The Godless by Ben Peek

Posted On 18 August 2014

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Just finished reading The Godless which I have to say I enjoyed.  This book is described as epic and I can see why. The scope here certainly justifies that description.

Set in a world where the Gods are dying following war with each other, their bodies now lie beneath the oceans, in the forests and under mountain ranges.  One of these Gods, Ger, lies dying beneath a mountain range that the city of Mireea is nestled up against.  The inhabitants of the city of Mireea are known as the Godless.  They little believe in deities as they go about the hustle and bustle of their busy working lives.  However, in spite of their lack of faith nothing can alter the fact that a God lies in the final throes of death beneath their city, his power leeching out through the earth infecting some of the residents with power.  Known as the cursed, when their powers manifest, these people are shunned, despised and feared by the people of Mireea.

In the City of Leera a different story is unfolding.  There an army gathers, driven by their faith they aim to march upon the trading post of Mireea and reclaim the God that lies there.  Not everything is as it seems and strange blood magic seems to play a role.

This story is much more than a potential war between two cities however.  There are vast amounts of history to be revealed during the course of the story and a number of revelations.  I won’t deny that Peek throws you into the story without so much as a lifeline.  He takes the approach of dropping you into the deep end and hoping that you’ll learn fast or sink deep.  I quite like this although won’t deny there were places that I was puzzled and had to back track for the purpose of clarity.  That being said, and whilst not everything has yet been declared, the various strands come together very satisfactorily.

There are a number of central characters.  Ayae, who at the start of the book is attacked by a reanimated member of the recently dead and thrown into the body of a blazing fire – from which she emerges unscathed.  Her life is turned upside down immediately as the people of the city find out and shun her.  She also becomes the immediate focus for a number of others.  Zaifyr, a warded man, solitary and feared and yet drawn inexplicably to help Ayae.  Fo and Bau who are sent to Mireea from the City of Eflam – they are keepers of the divine – and they would try to help Ayae come to terms with her new found abilities.  The one thing that all three have in common is their power and immortality.  Each having lived for hundreds of years, each bearing different curses and each with a different agenda.  Are they Gods in the making??

We also make the acquaintance of Bueralan.  Formerly a member of the nobility before being exiled and resorting to the life of a mercenary and saboteur.  Bueralan leads a fearsome cast of not to be messed with mercenaries.  He’s going to find himself leading a mission accompanied by a mysterious character who we still know little about.  Samuel Orlan.  He’s a cartographer, Ayae his apprentice.  The name Orlan is eventually passed on to the apprentice who becomes the next in line to wear the mantle.  Now, i freely admit that I don’t really know what is going on with Mr Orlan.  He really is a mystery.  I’m not sure whether that’s in a good way or not or whether he’s one of those characters that float through fantasy novels playing a meaningful role whilst not being aligned to either side?  It remains to be discovered.

There is a lot to be taken in although I’ve barely skimmed the surface here and frankly I can’t really do it justice without writing an essay!  And, I will make clear that this is not a novel to be raced through.  You need to read it thoroughly and digest slowly.  

In terms of criticisms – well, I can’t deny there’s a lot to take in.  The plot does jump about a little also going further back in time to give a person’s history and the whole deity/would-be God elements are still a little puzzling but I think it’s worth the effort and I look forward to the next instalment to see where Peek takes this next.

I received a copy of this courtesy of the publishers through Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.

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14 Responses to “The Godless by Ben Peek”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I love it when I see a book I’m about to read has good reviews from others, I better bump this up 🙂 And I can see why there would be a lot to take in, the book is huge!

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it took me a while to get through it to be honest because it’s definitely not a quick read – not for me at least anyways and I admit there were parts I was puzzled about but now I’ve finished I find myself thinking about it and connecting more of the dots. I like it when a book still has hold of me after I put it down.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Nathan

    Huh, dying gods? Didn’t this topic just come up on twitter? I like dying gods, how did I miss this? I LOVE DYING GODS.

    • lynnsbooks

      I actually wondered if you were reading this and had it in mind when I saw your tweet. I enjoyed this – it has a lot going on.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Tammy Sparks

    I actually started this a couple of weeks ago and then put it down to read something else. Although I am going to finish it, it just didn’t grab me right away. I’m very happy to have read your review, which has inspired me to get going and finish it!

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, it’s definitely not a quick read and I confess I had to go back and check out a few things (although my kindle copy wasn’t perfectly fit to the page for some reason which made it tricky as well – but it’s an arc after all!) I did enjoy it though once I got into it and I’m definitely going to continue with the series.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I’ve not heard of this one. And have to say, I love it when you can tell a character has real impact on the story, but really are unsure what their role is (what side they are on… if they are on a side even)

    • lynnsbooks

      Yes, Samuel is something of a mystery and I can’t make my mind up about him yet!
      Lynn 😀

  5. Danya @ Fine Print

    I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole faithful vs. faithless conflict in SFF, but I *am* a fan of dying gods! Does that sound terrible? 😉 The idea that some once-human characters could be gods in the making is awesome. I’m liking the sound of this book more and more, except for the massive page count!

    • lynnsbooks

      Yes, it is epic. I enjoyed it though and it didn’t feel like a tough slog – although it also didn’t feel like a fast read but I think that’s because there’s a lot to be absorbed (or maybe I’ve just got a very tiny brain and short term memory!) The faithful and the faithless in the story is quite an unusual concept. Not to give too much away – one city has completely forgotten about the dying God. It’s not like they’ve spurned religion or lost faith of something but more that the gods have been dead or dying for over a thousand years and I suppose they’ve actually forgotten about him. The other city – they’re a different story. They come across as zealots and it’s difficult to understand why at first but there is a reason behind it which is eventually revealed. It’s definitely not a preachy type of book – which I’m glad about.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    I think the time jumping might take some getting used to for me but I’m so excited that I expect a copy to arrive any day! It really does sound epic. Hopefully I can handle all the various characters.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it took me a while! But I did really like it so obviously I caught on in the end.
      Lynn 😀

  7. London, Returned | Ben Peek

    […] the book. If you’re curious, you can check out a few here at the Bookonaut, the Book Plank, Lynn’s Book Blog, Gizzimomo’s Bookshelf, and A Fantastical Librarian. As always, there’s some people who […]

  8. Two Dudes in an Attic

    This sounds like fun. I’d better put it on my Goodreads list before I forget.

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