“I am still mad.” She met his eyes. “But we could be about to die, so, priorities.” He smiled down at her. “Priorities.”
So what’s the book about?
When an imperial family is found slaughtered, the Officers of God are called in to investigate. Evidence points to a rebel group trying to strike fear into the heart of the Empire. It is up to three inspectors to find the underlying cause of it. One Rivalle Chapman, who is the genius of the Officers of Gods, accompanies inspector Khlid and her husband Samuel. However, even if it initially sounds like a revenge story, it soon becomes clear that it is a larger conspiracy that not only turns out to be a murder, but also questions the loyalty of their own colleagues.
Why I wanted to read this series?
Daniel Greene is I think a household name to every fantasy book lover by now, as he is one of the biggest SFF Booktubers. In addition, of course I am a big fan of his videos. Therefore, it was bound to happen that I also wanted to read his debut. Since I often share his taste in books, I had high expectations for his story, but I thought from the beginning that I would have to cut back on the writing style and character development. However, the blurb already convinced me, because the industrial setting, which we know from Joe Abercrombie’s books or the Draconis Memoria series, almost forces me to buy these kind of books repeatedly, because it brings a little variety into the fantasy world. Of course, the cover also looks indescribably great, because the colour choice is very successful!
These aspects attracted me the most while reading.
- Khlid is a woman who knows what she wants in her life and how to act for it. She seems as if she always wants to do the right thing and is appreciated for it – by her colleagues, but also by her husband. Even if you think in the beginning that Khlid seems more like a woman who has many masculine sides, simply because of her strength and her coolness and toughness, you realize in the course of this book that she is more feminine and human as you might think in the beginning. Because even though she has a tough job, which also requires tough character traits, she is also afraid. Fear of the dark and somehow afraid of the events that could happen. This gives Khlid a depth that I would not have expected in such a short book. However, what I especially liked about Khlid is that she speaks her mind, and maybe not as nicely as you’d expect. I could identify with her through her outwardly strong and self-confident manner, which is, however, also broken through by her fearful nature.
- The interaction between the individual characters is particularly well done. Each character has his or her own quirks, which makes the conversations between them exciting and occasionally funny. Not every character gets along so well with the other, which also creates tension between the three main characters and thus a good mix of different emotions. Chapman in particular was able to take these interactions with each other to another level, as he comes across as a sociopath who doesn’t have a clue about human interaction, but is somehow a genius for it. Thus, the whole construct of the three main characters felt very real, as emotions and conversations were not exaggerated, but felt partly like the rivalries in office jobs.
- If one knows the board game Arkham Horror, one knows perfectly well that the first half of the book reveals many parallels. The mix of a detective story, filled with fear and action and lastly a good pinch of horror, makes this book feel like an Arkham Horror evening for me. At first, you are put into a bloody case that seems like an extremely gory detective story, but then later, ends up in a depressing and horror story like realm. Even though this doesn’t feel like a typical fantasy story, it hits the right spots. I really felt set in a crime story that later turns out to be a horror show after all. And I would have liked more of that part! In addition, when you get the feeling that there is something blood-like dripping into your mouth, then you know that this is no longer a normal crime story.
- Blood everywhere – Help! Since this story is more of a crime story, of course the blood must not be missing here and you definitely got that here. The opening scene alone has already contained so much blood and atrocities that actually the whole book should have been filled. Through this introduction, you have an exciting start to the story and you get the right feeling for the story right at the beginning. But here the whole bloodthirsty setting was exploited much more, which pleased me yet somehow (Now I have probably turned out to be a psychopath :D).
So what are my final thoughts about it?
The partly creepy and oppressive mood is just right for a nice evening snuggled up in a blanket with a warm tea. Especially the first half of the book could fully meet my taste. The mix of a crime story and a creepy story, coupled with really very exciting characters, who then also understand to act with each other, has created an exciting story. Nevertheless, what makes the book for me, this creepy crime story, has unfortunately changed in the second half of the book. Here the focus is put on much more than a simple crime story, but you realize that in the next volumes it could also become political or something higher will influence the story. However, unfortunately I have to say that I simply lacked more time in this book, you realize that this story could have contained 500 pages without problems. This also creates the problem that you wanted to put a lot into these 100 pages and therefore there are sometimes deductions in descriptions regarding the environment. So why didn’t this story get more pages?! In any case, tension is also given for the next book and I cannot wait to read more!
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