Published November 2016
Page count: 672
Goodreads: See here
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Plot at a Glance:
The world is broken… and it can never be made whole again.
Events are reaching their conclusion in the Banished Lands. The Seven Treasures are being gathered and brought to Drassil, the fabled city in the forest of Forn, and when they come together, all hell will break lose. This is Corban’s last chance. The final opportunity to stem the rise of Asroth and foil Calidus’s plans before they begin. But with his warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he hopes to survive. His life, and the fate of the entire world stands in the balance.
And so ends the most epic journey in fantasy fiction I’ve been on so far this year.
In terms of sheer fantasy awesomeness, this book has it all: battles to the death, memorable character moments and a culmination of 4 books worth of material that I won’t soon forget. John Gwynne has solidified himself in my mind as a powerhouse name to remember in the fantasy genre, and I will forever keep an eye out for books for future offerings from him. As I’m fairly certain he reads his reviews, I’d like to say: You do great work Mr. Gwynne!
Thematically, Wrath hits all the right notes in the way it sets about closing out the storylines that have been spun since page one, when we first walked into the Banished Lands alongside a young Corban. While the battle between Good and Evil isn’t a new concept, John Gywnne’s strength in crafting realistic and human characters that you want to root for – or to root against – makes this book stand out as a must read. I was never for an instant bored as I watched the characters I had grown accustomed to set off on their final journey against the forces of darkness.
Everyone comes full circle in this book. As those of you who have been following my reviews will know, I hate spoilers, so I’m going to avoid naming characters specifically for fear of spoiling who lives and who crosses the bridge of swords. Still, regardless of who lives or who dies, the endings to each character’s story aligns beautifully with the people they were in Malice, years before the turmoil and war began, but also compliments all of the beautiful character growth that they’ve experienced over the years.
Through all the death, heartache and strife, these characters retained their emotional heart and my connection to them is still so strong that I hate the thought of their story being over.
I would happily take another 4 books set in the Banished Lands, following up on the events here just so I don’t lose out on seeing my book babies keep growing and changing now that this particular story is over.
As always, the battle scenes are the real crowning glory of this series, and in fact it just keeps getting better and better with each book. It’s clear that John Gwynne is quite familiar with close combat battle practices – whether it be via research or the careful study of other works of fiction, I’m unsure as I can’t speak on the technicalities of it all. It all flows and works beautifully to paint tense and always moving fight scenes that have only increased in scope as the story moved along.
The last quarter of this book is centered around the final battle in the war for control of the Banished Lands, and it does not disappoint! It’s epic in scale, and involves every single character, kingdom, giant clan and species of creature that we’ve come across in an epic battle to the death. The scale of this final skirmish is just enormous, and only a tactical mind such as this author could handle drawing all of those threads together over the scope of 4 books to see things to their close.
My emotions ran the gamut while reading this book! I was laughing one moment, cheering in the next breath only to be brought to tears a few pages later – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The emotion is right there in the characters, within their interactions and the ease with with the reader can relate to their worries, goals and cares. I can easily see this series holding great appeal for fans of series like Game of Thrones, who want strongly built characters but also aren’t afraid to say goodbye to some along the way as John Gwynne is another author who isn’t shy about culling the herd when the story calls for it.
One thing I really wanted to point out as my absolute favorite aspects of this series is the way things evolve and change over time. Characters grow, and their hopes and desires are influenced by the things that happen around them. It’s delightful to think that things are going to go one way for a certain character, or for two characters you think are going to clash, only to have a plot event impact that course of motion and set them off on a new journey. It kept things fresh and allowed the plot and characters both to grow organically without seeming forced forward on rails like some plots certainly feel like at times when authors forget to let characters guide them.
Again, if you’re a fan of tense, action-oriented epic fantasy, this series needs to be on your radar if it’s not already! Get going and start the journey today!!
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 = 5/5 stars! A favorite series for my bookshelf!
Have you read this series? What do you think of it thus far? Recommend me your favorite fantasy in the comments section below!