Title: The Shadow Saint.
Series: The Black Iron Legacy #2.
Writer(s): Gareth Hanrahan.
Release Date: January 7th, 2020.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously in The Black Iron Legacy series:
The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan.
In the hands of the right people, words can be a devastating tool of reality-altering experiences. Creating genuine characters with flawed personalities and compelling motives, setting the foundation to complex worlds with a rich history and magic system, introducing a mosaic of religions and events that bends the perception in incomprehensible ways, there’s simply no limit to the ways to immerse a reader with the words of a talented author casting a spell onto them. But what happens when it’s time to revisit the world that left you in awe as the author embarks on an adventure to expand the universe in unimaginable ways? Following the mind-boggling debut novel, The Gutter Prayer, author Gareth Hanrahan returns with an epic-scaled sequel set in a brand-new world filled with secrecy and danger.
What is The Shadow Saint about? Following the aftermath of the Gutter Miracle, also known as the Crisis to some, the city of Guerdon embraces a flagrant landscape transformation that opens up the world to unforeseeable threats. With rumours flying around that a weapon capable of killing gods is hidden within the New City, the Godswar has become a reality much closer to the hearts of many as each interested faction sends a spy to retrieve the weapon before it falls into the wrong hands. While the impending doom lurks through the broken walls of Guerdon, an election to establish a new order within the city raises new mysteries. The tension rising amongst all with armies being sent to protect the city has many wondering what their fate will be as they rush to retrieve the key to peace before it’s too late.
“Who would be fool enough to lie to the gods?”
— Gareth Hanrahan
One of the biggest changes brought to this sequel is in the cast and it was shocking and a bit disconcerting to realize that it didn’t follow the three protagonists from the previous book. This time around, the story focuses on the political operative Eladora Duttin, the guard captain Terevant Erevesic, and an unnamed spy. While it takes time to acclimate to their personalities and to face the fact that they were the new focus of the story, author Gareth Hanrahan does a stellar job in building them from the ground up and giving them the proper roles and motives to keep the story afloat. Although the original crew left a much more important impression on me than this one did, the story’s forte lied elsewhere in this sequel.
Reminiscent of what was achieved in The Gutter Prayer, author Gareth Hanrahan excels in breathing life into his world post-Crisis by constructing it like it was nobody’s business. This time around, his world is infused with a hefty amount of politics, religion, and espionage. Toning down on the mystical creatures and the presence of an intricate magic system—although the final act brings in a hailstorm of magical chaos that almost compensates for the heavy accent on diplomacy in the first act—he fixates on the multilevel scheming through the intricate structure of his world. With saints, ghouls, and gods at the center of the story, his story emphasizes on the threads that hold it all together on a much more cultural, historical, and political level. Almost in excess, the world becomes darkly hypnotic with its immersive qualities.
The Shadow Saint is a ghastly tale blending politics, religion, and espionage in a striking fashion as it explodes with complexity and history.
Thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy for review!