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Malice by John Gwynne — Book review


Malice by John Gwynne
Malice by John Gwynne

AUTHOR: John Gwynne

PAGES: 672 Pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy.

RATING: 4.5/5


Malice, won the Morningstar Award for Best Debut in 2013

CONVINCING YOU TO READ THIS IN 6 WORDS: Character growth, family-oriented, chosen one trope, epic battle scenes, ambition, amazing twists & betrayals.


Malice by John Gwynne has my heart. I decided to go blind in this book, knowing only the genre and the fact that I wanted to read a good book. I didn’t even read the blurb. (That’s what I usually do.)  And I am not gonna lie, for a moment, my thoughts wavered but I was promised an amazing series and I kept reading on. And this was a goddamn good decision that I took in 2020. (And we all know 2020 had not been kind.)

This series is based on our classic and most basic Good vs. Bad and Chosen One trope. Have we seen it before? Yes, a million times yes. But have we read anything like Malice before? No, at least I don’t think so.  This book is the first instalment in 4 book series of The faithful and the Fallen. Malice is the beginning of the adventure that will never end. Everything that you possibly want in a book is here.

This series is based on a whole new world, Malice lays down the foundation of The Banished Lands that we are about to enter. The Banished Lands are still facing the consequences of the war fought on their lands 2000 years ago. The war had left giants dividing themselves and spreading all over the Lands. Though there isn’t any war around, we still don’t have peace. We still witness raids; sometimes by giants, sometimes by humans.

This book can overwhelm us for two reasons. The first one is the characters. There are so many characters that in the beginning it may or may not overwhelm you. But believe me, give them a chance and you will fall in love with them.  The second one is the pacing of the book. As I said before, this book is the first book in the series and thus extremely slow in my opinion. At least, the beginning of the book. While I understand that the pacing is extremely important for us, it felt slow. But, damn…the second half of the book. As, things set in motion, we start witnessing things happening in the blink of an eye. There are so many things happening, betrayals that surprise us, deaths that will shake us and war waiting for us.

But these two small obstacles cannot hamper the mood of the whole book. There are so many scenes where I had to stop myself and think about because they were relatable and at times unpredictable. For example, When Corban is bullied and his sister stands up to his bully, he isn’t grateful but feels annoyed that his sister fought his battles. Kastell, who has freud with his cousin but is still unaware of why they are at odds. Animals end up being an inevitable part of the fantasy world and Malice ended up excelling in that expect as well. Kudos to that. The best thing that I found about this book? It wasn’t the battles or deaths or betrayals. To be fair, they were amazing but the best of them was the fact that we witness family. Almost in all cases, where we see chosen one’s, we see that either the parents are murdered or they are abused or they lack love in their life. This is not the case here and I loved this book for that.

This book is character-driven and we will find so many emotions that your heart will tear up. We see characters question their beliefs and stand up for their values. We see them being loyal to a fault and love unconditionally. We witness love, loyalty, friendship, kinship, thrust to prove oneself, pride, ego, the want to protect their family and live with simple dreams. There are so many beautiful moments in this book that I can’t help but fall in love with this book more every time I think about it.

This book will test your patience for the first half and keep you on the edge for everything that follows.  I would highly recommend this book to everyone who likes good world-building, character developments, animals, betrayals and epic wars.

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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.

Read the review of The Ninth Rain here.


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