This book is set in the same world as Gwynne’s previous book series beginning with Malice. In this world angel-like beings called Ben-Elim and demon-like creatures called Kadoshim exist and they’ve brought their war from their world into ours. The story takes place over 100 years after the last book of Gwynne’s first series and we follow multiple point-of-views. The Ben-Elim have successfully beaten the Kadoshim and there are only some of them left, scattered throughout the land and hunted by the Ben-Elim and their elite fighters, the White-Wings. But not everyone is happy with the way the Ben-Elim rule and the remaining Kadoshim might not be as powerless as everyone thinks.
First of all, I have not read Gwynne’s first series and I don’t think it is necessary to read A Time of Dread. However, this book of course spoilers some of the previous series and you should keep that in mind if you want to read it. There are also some references made by the characters about the past and happenings from the first series, which is a nice addition for fans and people who already know the world.
The writing and pacing throughout the novel was really well done and you kind of feel that Gwynne is a practised writer. I especially liked the way the story gripped me and I was not once bored or felt like I could pause at one point or another because there wasn’t a lot happening.
My favourite POV was by far Sig’s. She is a giant and part of the Order of the Bright Star, an order founded by one of the heroes from the previous war. She is a very fierce fighter and she and her companions are so much fun to read about. When we first meet her, she rides on a bear (yes, you read correctly! I know, it’s so cool!) and is on a mission to hunt down a Kadoshim.
Additionally, we follow Riv, a young girl who trains in Drassil, city of the Ben-Elim, to become a White-Wing like her mother and sister. She shows a lot of potential, but she has a lot of temper as well and cannot really control it. Her story develops later on into something really interesting which could affect a lot of the next book’s storyline.
We also follow Drem, who lives a quiet and ordinary life as a trapper with his father. But of course, his life will change dramatically and I found his story to be the most interesting and gripping of them all.
The last character we get to learn from is Bleda, a young warrior prince from a clan called the Sirak. At the beginning of the story, he is made a ward by the Ben-Elim to ensure peace between the clans and has to life henceforth with them in Drassil where he later on meets Jiv, the ward from the opposing clan.
As I mentioned earlier, I loved the story and never felt bored while reading it. The plot has its ups and downs and there are so many twists and turns along the way where the characters find themselves in a lot of new and exciting situations. If I had to criticize one thing it would be that I knew the major plot twist long before it was revealed, but that did not bother me at all.
I’m so happy to have found a new favourite author of mine and now I really want to start the Faithfull and the Fallen series by Gwynne as well! This book ended on a cliffhanger and I will definitely pick up the next book, even though I have to wait a long time till it’s coming out.
A huge thank you to Netgalley and the publisher who provided me with an eARC of this book and made it possible that I could read this great book!