- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2553 KB
- Print Length: 406 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Fallen Leaf Press (30 June 2017)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B071FYSCZ2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 31 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #134,978 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Faithless: A Dark Fantasy Adventure Kindle Edition
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"A dark, claustrophobic read that grips you and doesn't let go." - John Gwynne, author of the The Faithful and the Fallen.
"Graham Austin-King crushes this one. Dark Fantasy at its finest!" - Michael R Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption.
"Claustrophic, dark, thoughtful, and full of tension." - Anna Smith Spark, author of The Court of Broken Knives.
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Top international reviews
This is a book which is difficult to review without giving too much away because of its structure – a choice which must have been challenging to write, to say the least. Did the author pull it off? Perhaps not 100%, but very close. The fact that it had a very strongly stated theme pulled it together.
Faithless is one of those books that tugs at you for days after you finish reading. Recommended.
In essence, this book is about blacksmithing and uses the skills and techniques of the forge as a faith (religion). A fresh angle for me and I really enjoyed the way the author constructed this novel.
Plenty of twists and turns, the magic system is wrapped up with the faith in the forge, lots of characters and great suspense. All in all a fantastic read!
The story follows two viewpoints: Wynn, a boy sold to the temple working in the brutal and unforgiving mines, and Kharios, a novice of the temple investigating what caused the fall of the old temple and religion, of which the new is a pale shadow of their might and glory. It was a great idea to allow the reader to explode both sides of the world, and how they tie in together. The relative luxury of the temple is not always preferable to the mines...
It's a slow but rich buildup of character and world, exploring religion, morality and magic. Then...well, I wouldn't want to spoil what happens for you, but suffice it to say death and magic go hand in hand.
Wynn is sold to the temple by his father, after their farm is in dire straits after much drought. He thinks he's to become a novice of the priests there, but instead he is sent to the mines far below the temple itself. As well as priests, the temple needs the coal and the ore to do their religious smithing and there are thousands of slaves toiling below the temple in the mines.
Danger lurks around every corner; cave-ins, people from other crews who might steal your tally if they sense even an ounce of weakness. Sometimes the lucky ones do get called to serve in the temple above, but only a few and the rest live and die in the darkness below.
Kharios is a novice of the Forgefather, the god of the temple. Their faith is based around metal and smithing, one I have never seen in a fantasy book before. It's fascinating and intriguing in equal measures.
Aspirant, the underground city, seemed very in tune with what a mining town would be like. You need equipment, you have to pay a tally for it. Everything costs, nothing is free, not even the chemlamps the miner's need for safety.
The author caught the sense of a mine really well. I've been down a few and they do feel claustrophobic and as if something is watching you from the darkness. The world building was fantastic and you really got a feel for this society and the characters within it.
Just a head's up that there are some scenes of sexual assault/abuse by one of the priests who preys on the younger novices. I don't think it was done for shock value and the author handled it very sensitively, but it is there even if mostly off-screen.
The pacing is just about right. The author gives you enough explanation/description, but is not overly bogged down with it so that the plot keeps going and isn't stuck at a standstill while you get twenty pages describing an anvil. The author doesn't do that. Wynn is almost a stand-in for the reader, as he doesn't know a lot about the religion and while he gets instruction, the reader does too without the knowledge seeming forced.
Great characterisation, the prose flowed well and all in all an excellent story that reels you in and keeps you there. If you're looking for an original fantasy novel, you won't go far wrong with this one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author with no expectation of a positive review. However, I loved it so much I pre-ordered a copy as soon as I found out it was available to do so and re-read it as soon as it was released. This is my honest opinion and it is not a fake review.
Wynn is a wonderful character. I liked him a lot. He is full of anger, sadness, loneliness and despair. He is a young boy of fifteen and the son of a farmer. When drought forces his father into selling him to the church of the Forgefather, he finds himself facing danger and darkness in the mines of Aspiration beneath the temple. As the darkness and danger threatens to crush him, he struggles to find his place within it. When the opportunity to escape the mines is presented to him, he grabs it with both hands. But has he escaped the pan and fallen into the fire?
Having read the Riven Wyrde Saga, I was eager to get my hands on this book, so when the author contacted me about reading an advance review copy, I jumped at the chance. However, when I received the copy, little did I realise what a roller coaster ride I would be taking. This book blew me away!
The story starts slowly, following Wynn as he is thrust into a strange world that is dark and isolating. This is one thing that kept me intrigued. The world building is wonderful. There is mention of the world outside (like the farm where Wynn came from), but by keeping the story to the mines and temple, it focuses the reader on the immediate and intense sense of the tale. There is another character that needs mentioning here. We are also introduced to Kharios, a novice of the temple, who is learning the art of smithing, whilst trying to complete his training to become a priest of the Forgefather. The Forgefather is the god of fire and creation. However, his voice hasn't been heard by the priests for hundreds of years and the priests go through the rituals without any belief. Thus, the title of the book, Faithless.
As this book is told through the dual aspect of Wynn's and Kharios's POV, I wondered at the timelines and if these two would ever meet. However, there is a huge twist that I didn't see coming and when the epiphany struck, I was floored! I will leave you to find out as I did, what the epiphany is. This story also deals with a dark subject, sexual abuse. It is not easy to read, and it made me feel rather uncomfortable and incredibly sad at the same time. I don't know what my reaction would be if it happened to me, but I felt for Wynn, as well as the other characters caught up in it. Ossan is a vile character and that's all I'm going to say about him.
As the story unfolded, I found myself holding my breath at the intense action and danger that threatened. As I said above, by keeping the world small, the author has created a claustrophobic atmosphere and I felt like I was there, experiencing the world too. In a way, it was a relief to reach the end of the book. I felt like I was taking a huge breath of fresh air rather than the dusty air of the mines and the fires of the forges. Having said that, the book also reflects the huge amount of research the author must have done to describe the art of blacksmithing in such detail, and I applaud him as it feels like he has actual experience in it. There is also a religious aspect to this story, even though most of the priests were faithless and had no belief in what they were doing; they were just going through the motions, and corruption was rife.
I reached the end of the book with bittersweet feelings; sad that it was ending, though happy at the way it concluded. Although it doesn't end in a cliffhanger, it is obvious that there is to be another book and I am looking forward to reading it as soon as it's available.
Graham Austin-King has written an exciting, dark fantasy novel that kept me turning the pages. This book is superb! I think that this book is a lot stronger than The Riven Wyrde Saga and shows this author's growth in confidence as a writer. I love his fast paced writing style and the story flowed wonderfully from beginning to end. The characters came alive on the page and felt extremely lifelike. This author has been added to my Favourite Authors' list and will read anything else that he writes.
Although there is mention of sexual abuse, it is not explicitly shown. Nevertheless, I do not recommend this book to young children or those of a nervous disposition, as there are scenes of violence and gore (battle scenes amongst others) that could be very disturbing to some readers. However, I highly recommend this book to older teens and adults alike if you love dark fantasy novels. - Lynn Worton
Plus it felt like the author had the premise of a great idea, but then wasnt quite sure where to take it towards the end so they simply changed tack.
Although ive read that this was intended as a stand alone novel, it certainly feels like the start of a series and i would probably give the next one a try.
A dark, gritty book Faithless is a breathless rollercoaster of a book.