Working through my TBR list like a fucking champ!
I was skimming the TBR of Babel on my kindle and this one was like ‘ME, BITCH!’ and I can’t argue with that sort of confidence, and so off I went into the world of the Face.
Also, I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.
Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?
Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.
The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.
“Emperor Calvo has asked for you.”
“In the bath.”
“I think you’ve got the wrong man.”
This was a really interesting book. It took me a little while to understand what was happening, but after I really got into it, it was quite hard to put down.
This takes place in a world where every few hundred years or so, the god of this world, The Akhen, comes down as an incarnate being known as the Face of the Akhen in a move known as an Unmasking. There have been four of those so far, and the last one happened in the Faustian Empire, where this story takes place, and started the Faustian Era.
Dayraven, who is the son of a slain hero of the empire, has been a hostage of the Magia (sort of a rival nation of the Faustian Empire) for about 15 years, and has just shown back up in town. The Emperor is ahh… a bit crazy now, and spends most of his time in the bath (I can understand that a little!) and he suspects that an old enemy/rival of his is behind it. Dayraven goes to the local temple to meet with his old teacher, and finds him dead, and a scroll that was with him leads to clues that he and Sunniva, a local warrior and daughter of the architect of the temple itself, follow to find the secret of the Hidden Face. Others are after the secret too, for their own reasons, and so it becomes a thrilling romp through the world to find all the clues before anyone else can find them.
I was having a little trouble getting really enthusiastic about this one right up until Dayraven and Sunniva found the scroll and started to work out the clues in it. Then it sort of became like a Da Vinci Code scavenger hunt in the way that these clues come together, and I have to say that once that first clue happened and we moved onto the next, it was just about impossible to put this one down. I am a total sucker for a good riddle or puzzle (and yes, I loved the damn Da Vinci Code because of it. There, I said it.) There were legit twists in this one that I never saw coming, and the mystery was a good one. The additional characters, mainly the Twister and Malombra were interesting and quite unique.
I liked that there was a romantic element as well, and that it was in itself fraught with its own ups and downs. It was believable, though it did move a little too quickly, I think. But eh, it was a short book. Either way, I thought it was alright.
This was quite a thrilling little fantasy novel. It’s not super long, either, so you’ve got the time and inclination, one could finish it in a day. I’m excited to see where the story heads in the future! 4/5 stars!