Review: The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan

40541565._sy475_I really enjoyed The Gutter Prayer earlier this year, so it only makes sense that once I saw an opportunity to read the sequel, I was all the way on board.

So thanks very much to the author, as well as Orbit via NetGalley for the review copy.

Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan’s acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy.

Enter a city of spires and shadows . . .

The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees.

Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets – a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it.

As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay?

The Shadow Saint continues the gripping tale of dark gods and dangerous magic that began with Hanrahan’s acclaimed debut The Gutter Prayer.

His duty is here, the Crown wants him here. Well, not here in this beer tent, exactly, but in Guerdon.

This book carries on, more or less, from The Gutter Prayer, though it does follow different characters, for the most part.

The city of Guerdon has changed since the events of the last book. There is a New City that has sprouted in the midst of everything, and it has become a refuge for the poor and the seedier residents of the city.

There are rumours abound that hiding somewhere in the ghoul-filled tunnels of Guerdon, a weapon capable of killing the gods themselves can be found. While Guerdon tries very hard to stay neutral in the Godswar between the neighboring nations (and the gods therein) of Haith and Ishmere, both countries have sent people into the city to try and find this mysterious weapon and claim it for their side.

Our story (mostly) follows Eladora Duttin, a woman who we met a little bit in The Gutter Prayer; Terevant Erevesic, the second son of a noble house in Haith, and the brother of the current ambassador of Haith in Guerdon; and a spy from Ishmere, who has several identities that he slips into when required.

This one was just as fantastically written as its predecessor, with all kinds of awesome worldbuilding and twists and turns. While it was ever-present in the Guerdon of The Gutter Prayer, the vibe that I got from The Shadow Saint was very similar to that of China Miéville’s New Crobuzon. The city has a dirty, corrupt and ultimately otherworldly and weird feel to it, and boy, did Gareth Hanrahan really made me feel it. Like I once said about Perdido Street Station, this one gave me actual tangible reactions to the dangers or conditions of the city it takes place in. Things like disgust, repulsion, and fear. It should also be noted that in this case, just as in the case of New Crobuzon, I don’t mean this in a bad way. Not at all. Guerdon is supposed to feel corrupt and dangerous, and it does. A well told story can often make me emote for characters that I like or that I relate with, but it’s far more rare for me to have this sort of immersion in a world. Very well done.

I rather liked Terevant as a character, and the spy. Eladora wasn’t my favorite, just as she really wasn’t in the first book, but it was still entertaining to read her parts of the story. Enough that I really never wanted to put the book down no matter who was moving the story forward. Alas, real life stuff always interrupts my reading time these days.

All told, I thought this was a fantastic book in the Black Iron Legacy series, and I am excited to read more in the future! 5/5 stars! 


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