Imagine if you will your favorite surprises or shocking moments from book or film. We don’t learn who Soze really is until the film’s final scene. Vader drops a parenting line at the end of the second outing. And more than one person got hooked on A Game of Thrones when the person being set up as the series protagonist gets the ax.
It actually isn’t easy to pull of because for a surprise to be shocking there has to be some emotional involvement. Some build up is needed and the reader has to have a connection to the characters involved. Without this the ‘surprise’ will land with a thud. And if the entirety of the story is spun off of this particular plot twist…
Frankly I was mostly bored.
Godblind had one surprise in an otherwise completely predictable plot. It is obviously supposed to be the Ned Stark moment that turns everything upside down but it hits too early to have that effect. The readers had no chance to know the characters involved and their treachery only went against first impressions, not any sort of long set feel of their personalities. And it is on this dud that the rest of the plot continues.
This is a story about one land (The Mireces) planning an invasion of another (Riplor). They have some help; a few traitors on the inside and some very blood thirsty gods looking to break through back into reality. The ‘Red Gods’ were very cool, nothing else really stood out. A few armies move around, a lackluster battle or two, and this being the first book of a series, the Red Gods in question quite unsurprisingly break find their way out of exile to rain hell and set up the rest of the series.
The cast has some highlights but their interactions leave a lot to be desired. For example Crys is a grizzled soldier with a lot of promise who early on befriends a prince and is then unwillingly dragged into a traitorous plan. But the reasoning for this unconventional friendship is never made apparent. It seemed like a set up but the payoff never came; in the end it felt like nothing more than forcing two characters together only because they needed to be in the same place.
Worse some very lazy tricks are used to show various characters’ personalities. The aforementioned surprise went completely against the early impression given (as in told rather than shown) of one particular character. But more egregious came from a scene later in the book. I do not need a man’s evil nature to be shown in an inconsequential scene in which he threatens to rape both a mother and a daughter (and assumed to be carried out off page). Without this scene nothing changes, with it a bad character looks a little more evil at the expense of two women.
I will however give credit where it is due. Once Gilda and Lanta are in the same place, respective envoys to warring gods, there is genuine opposites attract chemistry going on. Their hatred and sadistic banter feels exactly right. More of these two would have helped things immensely, they were easily the highlight of the whole book.
I am not sure this is a bad book, but it is an entirely unmemorable one.
Copy for review provided by publisher.