I got an ARC through Angry Robots via NetGalley.
Cameron Johnston has done something exciting: Take one ability that is often associated with a villain, and give it to the main protagonist.
This is why I enjoyed the first book, “The Traitor God,” which kicked off as a sort of “fantasy-noir” where our hero, Edrin Walker, investigates the savage murder of his friend. He’s what the world calls a, tyrant, because of his ability to tamper with the mind — including, but not limited to, taking away your free will and altering memories. That book was a blast and I thought I had Book 2: “God of Broken Things” all figured out.
The book wasn’t a slowburn. It kicks you straight in the balls, launching a series of action-filled scenes. The pace flows smoothly with a balanced set of character engagements, worldbuilding, and epic fight scenes.
“God of Broken Things” still feature Edrin Walker as the main protagonist, sorting out his problems one at a time. I never got a good grasp on how strong he really is. Yes, he can control people, bend them to his will, alter memories, and basically anything involving the mind. I thought I understood it. But I didn’t. This book explores why people like Edrin are called tyrants and why others fear them.
It’s a test of patience and morality, no matter how stretched thin. And, normally I don’t need to relate myself to the main hero to enjoy a story, but I’ve actually built this connection with Edrin. Cause I swear, if I had mind controlling powers, there’d be an apocalypse by the end of 2021.
A writing tip from a different author said, the simpler the plot the more developed characters need to be.
Along with this book is the introduction of a large bizarre new cast that Edrin decides should tag along in his newest adventure. Some of these characters are hard to like, some are funny and weird. We don’t get to explore their origins, but each one gets a spotlight, a time when they shone, and enough background to get to know them. They grow on you as you go farther into the book. None of them are too complicated, but are filled with life, you’d wish you’d had enough time to just hang out and grab a few drinks with. (If you don’t mind the risk of getting stabbed in your sleep, that is.)
In “God of Broken Things” we get to go beyond the city of Setharis, where the first book took place. We enter province territory, where things aren’t as advanced in the city, where the folks rely on old traditions than modern studies. It’s also something I happen to relate to, I get to hang out with all sorts of people who believes in every possible superstition. It’s just something embedded culturally that people on these lands continue to hold on to and fight for things they find sacred.
By the end of the book my jaw was hanging really low. It was an incredible journey, something I really enjoyed. So, when Johnston confirmed that Edrin Walker’s story is actually a duology, I felt a little crushed. And yet, that ending felt so perfect that it made sense. I would have loved more books centering on Edrin Walker. But I get it. You liked “The Traitor God”? Pre-order “God of Broken Things.” Had mixed feelings about “The Traitor God”? To hell with that, this book is infinitely better.
“God of Broken Things” comes out on June 11, 2019.