There's a reason I don't go chasing chances to reviews remorselessly. The reason is that I'm a big girl's blouse who dislikes hurting other people's feelings, particularly people I like. And by now, a solid proportion of the books I read are by people I like. I don't - or didn't - want to review heavily as I didn't want to write mainly negative reviews. However, every barrier must be broken.
That's a really inviting intro to a review, isn't it?
Let me state now that Anna Stephens gets a lot right in Godblind. Its not like this was a Do Not Finish or anything. I know someone enjoying it right now after having doubts about the opening pages and I know a lot of other people will. She's got a good felicity of style - not as perfect for me as RJ Barker, but still enjoyable and more-ish. She's also got a good grasp of story. Godblind has a gripping narrative that rattles along as fast as anything I've read, jumping from action scene to action scene (something else does well) with few pauses, most of them for the rather sweet romances.
My favourite thing about Godblind are the interactions between the reluctant prophet Dom and the world's gods. They're filled with character and a suitable sense of the power of the divine. Stephens definitely hit my sweet spot there. In terms of that theme and some other ways, Godblind reminds me a little of the Wheel of Time, only as if rewritten by Joe Abercrombie during a fortnight long bender fuelled by every stimulant he can find.
Unfortunately that pace seems to have obliterated a lot of the fine detail. The book is very barebones when it comes to exposition, leaving me rather in the dark on the world beyond the gods. The same fog of war extends to the characters, many of whom feel a little flat. I didn't get the sense of light and dark in the same people that Stephens targeted with Godblind and was, if anything, surprised at how Whitehat v Blackhat it felt.
The worst part is that, without understanding the world and character logic, I frequently became exasperated by their decisions. Team Whitehat felt foolish, Team Blackhat felt too competent. The above paragraph are things that didn't affect my enjoyment. This part of it did in a major way. Although I think part of it is less me not understanding and more me disagreeing. One character seemed to win non-stop without trying and with only the most cosmetic setbacks, and regardless of internal logic, that's never a fun read for me.
So how is Godblind going to work out for other people? Well, I cheated here a little. Unsure of whether I'd missed something I went and looked at Goodreads reviews after I read it, and a lot of what I said here echoes what others have said. As such, I feel pretty safe in saying that people who like their fantasy to have that in-depth feeling have a good chance of not liking this book. People who are mainly looking for a high octane adventure full of blood and thunder are in the right place though.
Myself? Well, I'm still not utterly sure. For me Godblind was a curate's egg. But what was good, was good indeed.
And yes, that is my idea of a negative review. Savage I know. I am indeed utterly wet and a weed.