1. 10 & 9 Star Rating Book Review

The Hellborn King – Christopher Brenning

There would be time enough to mourn for his love, but it would’nt be now, Gareth Bethard had decided. Now would come a time of blood, and death, and hate.

So what’s the book about?

The North wants to reclaim their land after a massacre of their people and now Damien Dreadfire is bringing together an army of disparate people to stand against the kingdom. The fate of the North culture and the entire nation depends on the outcome of the battles in the kingdom, but warriors are in short supply. Damien can count on the help of his friend Einarr, who is becoming more and more divided by his friend Damien’s actions. For he carries out atrocities to get closer to his goal and will stop at nothing. The attacked kingdom, however, has its own problems, for a king who only devotes himself to alcohol, rules the country.  Or his son, the crown prince Gareth, who is unable to find his way in his role. As Gareth tries to become a better successor to his father, he gets caught up in more and more conspiracies and has to fight his own family in the process. Therefore, the kingdom faces not only the enemy from the north, but also itself.

Why I wanted to read this series?

I received a copy of the book from the author himself, which I am very happy about, in exchange there is an honest review about the book. I would also like to say thank you very much here again. When I received the request, of course I immediately searched on Amazon for the book to read the blurb of it. When I got the search result, I was first very surprised about the incredibly beautiful cover of the book. Then I read the blurb and was immediately thrilled. Because this one sounds like war and intrigue and that’s what I particularly like. I felt reminded of The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie and since this is one of my favourite books, I was of course enthusiastic!

These aspects attracted me the most while reading.

  • This story takes you into a cruel world, full of atrocities and barbarians – and that’s the kind of story we all want to read! For the world is not only cruel because of its enemies from the north, but also because its own empire is crumbling. The king is a drunkard and wife-beater, the son who can’t get anything done either, and the siblings who make things even more complicated. So an exciting intrigue is built up within the kingdom, in which everyone plays their own game and you experience many surprises. And the fighters from the north don’t make things any easier for the king either. But even if you expect the king to move against the attackers here, you have misunderstood something. For the realm of Betanthia is not at all interested in the Nordic people slaughtering their own people, but simply let them go. Only a few fighters oppose them, which makes the situation seem even more hopeless. For the nobles of the empire are more interested in their own game for the throne than in standing up for the common people, and so everyone has to look out for themselves.
  • The story is told very slowly and at first, you don’t know what each of the main characters is supposed to do for the story. However, this builds up an incredible tension because at first you get to know all the characters in detail, you know their weaknesses and faults and their dreams. You feel very connected to them and can understand their suffering. Nevertheless, each character in this story has a very individual experience that completely changes the story around the character. Thus, a separate arc of tension is built up for each character and not for the whole story, which has strengthened the connection to the character, but you also don’t know how everything will come together later. You are plunged into different adventures with each individual character, and you don’t even know which one is the most exciting. You get intrigues, fights, but also the inner struggle with oneself is fought out with the characters and thus the tension is always kept high on different levels.
  • In this book, there is a role reversal between the typical gender characteristics – the women here are ambitious, show strength and also have a will of their own, whereas the men have to fight with themselves, don’t want to fight against others at all and care more about love or friendship. The typical image of women or men does not come from anyway and that is why I find it all the more exciting to read when these character traits are simply changed. Often in books there is always a strong woman or an effeminate man, but here everyone has really swapped roles, although in this world you find the typical gender roles, such as men fighting and women having children. And through the book it is shown that there is nothing wrong with what gender you are and despite that can behave differently than society dictates, because women make it to positions that women would have only dreamed of back then and men can show their feelings even if they still get setbacks.
  • Lucetta is actually a completely unworldly princess who you can tell has never lived outside her society and yet I was able to take her to my heart and she became my favourite character in this book. Because Lucetta changes after she sees the completely run-down capital and has to see how the poor have to live there. From there on she changes, because she wants to change something in this world, even though she has never lifted a finger herself. Moreover, from then on, the girl, who at first only lives lonely in her privileged world, changes and becomes a ruthless adult who stands for her goals and ambitions. Lucetta has the most exciting part of this book, because she doesn’t have to fight for her goals alone.

So what are my final thoughts about it?

This is a cruel and very serious story, reminiscent of Joe Abercrombie’s world. Because nothing is as it seems, the characters experience an incredible development through the first part, thanks to their also incredible, even partly disturbing, experiences. This story is very character driven and I have to say that every single character is interesting and I enjoyed reading it. Even though Madelyn came across as a little too generic at first, she was able to convince me so much towards the end that she made up the most exciting ending for me. The book is also more of a low fantasy story, with more of a focus on politics and combat and only a hint of fantasy, but this made me identify with the world much more, as the magic that is present does seem very real. The only negative point I could find are the time jumps at times, which took away from the rythm of the story. This is a story that not only brings war to the kingdom, but the kingdom itself is at war. The ending was so exciting that I can’t wait to read the next volume!

My Rating

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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6 comments on “The Hellborn King – Christopher Brenning

  1. Tim_Sde

    Great Review once again! And you are right the cover looks phenomenal!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mareike

    I don’t know what i like more, the cover or your picture of the book

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mad Mac

    Story sounds great! Cover looks great! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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