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Godblind Hardcover – July 11, 2017
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“Godblind is Anna Stephens’ debut, and it writes her name in blood on the roster of masters of grimdark alongside the likes of Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie . . . This is a grimdark fantasy that truly lives up to the name.”―B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“A brilliantly brutal debut from an exciting new voice in dark fantasy. Highly recommended!”―Michael R. Fletcher, author of Swarm and Steel and Beyond Redemption
"Intriguing, fast-paced, and grimly fiendish. . . . Godblind sweeps you up and doesn't let you go."―Edward Cox, author of The Relic Guild trilogy
"A fierce, bold, and epic novel, Stephens's debut will leave blood on your hands, dirt beneath your nails, and the stench of battle clinging to your sweaty flesh. For fans of dark fantasy, this one comes highly recommended!"―Ronald Malfi, author of The Night Parade
“Something new, something special. Something that will excite you and keep you coming back for more . . . takes everything you have come to know and like, and doesn’t just raise the bar, it takes a step to the side and puts up its own bar.”― Fantasy Book Critic
“Anna Stephens is easily one of the most exciting début fantasy authors of 2017. Sometimes you get a book that simply nails a particular genre to the wall and gets everything right. Godblind is a triumph of grimdark fantasy.”― Starburst Magazine, 10/10
“Thrilling, unrelenting and a brilliantly presented debut that lets readers walk on the darkest plains visited in the fantasy genre. Highly recommended.”― Fantasy Book Review
“A delicious journey… Has all the signs of being a sensational series.”― SFX 5/5 review
“Tailor made for my tastes in grimdark. It’s epic in scope, characters, and setting. . . . I hear the series will be a trilogy, and I shall wait for news of the sequel with interest.”― Bibliosanctum
“The grimdark debut of the year. . . . an excellent debut and the starting point of a promising author that won't take long to be a household name.”― Booknest.EU
“Dark fantasy at its very best . . . a book that once you are in it you cannot escape it until you are done, nor would you want to. Highly Highly Recommended.”― Liz Loves Books
“There aren’t enough words to convey how much I loved this book. This might be my favourite book of 2017, but it’s also shot right to one of my favourite books ever. . . . everything you could possibly want from a fantasy novel.”― The Bibliophile Chronicles
“Has the potential to capture the world's imagination, and satisfy its blood-lust, every bit as much as A Song of Fire and Ice… The Red Gods are rising and so is Anna Stephens. She has entered the canon of fantasy literature.”―Simon Fairbanks, author of The Sheriff
“This book was nothing short of amazing. . . . I absolutely devoured it. Godblind was utterly fantastic and completely engrossing to read.”― Paws & Paperbacks
“An incredible debut novel for fantasy writer Anna Stephens. . . an incredible read, from the characters, settings, the epic battle scenes to the fast-paced plot – it was all insanely amazing.”―The Book Tweeter, 5/5 Stars
“Wow, this was good! . . . . a mid-year front runner for my favourite book of the year. . . . there is a sequel planned which I know I absolutely have to read.― Worlds Without End
“Move over Abercrombie and Lawrence! You too, Fletcher. . . . Here at last we have a true GrimDark book, written by a female author that can not only stand up to the male competition, but also kick it in the balls! . . . Brilliant.”― The Queen of Blades, 9/10
“A true joy to read and Anna Stephens is truly a fantastic writer and one to watch. If you are looking for a new grimdark or even a new fantasy book to read then I would highly recommend that you read Godblind.”― Observant Raven
“Anna Stephens has this kind of writing that you’ll just forget what was on your mind because of what was happening on the chapter you are reading. . . . One hell of a ride. This book is a must read.”― The Royal Polar Bear Reads
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Attractive cover is attractive! Red and black? Count me in!
This is fantasy of the darker and grittier kind. People fight and die in puddles of gore; the Red Gods thrive on human pain and sacrifices (and their priests and believers are all too happy to oblige); and intrigue abounds in every corner of the world, making it difficult for the characters to know who are their allies, and who are their foes.
