Rating: I LOVED IT
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epic, Fantasy
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 16th 2015
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Book Blurb: Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn’t an axiom, it’s a force of nature; what the masses believe is an axiom. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, who must Ascend to become a god—a god they can control.But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates—the Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left—have their own nefarious plans for the young god.As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one’s delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath. The question then is: Who will rule there?
These nightmares define new tomorrows, and the gods look on in mute horror at what they have wrought.
“There’s an inn.” Bedeckt pointed up the street. “Put your knife away, woman. Gut him after I’ve had a drink.”
One truism lay underneath every choice and word: change what people think and you change the world.
Only boring people get bored.
Self-hatred was both a weakness and strength, a prison and protection. No one loathed her more than she and thus none could truly harm her.
I don’t see what I want to see, I see what I need to see. If you don’t like it, see something else.
This was the calm eye of the storm, the hot center of crumbling sanity and last hopes. In all directions the horizon coiled and heaved, a lurid bruise, a maelstrom of abhorrent neuroses given form. The sky looked sick, reality ill with gross mistreatment.
The power of faith is the fear of the unknown. The power of love is the fear of dying alone.
“Luckily I think much faster on my feet than I do and soon had myself tied in the fruit cellar. I’d kill myself but I’m so damned useful. Sometimes, when the High Priest has texts he wants copied, I’ll unchain one of my hands and get me to do some of the work. Of course I do it! I’m so damned bored down here, chained to the wall.”
Forests always hid things. Spill blood, and the ground soaked it up in seconds, forever hiding the violence. At least on a city street the blood stayed around for a few days, giving testament to the work done.
The doing is the easy part. It’s the deciding to do that is difficult. I most regret the decisions never made.
Wow, this was … lonely. The book follows a few storylines. Basically, boiled way way down, there’s a crazy guy trying to create a god. There’s people trying to exploit said would-be god, there’s people set out to assassinate, there’s people sent to investigate, and there’s a mind-controlling crazy person that wants to enslave the world.
The reason I say it was lonely is because it was. None of the characters trusted anyone. They might’ve wanted to, but they couldn’t bring themselves to do so. And that added a tone of hopelessness to the storylines. Now, all of characters are heavy on the not-so-great personality traits and they are well aware of said traits, which they seem fine having. It all added up to an unsavory group that you want more for, that you root for despite some of their appalling actions.
What was utterly captivating to me was the take on magic/power. Magic/power eventually turns any person possessing it insane. It was incredible to watch characters deteriorate along the way. They know it’s going to happen, which makes it all the more interesting.
I’ve read books before that had interesting premises/characters but I never fell in love with the book, so it’s hard for me to understand why I loved this one over those. I guess I was hoping some hope would come along and I read to find some. It could’ve been how insanely fun reading about the insane people was. Or it could have been the breadth of different characters, all bad, all hopeless, all alone but wanting not to be. It could have been how wildly unique the take on gods and magic was, to me at least. It could have simply been the tone of the author.
It’s gritty. There’s shit and piss and snot and blood and orgies. Not for the faint of heart. Any one looking for a remotely heroic character need not read. I found it refreshing. I found it incredibly interesting. I will say when looking for my next book I picked up something lighter with the potential of a happy ending and a hero to save the day. Not that I gravitate toward that, but this book made me want to seek out something happy. Which, by the way, I appreciated. It took me out of the norm, and for that, I love it.
The world was developed enough for me but might disappoint those huge into complicated world building. The writing was excellent, the plot moved, and I never once skimmed. There’s a lot of different PoV’s, but — bless Fletcher!—he actually gave space between each change. No head hopping from paragraph to paragraph!!
For those who don’t like the usual hero tropes, please pick this up. For those who like a darker side of characters, you need to read this. For those seeking a different take on magic and can handle unsavory characters, it’s a must read.
P.S. I could’ve quoted this book all day. It took me a while to edit down my choices so this whole thing wasn’t just his book.