April 10, 2024

Review: Sunbringer

Sunbringer Sunbringer by Hannah Kaner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This second book in the Fallen Gods series expands on the worldbuilding and characters, raises the stakes, and in general gets our protagonists in a whole lot of trouble. It has a bit of an abrupt and depressing ending, setting up for a third-volume climax which will no doubt be a helluva (likely quite literal, since the antagonist is a fire goddess) big showdown.

This world is a quite interesting one, since the gods here are brought into existence by the prayers/offerings/shrines of their worshippers. There are thousands of them, from the aforementioned fire goddess Hseth to the sea god Osidisen to one of our protagonists, Skediceth, the god of white lies, and all sorts of large and small gods in between (including a "god of broken sandals"). Three years before the first book, King Arren of Middren and his loyal commander and strategist Elogast fought a cohort of so-called "wild gods" at the city of Blenraden. Arren nearly died, and was saved by one of the very gods he claimed to despise, the hearth god Hestra. He has continued his hypocritical persecution of gods ever since.

Another of our protagonists is the titular "godkiller" of the first book, Kissen, whose family was massacred by the fire goddess. In the first book, she became entangled with a young girl of noble birth, Inara Craier, who has somehow become bonded with Skediceth. All of these characters are now dealing with the fallout from the previous volume, along with the discovery that the fire goddess Hseth is not as dead as Kissen had thought. She is in fact gaining strength as the cult of her worshippers swells, and in this book she begins her fiery march across the land.

This book dwells more on the psychology of worship and faith, and draws some interesting conclusions, since this world runs on faith, both good and bad. The characters grapple with their faith, and what it does to themselves and the people around them. While the first book focused more on Kissen and Elogast, this one shines a greater light on Inara, who finds out who and what she really is, and explores her power. This is a good thing, since obviously that power will be sorely needed in the fight to come.

One other thing about this series is the outstanding covers, which are just gorgeous. Of course, the books have to live up to those covers, which they do quite well. I'm looking forward to the final book.

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