Series: The Faithful and the Fallen #1
Author(s): John Gwynne
Release Date: December 3rd 2013
This is John Gwynne’s debut novel and today is the day that I finally conquer this mountain and proclaim victory upon this massive beast. The Faithful and the Fallen series has unfortunately recently concluded with the release of Wrath in 2016, but John Gwynne will soon return to war with a brand new series set in the same world but a hundred years later called A Time of Dread. Nothing like looking forward to all the good things in life, right? With Malice now under my belt, I now have a pretty good idea what the author’s style is like and what his universe introduces to readers.
Told through multiple point of views, Malice puts readers at the heart of a God-War in the making. Once rid with giants, a conflict between these beings with humans has surmounted into a terrible clash that split these two camps into two for countless years. Signs of all kind are now springing out of the blue and causing loads of worry to rulers of different kingdoms in regards of their course of action. Prophesied that these signs are clear indicators of horrid things to come, The High King Aquilus decides to summon his fellow kings to council and seek to reunite them to join forces against an impending evil. Doubt however lingers in the minds of some, while others seek to stop the rise of the Black Sun and stand strong with the Bright Star. But who exactly are these mysterious figures who hold the destiny of this universe?
There are four key characters that play a bigger role in the grand scheme of things, while others come and go throughout the narrative. Corban is the son of a blacksmith, and also a child, who seeks to become a warrior that will earn the respect he greatly desires. Evnis is a man whose wife suffers from a great illness and who’d go to great lengths in order to save her from a fate that seems inevitable. Veradis is a swordsman who proves his worth quickly and gains the trust and praise of his warband as he learns the ins and outs of his talents. Nathair is a High Prince who doesn’t believe in the methods of his father, but who has the wits to come up with great ideas.
Corban’s character gets a lot of attention throughout the book with his perspective and story-line occurring far more often than the others, but his development was wonderful to follow. His character learns to face adversity and to stand up to bullies in all shapes and forms, no matter their title. His introduction as a fear-struck yet determined character made him easy to be loved. With themes of friendship, loyalty and justice being interwoven with his character, his progress is masterfully handled. In fact, expect John Gwynne to get you to connect with a lot of his characters. But don’t think that it’ll all be a happy journey where your little heroes beat the big bad guy and exclaim in sheer joy. No, no, no. This can get quite dark, quite fast.
The book also ventures in some political conflicts, but John Gwynne doesn’t plunge too deep into those oceans. Everything in this book actually never truly explores the darkest corners or even grope any extremes that you’d wish it did. Malice is an enjoyable and well-constructed epic fantasy debut novel that sets the universe up with a mesmerizing lore filled with giants, wyrms, wolven, draigs and what not. It integrates a bunch of classic tropes of the genre, but never fails in delivering them. The author’s ability to build the rise of this war through multiple perspectives is what makes this such an entertaining debut. Plenty even see resemblances with Game of Thrones, and they aren’t wrong to think so. I am now truly excited to see where things will go in Valor now.
You can order your own copy now!
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆
Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about Malice?
Share your thoughts with me!
Till next time,