Review: A Time of Dread

John Gwynne is here to stay.

I don’t know about you, but this book was bloody good. I can’t sit here and say that Gwynne writes like the great masters before him, but I can say he’s now firmly positioned himself as a part of the next generation of fantasy masters.

Perhaps I’m just madly in love with the stories he writes and the creative genius he polishes with each paragraph dancing through his keyboard. Either way, Gwynne’s mind definitely needs to be preserved like one of those disembodied heads in FUTURAMA.

Excitement, adventure, betrayal, come on, these are the raw ingredients of the genre and this guy makes damn well use of his wordsmith skills.


Set in the same world as the Faithful and the Fallen quartet, the first novel in John Gwynne’s Of Blood and Bone series, A Time of Dread, takes place one hundred years after the end of Wrath.

The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient enemy may not be as crushed as they thought.

In the snowbound north, Drem, a trapper, finds mutilated corpses in the forests – a sign of demonic black magic. In the south, Riv, a young, tempestuous soldier, discovers a deadly rift within the Ben-Elim themselves.

Two individuals with two world-changing secrets. But where will they lead? And what role will Drem and Riv play in the Banished Land’s fate? Difficult choices need to be made. Because in the shadows, demons are gathering, waiting for their time to rise. . .


9781509812967a time of dread_11
That is one beautiful cover.

Now then, enough praise. Time to get to the bones of this story and for me to let you know if it’s actually worth your money and the next few hours you’ll be investing in it.

Ok yeah, it’s good. Go read it now.

But read this review first so you can get a taste of what I’m going on about.

As original as it is ambitious, A Time of Dread focuses on Riv and Drem – two individuals who fit the description of polar opposites as perfectly as you can imagine. Riv is a hot-headed mongrel too stupid to see the logic in her random outbursts, and Drem is tame to the level of being stupidly reluctant at defending himself as this approach has landed him in hot water on more than one occasion. All in all though, Gwynne deliberately takes these two vastly different characters, breaks them down into their core behaviors, and lands us with a boy and a girl who will grow to fully harness the prowess itching at their fingertips.

The world is beautiful and vast, and cold at certain junctures, but never dull. Gwynne has crafted a world full of possibilities with characters bleeding potential through every scene and shared piece of dialogue.

There’s a lot happening here, I’m just disappointed I’ll have to wait for the sequel.




Disclaimer (before an obnoxious copyright agent comes knocking on my door or the internet police take notice): I was given a free [gratis] digital copy of this novel from NetGalley and wish to thank the publisher for their permission and the opportunity to have read it. Also, thanks John, I’ve always enjoyed reading a good book.


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