Series: The Faithful and the Fallen #1
Release date: December 6th 2012
A black sun is rising …
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.
The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.
High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.
Malice was amazing!!!! The world-building was somewhat familiar to me already since I read the Of Blood and Bone trilogy first, so it was pretty easy to get lost into this story. Gwynne’s writing hooked me right from the very start and the multiple POVs kept me going. The plot in general followed along the same lines of some big Fantasy series, but it still had a unique spin that made reading this super fun and intriguing.
The characters were all so so so well developed and interesting. I obviously had my faves and some I wouldn’t mind if they fell on a sword. They each had their own goals and it was fantastic to read about them all coming together as the story progressed. The pace was pretty steady and the shifts in perspective were all really well written, so this was a journey that captured my attention and made it impossible for me to put the book down.
The overall arc was a bit familiar? There were a lot of the usual Chosen One vs Evil set up with visions and ancient texts and creatures showing up. They were still cool in their familiarity, though? The way Gwynne developed the plot threads and twists were unique to this novel, so it was still really fun to read about all of them and see how things would turn out. The ending has quite an emotional impact as well, which means I need the next book asap!
So Malice was a solid beginning to a new series that is probably going to consume my entire life. The characters were all complex and wonderful, the plot was well developed, and the world-building was great. There was a lot of action, but balanced out by some humor and sadness. Definitely recommend this to all Epic Fantasy fans looking for something new!