Book Review : The Discord of Gods

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 : The Discord of GodsThe Discord of Gods (A Chorus of Dragons, #5) by Jenn Lyons
Published by Tor Books on April 26th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ
Pages: 528
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three-stars
Source: NetGalley

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons's Chorus of Dragon series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss.
The end times have come.
Relos Var's final plans to enslave the universe are on the cusp of fruition. He believes there's only one being in existence that might be able to stop him: the demon Xaltorath.
As these two masterminds circle each other, neither is paying attention to the third player on the board, Kihrin. Unfortunately, keeping himself classified in the "pawn" category means Kihrin must pretend to be everything the prophecies threatened he'd become: the destroyer of all, the sun eater, a mindless, remorseless plague upon the land. It also means finding an excuse to not destroy the people he loves (or any of the remaining Immortals) without arousing suspicion.
Kihrin's goals are complicated by the fact that not all of his "act" is one. His intentions may be sincere, but he's still being forced to grapple with the aftereffects of the corrupted magic ritual that twisted both him and the dragons. Worse, he's now tied to a body that is the literal avatar of a star - a form that is becoming increasingly, catastrophically unstable. All of which means he's running out of time.
After all, some stars fade - but others explode.

 

The Discord of Gods is a fast-paced and fitting conclusion to the A Chorus of Dragons series. The novel features many of the hallmarks of the series, the insanely complex character connections and relationships, the wit and the banter, and a whole lot of gods, god-kings, and dragons running amok. Though The Discord of Gods wraps up the series, it doesn’t exactly tie everything up neatly in a bow. While I can respect that this ending is rather fitting for a series with messy relationships, backgrounds, and identities, I found it left me feeling like it was incomplete.

 

Perhaps most out of character for this series, is that The Discord of Gods is a very linear and straightforward story. There is no story within a story or both first and third person. Instead, The Discord of Gods is a fairly typical narrative, which I found both a relief, and surprisingly, a bit of a disappointment. The most out of the norm storytelling feature of The Discord of Gods is characters squabbling over petty details in the footnotes. I’ve never really cared for all the footnotes in the series to begin with, so I was less than enthused with these small diatribes in The Discord of Gods. And after fighting through the strange narrative frameworks in the other entries in the series, which included different timelines of the same character told in different point-of-views, and other novels which included a story being recounted to our narrator who was also narrating, I found it a bit unexpectedly lackluster to have a “normal” fantasy narrative, which jumped from character to character. But maybe this decision to scale back the story-within-a-story was in response to just how positively confusing the narrative in the previous entry in the series, The House of Always was. Regardless, I was surprised by how little I had to “work” to make sense of what was going on in this novel.

 

By far my favorite perspective in The Discord of Gods was that of Emperor Tyentso’s. I love this woman—she’s sassy, confident, unapologetic, and capable. I was absolutely thrilled that she’s given a lot more “page time,” so to speak, in this novel. One thing I’ve loved continually throughout this series is author Jenn Lyons’s ability to write realistic banter between characters, and this wit leaps off the page through Tyentso. I think this humor has really been an essential part of the series throughout, especially due to the often heavy topics of slavery, genocide, godhood, family murder, past lives, betrayal and more.

 

Though The Discord of Gods is no exception to this brand of the humor, I do feel like that because the novel is so fast-paced and not over-encumbered by sticking to an oddball storytelling method or three, that there wasn’t nearly as much character development—there simply wasn’t any time for it. Instead, the novel hurtles toward its conclusion, with everyone mostly magically getting along because of the fact that they have much more pressing issues with which to deal. This breakneck speed makes for an exciting read that is hard to put down, but it also is unsatisfying in that certain revelations or events aren’t given the time or the weight they deserve as a result. Things happen, are dealt with, and then it’s simply on to the next catastrophe.

 

Unfortunately, I found that this way of handling the subject matter rendered me unable to feel very much tension or other emotion over situations for the characters. I knew that a solution would be found and things would be dealt with and another issue would arise that would likewise be solved—even if it completely undid previous, constantly explained (think “beating a dead horse” explained), solutions in the blink of an eye. It was a little bit frustrating, and I soon learned to just go along for the ride of the novel, without getting too attached to any one solution, method, or character.

 

Once The Discord of Gods is done hurtling to its final confrontation, it rather abruptly ends, with what feels like extremely little fanfare. It’s almost as if the author forgot that this was a conclusion to a five book series, spanning over 2,842 pages, and thought she was just finishing up another entry in said series, with a follow up already on the way. I thought surely there would be a long epilogue or an after the battle time-skip, like many other fantasy series, detailing where the characters ended up and what they were doing after the big confrontation that the series was building up to this entire time. I couldn’t help but feel very disappointed that there wasn’t more exposition, especially since certain characters never even return in the after-battle scenes, leaving me wondering what the heck happened to them.

 

It was like all the work was put in to get to the final confrontation and not put into the characters doing the actual saving of said world. And sadly, this final confrontation ended so quickly after so many other and longer battles, that I found myself asking, “That’s it? It’s really over?” I honestly expected The Big Bad to come back in yet another form and was rather perturbed when he did not. Though I expected to be sad or emotional that one of my favorite series was coming to an end, I was surprised that I just mainly felt disbelief.

 

As the characters are what kept me coming back to the series, I felt saddened that they weren’t really given the time and conclusions I felt they all deserved. Despite this, I can’t help but wonder if this lack of a neat, wrapped up ending for each of the characters and their own struggles points to a sequel series, which will detail these things further. I just felt that too many things were left unresolved for my liking, and though that is in keeping with the nontraditional nature of this series and its willful blind eye to the “rules,” I would not be at all surprised if the author purposefully left her ending rather open in order to return to her world and its characters again in another saga. And I will say that The Discord of Gods, does seem to hint that more content is on the horizon.

 

Reading the entirety of A Chorus of Dragons has been an altogether unique experience—I’ve never read anything quite like this series. With its focus on past lives, extremely interconnected relations, and nontraditional storytelling methods, I often felt confused and overwhelmed. There were never enough family trees, appendixes, or charts to help me keep track of everything. Despite always feeling out of my league when reading this series, I always enjoyed the challenge of reading the books, their magic system, their humor, and their characters, whom I loved—even the villains—and always found myself reaching for the next installments. Though I think The Discord of Gods is a fitting end to an often puzzling series, if I don’t view it with the possible lens that more content is coming, I find it rushed, anticlimactic, and disappointing. That being said, if there are future entries to the series or a spiritual successor, I’ll undoubtedly read them.

 

 

three-stars
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Book Review : The Discord of Gods - Blogging with Dragons

Posted March 8, 2022 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

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