmithing. Their god is called the Forgefather and it’s a pretty badass religion, minus a certain priest. I really love blacksmithing, so this greatly appeals to me. From all I know about smithing, he was actually really accurate with the craft. I loved how he was able to take something as beautiful as smithing and use every aspect of the art to create a religion from it. One of the most original ideas I’ve come across in Fantasy.
The characters were pretty well written. I personally didn’t care much for them in the beginning, but I grew to really love them. I had a hard time connecting with the main character and that took away from my enjoyment a bit, in the beginning at least. But the smithing and mining held me over til I started to enjoy them.
I really liked the economy and world he set up. It definitely felt like what a little mining town would’ve felt like. He was so great at making his scenes really vivid without bogging you down with excess info. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves: spending tons of time explaining things that make no difference. I never came across any parts of the book like that. I would have to say that some people might feel like his blacksmithing scenes are like this, but I’m not the best judge of that. He spends a bit of time talking about setting the fires and some technical jargon, but I think he did a good job of not lingering on these parts of the scenes.
The prose was my cup of tea. Like I said above, he doesn’t use 2 pages to say things that could be said in a paragraph. His prose is crisp and to the point. That’s something I really appreciate. As I have trouble not rambling just in my reviews, so I can’t imagine how hard that must be in your book.
One thing I do want to mention is that it does deal with child molestation/rape. Most of it is hinted at, but there is one scene where it deals with it very closely. I know this is a very touchy subject for many, so I wanted to include this. It’s handled about as well as you can handle something like this, though.
With that said, this is such an original, fun, and refreshing read. You’ll get tons of great action scenes and some really dark scenes. Highly, highly recommend this one!