Godblind - Anna Stephens

This is one of those books where I'm glad there's the ability (on Booklikes, at least!) to give half-stars, as there were quite a few things I liked about Godblind but also some things that didn't quite work for me. Fortunately, I got my copy from the local library so I'm not left feeling like I spent my money on something that I probably won't read again and am also only reading more in this series if I can get them from the same source...


The basic premise of Godblind is that there's two lots of gods, one light and one dark, the latter and their followers having been driven out a while back and desperate to return and crush everyone. The book starts with an attempted rape, the subject of which turns the tables on her attacker and then flees into the snow, only to be rescued by a man who is tormented by visions from both sets of gods, but mostly the dark ones. Their followers are working both overtly and covertly, undermining the current rulers and plotting to replace them with those who will restore the 'right' way of doing things, shedding as much blood as necessary along the way.


I fell off the grimdark wagon a while back, though I had enjoyed some series that were part of its early incarnation - too much blood and mayhem for the sake of it, too much 'but people are nasty therefore we must go into gory details in our fiction' for my liking. For me, Godblind skirts the edge of going too far - there's one particular torture scene that left me wincing and if there had been more occurrences like that in this volume, I probably would have passed on the rest of the book and series. 


The other thing I didn't like about the book was that it felt quite choppy and I struggled to keep track at times of who was who. It's all written from various different people's points of view, and some of the segments (I can hardly call them chapters, at the lengths involved) are quite brief, which left the story feeling a little disjointed. I think this was partly why I didn't really 'click' with most of the characters as I felt jolted out of their experience just as I was getting to grips with them - this was particularly true for Rillirin, who is set up to be one of the main characters of the series. 


On the other hand, there's good work done in terms of thinking about and setting up the world-building - I was particularly engaged with the palace intrigues as people's true motivations are revealed and plots spark or fizzle out. Hopefully the characters who I cared about won't get killed off and whenever my local library gets the sequel (Darksoul) I may well pick it up for the princely sum of 47p, which is our current hold fee.