The month of March has been . . . trialing to say the least, but even with the set-backs I was able to finish The Godspeaker Trilogy just in time for March’s book review. It may be the last week of March, but it still counts!
As promised, I will be reviewing the third and final installment of the Godspeaker Trilogy by Karen Miller: Hammer of God.
The last novel returns us to Ethrea, a peaceful kingdom that values trade over war. Rhian is finding the weight of the crown may be heavier than she had anticipated. While she struggles to resolve local disputes, trouble is brooding abroad with the conquering of Icthia by Mijak’s blood-thirsty army, led by none other than Empress Hekat herself. With the help of Nagarak’s son, she has raised an armada ready to destroy the world, but the mysterious Chung Dynasty’s witch-men hold the trade winds at bay and keep her from sailing forth to destroy Ethrea and the surrounding trade nations. It is up to Queen Rhian to unite the bickering trading nations to take up the fight against the impending evil.
So let’s start with what I liked about the novel: the character relationships. The third novel definitely takes time to further develop the relationships between Vortka and Hekat, Rhian and Helfred, Dexterity and Ursa, etc., showing how power and strife can strain even the strongest of friendships.
The author’s writing style continued to impress me . . . despite the increase in typos and errors that the editors obviously missed. I had to pause numerous times to reread a sentence, not for confusion, but for indulgence. Even the dullest of scenes, and there were many, were enhanced by the writer’s always energetic and prosaic writing style.
But even lovely prose could not distract me from the obvious faults with this novel, primarily the pace. Two-thirds of the novel was spent like the last, with Rhian and her council arguing. And when they were not arguing with each other, they were arguing with the trading nations. Even among allies and friends they were arguing, arguing, arguing. There is no end to the meetings and arguing until roughly 600 pages in when we FINALLY start the war the last two books have been building up to. The battle is, of course, followed by more arguing. It made Star Wars Episodes II and III look action-packed in comparison.
Another complaint of mine is the conflicts that never really got wrapped up. The author opened so many potential problems, some of which never came to light or were concluded, such as Rhian and Zandakar’s attraction to each other–pointless noise that only left Rhian’s relationship with her husband unresolved in the end of the novel.
Then, there is the issue with Zandakar’s character. Throughout the series, his character has felt oddly misplaced, and he is. Lacking clear purpose, conflict, and goals until the end of the third novel, Zandakar’s character has failed to satisfy this reader. And the goal he does make for himself proves fruitless in the end. He really doesn’t triumph in the end. It’s like how Frodo fails to overcome the power of the one ring in the LOTR Trilogy. You’re happy he lives but disappointed that he is unable to overcome evil in the end.
So, would I recommend this series? Actually, yes. Despite all of my complaints and my disappointment in the conclusion of the novel, that was unsatisfactory to say the least, I would still encourage fans of fantasy to check this series out. The writing is enjoyable, the characters are three-dimensional, and their drama kept me engaged through even the dullest of scenes. I only wish the author had spent less time writing council scenes and more time sending the characters on adventures. I also wish the end would have turned out differently. For me, there was little payoff in the series and no real message that I could take with me in the end. I do; however, have a serious reader’s hangover.
If you decide to pick up the series, be warned, it contains graphic material, lengthy council meetings, and more filler than book can hold, but it’s still a great read with some wonderful magic, interesting characters, and exciting battle sequences.
For my next review, I’ll be taking a break from the fantasy genre to review a novel out of my reading comfort zone. Let’s see how that goes.