Book Review : Sunbringer

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review : SunbringerSunbringer (Fallen Gods, #2) by Hannah Kaner
Published by HarperVoyager on March 12, 2024
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop.org
Find on Goodreads
three-stars
Source: NetGalley

Return to the world of Godkiller in this thrilling sequel to the #1 internationally bestselling fantasy debut

When Middren falls to the gods, your kind will be the first to die.

Gods are forbidden in the kingdom of Middren—but now they are stirring, whispering of war. Godkiller Kissen sacrificed herself to vanquish the fire god Hseth, who murdered her family and endangered her friends. But gods cannot be destroyed so easily, and Hseth’s power threatens to reform with even greater strength and a thirst for vengeance. As tensions rise throughout the land, the kingdom needs its Godkiller more than ever.

Still reeling from the loss of Kissen, young noble Inara and her little god of white lies, Skedi, have set out to discover more about the true nature of their bond. As the divide between gods and humans widens, Inara and Skedi will uncover secrets that could determine the fate of the war to come.

Meanwhile, Elogast, no longer a loyal knight of King Arren, has been tasked with killing the man he once called friend. The king vowed to eradicate all gods throughout the land, but has now entered into an unholy pact with the most dangerous of them all. And where his heart once beat, a god now burns. . .

Godkiller, the predecessor to Sunbringer, was a five star read for me and one of my favorite books of 2023. So I was absolutely desperate to get my hands on the follow-up, Sunbringer, especially because Godkiller ended on a cliffhanger. Thankfully, readers don’t have long to wait and find out what happened to all of the characters after Godkiller’s cliffhanger ending in the very beginning of the book through rotating character perspectives.

 

Sunbringer is incredibly fast-paced for about the first ten percent of the novel. While the book starts off fast, it slows to a meandering march towards an unclear goal. This is a novel where much of the page space is dedicated to characters discussing the next course of action, a single character doing the opposite of what was agreed upon, and everyone else dealing with the consequences of that action. This happens over and over again in the novel. It feels like nothing is ever really happening until the last 70 percent of the book and suddenly so much is happening that the contrast is overwhelming.

The ending of Sunbringer, with its tightly-written and constant action felt more like Godkiller, which didn’t have a single wasted moment. I was surprised by how slow the rest of the novel felt and it actually took me a surprising amount of time to read the entirety of it. But I wasn’t only shocked by the slower pace, but by the content of the novel, which felt like the author had played a reverse uno card. In Godkiller, most of the main cast were against the gods, or at least severely opinionated that their involvement in the affairs of mortals meant nothing but trouble. In Sunbringer, suddenly everyone in the cast is working with gods, doing their bidding, and trying to save them from extinction.

“In a land that had banned worship of gods, the king was filling their spaces.”


Personally, I really loved to see Sunbringer move in this direction because the gods are by far my favorite part of this series. We never really got to see what life was like before the outlaw of the worship of gods, so it was interesting to have a window into what that world would have looked like. Though I liked the characters turning to the gods and trying to aid them in saving their world, I don’t feel there was quite a big enough catalyst for the change in everyone’s opinion on them. This was especially true of Kissen, who I feel did not take much encouragement at all to see the reasoning of the gods beseeching her for help and to take up their plan of action, despite her entire occupation as a veiga, or godkiller, and her strong personal beliefs.

Similarly, decisions with heavy impact and emotional weight were also undone almost immediately, sometimes mere pages after the original event happened. This gave me a bit of a whiplash, but I wasn’t too upset about these moments getting resolved so quickly, as I love the characters and don’t want anything irrevocably bad to happen to them. So while I was actually relieved not to have to live in suspense after these heart wrenching instances, I recognize that resolving them so quickly left something to be desired from a writing standpoint.

 

“‘I only want to protect you, Ina,’ said Elo gently. ‘I didn’t ask for your protection. I asked you for vengeance.'”


In Godkiller, Kissen and Skedi were my favorite characters, but in Sunbringer, I came to really appreciate reading from another character’s perspective—Inara’s. Her decisions, though rash, made the most sense to me out of all of the characters, as they were really in line with an angry young woman who wants vengeance. I really enjoyed this determined young woman coming into her own and making her own decisions, even when they aren’t the right ones.  I was also very excited about a plot twist that I didn’t see coming and how it will affect Inara’s growth in the next book in the series. And though I wasn’t the biggest fan of reading from Elogast’s perspective in Sunbringer, simply because war planning is not my favorite thing to read about, I actually really liked his character growth and thought it was one of the better arcs in the novel.

 

Ultimately, Sunbringer felt like a bridge for the next book in the series, rather than its own whole, self-contained story. I feel like the events of the novel could have been edited down and tacked onto the end of Godkiller or the beginning of a second book in a duology for a much faster, tighter plot that was more in line with Godkiller’s writing. Despite being skeptical that this series really needed to be a trilogy, I truly love the characters and the unique world-building, so I am still very excited to see how it all ends and will be reading the next book in the series on day one.

three-stars
Divider
Book Review : Sunbringer - Blogging with Dragons

Posted February 23, 2024 in ARCS, Book Reviews, Fantasy

Tags: , ,

4 responses to “Book Review : Sunbringer

  1. Too bad this didn’t live up to the first book. One of my pet peeves is characters who stand around talking about what they’re going to do and never doing it?

Geek Out:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.