Top positive review
***“Sometimes the only answer is blood and steel”***
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 13, 2019
I haven’t read the Faithful and the Fallen series, but after reading this book I’m very much a fan of John Gwynne’s writing and I’ll have to go back and read the original series set in this world 120 years before the events in this book. That said I don’t feel like I had to have read that series to enjoy this one since I completely enjoyed it.
A Time of Dread is just that. It is the beginning of the ramp up to something dangerous, evil and enough to fill you with Dread. The story starts a little slowly since we are following four different points of view. Since I’m used to reading a lot of fantasy that is a normal thing for me in the first book of a new series. Don’t worry though by the end you should be filled with plenty of dread and so many things will have happened that you will forget the first part was slow.
With the four varied PoVs we get to see a lot of this world from different perspectives.
Bleda is a prince of a human clan and taken as ward by the Ben-Elim (winged angel people) to ensure that his tribe is peaceful. He has a lot of insight into how the Ben-Elim politics work and how they use fear and their strength to almost hold every human tribe in servitude to them.
I liked how his arc showed what everyday life was like in Dressel and how the new threat on the horizon was affecting the Ben-Elim, it showed their long-term goals also in terms of the human tribes and how they are trying to control all of them.
Riv is also in Drassil, the Land of the Faithful, with Bleda. But she is from a family of warriors that train to fight alongside the Ben-Elim. Still we find that there is something different about Riv and following her PoV we not only learn about the inner turmoil between some of the Ben-Elim but also what they have been plotting for years. She is hot headed and quick to temper but fiercely loyal to friends and family as well.
Drem was actually my favorite PoV. He is the son of a trapper and lives in a sleepy small villiage when they aren’t on the road. But it seems like there are more and more people in the area that just seem a little off and not quite right. I loved his journey and the slow tease of the odd happenings out in the middle of nowhere. His journey from farmboy trapper to hero in the making was a really good one. Plus he was present for all the horrible things we learn about the Fallen and I for one was shocked by those revelations.
Sig the final PoV in this tale is a Giantess and while her faction also fights against the Fallen they do not like the Ben-Elim and stay separated from them. It is her tale that seems like would have tied into the prior series more. She is so likeable and ride a bear who seems like the best of both worlds being both a mouth and fighter.
The title describes this book great. There are some harsh deaths, horrible revelations and big twists that made my first read of a John Gwynne book truly memorable. Now it seems I must read the first series The Faithful and the Fallen because I now feel like I’ve missed out on a great author and an even more fantastic fantasy tale.