Published Date: October 3, 2017
Publishing Co.: Del Rey Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Buddy read with my BFF Crumpets&Arsenic.
“Great kracken tits!” may be my new favorite exclamation.
A bard is telling the tales of war from the point of view of various characters across the land. The tale of their homeland invaded by an unknown race of giants in bone armor, therefore dubbed, the Bone Giants. Their surprise arrival and conquest of major cities, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake, for reasons unknown to their victims. Death comes swiftly in the night, leaving nothing but blackwings circling over silent cities for select unsuspecting souls to find days too late for help to arrive.
We learn the magic and history of the world through the tales told by the bard as he recounts the stories to the city every night. A city full of refuges with no homes, often no loved ones left and no jobs to rebuild their lives. Each day they return to the wall to hear stories that remind them that they are not alone in their loss and how each invasion happened and about those who were there and tried to thwart the Bone Giants’ success.
In between the tellings, we follow a historian in the refugee city as he writes down the bard’s stories as a first collection of a new history. We learn about the historian’s own life and loss and his friendship with the leader of the city, his attempts at spying on the bard for secret information. His generosity of letting a refugee family stay in his home.
The magic in this world is a tale of it’s own. There are five kennings, with a theorized sixth and seventh kenning that has yet to be discovered. There is one kenning to control water, one to control wind, one for plants, one for earth and one for fire. People have to be willing to end their own life in order to be blessed with a kenning. Each kenning has it’s own trial, but there are only ever two results; you die or you are blessed with a new power. You must be willing to sacrifice everything to gain something.
This is a great opening book to a series. The characters are endearing and yet no one is safe. Many times you don’t even know they’re dead until you get to the end of their tale. Just enough time to become fully invested in them. I look forward to following the surviving characters as the war continues.
Kevin Hearne also has one of the most poignant descriptions of losing a loved one that I’ve ever read:
“The mourning of a loved one never ends at the funeral. It comes back every so often like a stage performer eager for a curtain call and expects you to be loud about it. I gave it all the lung capacity I had.”
That hit home.