#SPFBO The Gods of Men (The Gods of Men #1) by Barbara Kloss

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TheGodsofMenThe Gods of Men is the seventh finalist I’ve read as part of the SPFBO and brings to us a story of two people, with very different backgrounds, thrown together by need and both with secrets about their true identity.

The story begins with an introduction to a young girl, Imari, as she waits to perform a musical number for guests at an event, unfortunately, the performance is a little more powerful than anticipated.  It seems that Imari is capable of wielding magic and her lack of control or knowledge proves fatal and she is forced to flee.

We then jump forward ten years.  Imari lives under the alias Sable and works as a healer in a harsh place appropriately named the Wilds.  She takes risks to help others in some desperate attempt to redeem herself but it seems that she is drawing the wrong sort of attention and her life is about to once again take a dramatic turn forcing her to flee her home for the second time.

Jeric is a prince, second in line to the Corinthian throne, he has become a ruthless killing machine in the war against magic.  He is known as the Wolf and has killed many in his pursuit to seemingly wipe out a race of people.  His latest mission however sends him into the Wilds in search of a healer for his sick father.  I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers by saying the healer in question is Sable and the two are forced into an unlikely coupling as events come to a dramatic head and Sable is forced to flee the Wilds with Jeric (or Jos as he is known for much of the novel) her only protection.

Now, obviously a large part of this story focuses on Sable and Jos and clearly this takes a romantic turn, but, I have to say that this is a budding romance that is very well done.  There is no insta love here I’m pleased to say and the interactions between the two feels frayed by the tension they have through the need for secrecy and the dislike and distrust the two have for each other which is countered by the simple desire they feel creating an enjoyable chemistry on page.  I guess the obvious comparison here is Romeo and Juliet.  Sable and Jos are two characters that couldn’t be further apart and would in fact be likely to despise each other if their identities were immediately known.  As it is, their time running from danger allows them time to see things differently and to break down their own fierce prejudices.  In fact it gave me Pride and Prejudice vibes in that respect – although to be clear – this isn’t like that particular book in any other respect than the breaking down of barriers and the eventual seeing of things from another’s pov.

In terms of the world building.  I thought this was quite well done in terms of coming through easily during the read as opposed to huge info dumps – but, I felt I would have liked a little more information.  I wouldn’t say that I felt I had a firm grip of the whys and wherefores about the place itself or a really solid picture in my mind of the different people, their religions and the history between them although that could be down to me not taking things on board or missing things.

The characters.  Primarily we focus on the central pairing but there are others, namely the villains of the piece.  Jos’s brother for example who is cruel and manipulative, he uses his younger brother quite ruthlessly and is something of a nasty piece and it’s very easy to dislike him.  There are a number of other dark characters with their own motivations but I’m going to leave readers to discover them along the way – although I would give a quick mention to the Shades -which are a particularly nasty type of critter living outside the villages.  Very violent and poisonous and only prevented from creating havoc by magical wards placed around the outer boundaries that stop their entry.

Gods of Men is a book that I enjoyed but with a few reservations.  Firstly, I was a little bit disappointed that the initial story jumped forward so quickly. I would have liked to know something more of Imari’s time before she progressed to a healer known as Sable – but that’s only a small quibble really and not a deal breaker at all.  Jeric was a character that I struggled with a little bit to be honest.  I didn’t dislike him in some respects and obviously he has a story of his own that is gradually revealed but I struggled with a couple of things.  Firstly, he’s almost invincible, an excellent tracker and fighter by all accounts and yet I didn’t really feel that his abilities were convincing.  It felt a little like I was being told he was ‘brilliant’ rather than it coming across on the page.  And then there’s his own hatred of a race of people that he seems determined to eliminate single handedly.  Now, there is a reasoning behind this that will be revealed as the story progresses but I just found it difficult to reconcile ever really liking him when I couldn’t help think of all the people he had killed so ruthlessly.  Now, in some respects this conflict makes him a really good character to read about and also gives his character the chance for a very good story arc but I think he needed more internal conflict and regret to make that really plausible.

To be honest, I think Gods of Men is a very good start to series and definitely one I would recommend.  I did have some issues with it but nothing that would prevent me from continuing with the series as I think there’s still a lot left to explore.

I would rate this book 7.5 out of 10 for the purposes of the competition which equates to just over 3.5 out of 5 on Goodreads.

 

 

13 Responses to “#SPFBO The Gods of Men (The Gods of Men #1) by Barbara Kloss”

  1. Tammy

    This sounds quite good, and it’s always a bonus when you end the book wanting to read the sequel😊

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, I would definitely like to read more. I had a few reservations but I’m keen to move forward.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Paul's Picks

    This one is on my TBR… I’m happy to read your review. Looks good!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was good to be honest and I definitely want to read more.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    There seems to be a great deal of promise in this story, despite the few “hiccups” that you mentioned. A series to keep on one’s radar, indeed . 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Very promising in terms of what comes next and a good read overall with just a few issues.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Time jumps ahead, especially near the beginning, are always tricky. I read a book like that once, and it was really hard for the story to recover. It doesn’t sound too bad here though. Interesting concept.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is a good book – the time jump grated on my a little – I wanted to know more of the struggle and thought it would have helped with the character development but I’m still keen to read the second.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    Wait, does this have music magic? Or is it just magic unleashed *during* a musical performance? (I’m very desperate to see more music magic in fantasy :D) This sounds like a fun read, overall!

    • @lynnsbooks

      This does have music magic – so you might very well like it. I did and want to read more even with a few reservations initially.
      Lynn 😀

  6. waytoofantasy

    I have heard good things about this one but I don’t anything sold me on it until now! I’m all about relationships between characters and character arcs and such so this sounds right up my alley.

  7. @lynnsbooks

    I think it might be one you enjoy tbh.
    Lynn 😀

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