ARC Review: In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne

9780062428134_98a84Title : In the Shadow of the Gods

Author : Rachel Dunne

Publisher : Harper Voyager

Release date : June 21st, 2016

Rating : 1.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the “Twins” grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire-lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked, until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.

Review :

I love fantasy, I really do! I have read many fantasy books in my life, and I must say… In the Shadow of the Gods was disappointing.

You know what aspect of epic fantasy I absolutely admire? The writing!! I already described it in other reviews of mine, but I’ll say it again: elegant and polished prose is my kryptonite, in fantasy. Think Tolkien, or Martin. Their writing is absolutely riveting, and draws us in their world, and manipulates our emotions and perspectives at every page.

Now, what kind of writing did Dunne offer in her book? YA prose, that’s what. I’m not saying YA authors write badly; oh no, most of them have pretty decent writing and it’s actually enjoyable. What I’m saying is that Dunne’s composition doesn’t belong in the Fantasy genre. It felt so out of place, that I was immediately turned off. Actually, my turn-off was so definite and complete, that I couldn’t find it in myself to even try to like the book. There was nothing epic about it. What would actually put this novel in Fantasy would be the world (we’ll talk about this later) and the excessive violence.

About what Dunne actually wrote, again, it left to be desired. Each chapter relates events set some years apart, but the author spends so much time referencing what has already happened in previous chapters, that really, I don’t see why I even bothered to read every chapter. The reading is redundant, as she repeats the same information over and over again. And the world. Gosh, such an underdeveloped world. The premise isn’t bad, okay? The gods, and the missing ones, the Twins, and the religion. I really liked the concept of how all of this affected their world. But, it seems like this myth and its impact are the only thing that ever happened in this universe, which is otherwise lacking a history, or culture, or politics. Everything, from the writing to the world, is just…empty. Nothing to keep my interest, apart from the inexplicable magic.

Joros’ character was okay. I didn’t really know where I stood regarding him, as I sometimes liked him, sometimes disliked him entirely. I really liked Scal, though. His story is filled with loss and loneliness and revenge, but it is so rich that Dunne could write an entire book about him. But apart from him, I could’ve used some other interesting characters, some that would spark up some life in this otherwise miserable world.

All in all, In the Shadow of the Gods is an okay book for fantasy beginners, as it lacks many things that would make up a great fantasy read.

** Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Voyager for providing me with an e-copy of this book!

Picture sources : 1, 2


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