Paperback, 648 Pages
Epic/ Adult/ Fantasy
By: John Gwynne
‘All men feel fear,’ Corban said. ‘Gar told me that. It’s what you do about it – stand or run, fight or give up – that’s what makes you a coward or hero. Without fear there is no courage.’
Malice: ★★★★ 1/4
Valour: ★★★★ 3/4
Most of the books that end up disappointing me do so because they sound good, they have a cool synopsis but their execution is bad. This series is kind of the opposite. The book does not have the most original plot and it has some tropes but it is executed more than perfectly!
I forgot some of the details in Malice especially because of its wide cast of characters. I read a few reviews of Malice to refresh my memories and the glossary and map at the beginning of this book were life-saving! To be honest, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the story as much if we did not have those! When I started this, I just kept going back and forth until everything settled in my brain and then it was a wild ride of the best kind!
The prose is polished and professional! I remember liking the writing in Malice but I even liked this even more. I know many authors write multiple POVs and many authors do have good quotes but not many authors can have this and still make it emotional! Gwynne was one of those rare authors and that’s what made me love it this much.
“Memory is a double-edged sword, Uthas. It can keep you strong through dark times, but it can also cripple you, keep you locked in a moment that no longer exists.”
Regarding the characters, I don’t know if they improved that much or I read this in a good time but it was definitely a step up from book 1 and it was so complex at the beginning! I am telling you all the characters in this book make up for a not so easy read but it is worth putting the effort into! There were many POVs and they were shattered through the world but they merge into a fewer point views later which made it easier to course through! Corban definitely grew so much in this entry and so did everyone around him. We have so many shocking reveals regarding the characters too which was awesome! I like how it is a story of Good Vs Evil and yet it has some grey characters. Each side think they are the right side and their is a lot of manipulation going around which is a trope I like! The evil guys are really smart and I wish we had the POV of Queen Rhin and I have a feeling that we will in the next books.
Storywise, The story continues after the poignant ending of book 1 and we see all the sides moving to prove their dominance and a big war is still brewing! There is a prophecy at the beginning of the book and this is one of my absolute favorite tropes! I already think I have some parts figured out and I am looking forward to see how it all falls into place.
I think it goes without saying after all this praise that the world-building was great too! We get to discover the mythology of the world even more and we get to discover all the different areas shown in the map. I would have preferred to see more about the characters description because it would have made them easier to remember in my visual memory but that’s a really minor thing!
“Don’t punch at all if you can help it, he heard his father’s voice, clear as if he were standing next to him, but if you must, punch first and punch hardest.”
Summary: This was definitely a step up from book 1 and was excellent in all aspects! I have heard a ton of good things about the series and I can see them now! If you like Fantasy and more complex books then you have to read this one! The good news, it gets even better according to my friends!!!