Malice by John Gwynne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Giants and men have battled one another throughout the history of the Banished Lands. The giants lost the great wars of the past yet some of their fortresses still stand and giants still hold them. Prophetic utterigs appear to be coming to fruition and High King Aquilus summons the Kings of the banished lands to forge an alliance to stand against the rising darkness. The prophecy states two will arise as champions of darkness and light, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. All will be forced to choose a side in the battle to come.
Malice was a solid story overall. No groundbreaking ideas are present so anyone looking for unparalleled originality should look elsewhere.
One thing above all else surprised me about Malice, I struggled to connect to the characters for the majority of the book. I usually can find someone to root for, but I didn't feel anything for the characters until I had some brief stirrings for Corban and Cywen around page 300. It wasn't until page 580 or so that my heart was pounding and I firmly felt engaged in any part of the story. Even then it was still largely only Corban and Cywen. The other point of view characters didn't elicit any feelings from me.
The story was long and felt long. Malice has a slow build up. I believe at least two years pass from the first to last chapter. A lot of the story was spent seeing the lives of the point of view characters Corban, Cywen, Veradis, and Kastell. The writing was fine, but I struggled to keep my interest especially early on. The last 40 pages or so were really interesting.
Malice was a solid start to the series and the ending left me somewhat curious as to what happens next. I may continue the series, but not right away.
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