This is also the kind of novel about which I hold very divided opinions, because its selling points and its negative points are, for me, often sides of a same coin.
To be honest, I had some trouble to get into the story at first (not because of the sacrifice and rape in the first chapters—I guess it’s more related to the fact I don’t read a lot of fantasy these days, and while I am generally interested, I tend to have a harder time to get immersed in it). This may partly have been due to the short chapters, some as short as 2-3 pages, which creates a fast pace but makes it difficult to get invested in the characters, their predicaments and their stakes, all the more since the story follows several characters, and since the violence at times seemed a wee bit... here for the shock factor more than anything else? As a result, I didn’t feel very close to either the ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’, and that sense of ‘yeah, OK, that must’ve hurt, but I don’t really care’ unfortunately stayed with me.
(The short chapters were a positive thing in a way, though: I often read while walking or in public transportation, or during short breaks at work, and such chapters make it very easy for me too ‘break’ my reading and resume later.)
Another side of the book that is both positive and a hindrance is that it’s the first book in a series, and it looks like it’s going to be epic, with lots of battles and high stakes (a whole kingdom falling into war, people seeing their homes destroyed and families slaughtered, ambitious rulers, treachery and traitors in the heart of power, etc.). This said, it makes the story read more like an introduction, a prologue of sorts, before we get to the actual meat.
Yet another ‘same coin’ aspect: the intrigue. On the one hand, the plot twists were very easy to guess (who’s going to be a traitor, who’s going to double-cross who, etc.). On the other hand, for me, they were also of the ‘I know where this is going but I’m excited nonetheless’ kind.
I did like some characters enough (especially Crys, he’s the kind of easygoing trickster type I’m easily drawn to in novels) to feel invested at times. I’d wish for a little less sexism and homophobia, though (not on the author’s part, just in that specific world in general; it’s like it’s never accepted in most worlds, anyway *sighs*).
Conclusion: More an introduction to the actual plot, and with strengths that are weaknesses at the same time, but still interesting enough that I’d like to read book 2.
GODBLIND is an incredible debut novel for fantasy writer Anna Stephens. Stephens has completely and utterly blown me out of the water with her bloody (emphasis on bloody) and epic novel. Going into this, I had no assumptions - but it was an incredible read, from the characters, settings, the epic battle scenes to the fast-paced plot – it was all insanely amazing.
GODBLIND is written from the POV of multiple characters and whilst at first it is slightly overwhelming trying to remember everyone, you soon easily flick between the multiple characters. From memory, I have never read a novel with as many characters as this one, but I soon found myself absolutely falling in love with the majority of them (I am still swooning over Ash and Crys), and then loathing others *cough* I hate Galtas *cough*.
The character growth throughout the novel is easily my favourite thing about the book, watching one character go from the deep depths of slavery to freedom and taking back control of her life, to watching the immense sacrifice another has chosen to ensure his loved ones are safe: it was incredible and left me speechless. At times, I was fist pumping for the characters, others I was gasping in horror/shock or screaming “NO”.
Stephens has created characters who are so different from one another that I am absolutely in awe of her writing ability.
Stephens’ ability to create epic and bloody scenes is mesmerising. The battles throughout the novel were EPIC! They left me with very visual images of what was occurring, a true achievement!
At 485 the UK Paperback is a solid novel, but at no time did I find myself bored or wishing it would finish - I was entirely enthralled and putting down the novel was immensely difficult. I am very intrigued about the GODS; The Dancer, The Dark Lady and her brother, Gosfath. I am keen to see where Stephens will take the gods in book two, as well as the humanity’s blind faith in them.
Now, I must note; GODBLIND is not for the faint-hearted, not at all. It touches on rape, has slavery and vivid detailing of human sacrifice in the name of “Gods”, as well as a great many deal more horrible things humans are capable of, so please keep this in mind if you are triggered by the above.
The ending left me with my jaw hanging; I've been left on a huge cliff-hanger and I am sitting here reeling at the events. (‘No’ might have been yelled a few times.) I am anticipating the release of book two - I NEED TO KNOW IF THE CHARACTERS I LOVE LIVE OR NOT!!
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