The tyranny of the gods is absolute, and they are capricious, malevolent and almost all-powerful, playing cruel games with the fates of mortals for their own ends . . .
A vibrant and powerful epic set against an alternate Bronze Age, this tale of gods, men and monsters, conspiracy and war, is a rich, compelling and original read from a master of the historical and fantasy genres. The people caught up in toils of the gods are merely trying to survive. Victims of vicious whims, trapped by their circumstances or pushed beyond what the mortal frame can bear, a handful of god-touched mortals - a scribe, a warlord, a dancer and a child - are about to be brought together in a conspiracy of their own.
A conspiracy to reach the heavens, and take down the corrupt and aging gods . . . who are already facing troubles of their own . . .
I've been reading Fantasy Fiction for a long, long time and it's a safe bet to say I know what I like. . . and I like Against All Gods a lot!
The story kicks off in Heaven with a pantheon of Gods (in fact the whole thing starts with a line from the chief God himself, asking the lesser gods "What the f*ck just happened" - Yeah, I knew early on this was a winner). There is a lot of manipulation, plotting, scheming, carousing etc between the Gods - and there are a lot of them. There seems to be a God of almost everything.
After the Gods we move to a bronze age era world where we meet a varied collection of characters from different parts of the continent who eventually come together to go up against the Gods.
The character bringing them all together is a boy named Daos who seems to be a cypher for, possibly, one of the Gods or maybe one of the Old God's (who were displaced by the present one after one almighty battle). Someone or something is telling him exactly where and when he needs to be to gather the 'gang' together. And he gets his messages through his teddy bear (which had a WTF just happened moment all to itself). And the gang are also joined on their adventures by a donkey who probably isn't all he seems (and is one of my favourite characters in the whole thing).
With sections flitting between Heaven and the world below the story never starts to become stale. There is humour, there is sadness and there is a whole lot more story to tell in coming volumes.
Where MC really excels though is in the battle scenes. These are brutal yet awesome. In time to come, when people have read the book I'll hopefully be able to elaborate on this but till then. . . Spoilers😉
So, in short, Great world building, great characters, Gods, Demons, artefacts, awesome battles - all the things that make me a very happy Wyrm indeed 7/5* (my blog, my rules😉)
Is it too early to say Book of the Year? Well we'll just have to wait and see about that but it's looking promising.
Thanks to Gollancz for providing me with a review copy of Against All Gods. All views and opinions are my own.