A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

The beloved author of The Faithful and the Fallen series, John Gwynne, has just released the first book of his new series – A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1), on the 11th of January 2018, and if you have any Christmas gift cards left, make sure to purchase the book as soon as possible!

I haven’t read his first series but was lucky enough to receive the ARC of A Time of Dread from NetGalley and Pan Macmillan. Thank you for giving me this chance to finally familiarize myself with John Gwynne’s writing and completely fall in love with magical and dangerous world of the Banished Lands.

34392663The Ben-Elim, a fierce race of warrior-angels, burst into the Banished Lands over a hundred and thirty years ago. They were in pursuit of their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim demon-horde. On that day a great battle was fought, the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim joined by allies from the races of both men and giants, and a great victory was won.

Now much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim, who have made this world their home, extending their influence and power as they swallow ancient kingdoms into the protective grasp of their ever-extending borders. But peace is fragile within the realm and the Kadoshim that remain are now amassing on the edges of the empire….

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The list of epic fantasy books that I’ve read isn’t long, not because I don’t like the genre, I do, but because it is so difficult to find the series that would captivate me from the very beginning. I am still struggling through the second book of the Game of Thrones and think I will probably just give up on it at some point and stick to the TV show.

In A Time of Dread we follow a wide array of characters, all of them interesting in their own way:

  • Bleda from Sirak Horse Clan who was taken by the Ben-Elim when he was little and raised as their ward;
  • Drem and his father Olin, who had many secrets to share with his son;
  • Riv, daughter of Dalmae, who was training to become one of the White-Wing of Drassil;
  • Sig, a giant and weapon master of Dun Seren.

And of course there is a big focus on the battle between the Ben-Elim and the Kadoshim.

                          Two thousand years our battleground was the Otherworld, that place of spirit, where all things are eternal. And then, little over a century ago, we saw the fulfillment of our long-crafted plan, to break into this world of flesh, to become flesh, so that we might wage war upon Elyon’s creation, mankind (…)

As you can see for yourself, John Gwynne’s writing is magnificent, it pulls you right into the whirlwind of the events, it unravels the deepest secrets of the worlds and it keeps you glued to the pages, wanting to find out if the characters, that you grew so fond of, would overcome the dangers of the Banished Lands.

At some point, I imagine, our character’s paths will cross, but for now I was really enjoying to read about where they came from and what they are up to. My absolute favourite arc was about Drem. He was just such an easy character to root for! Kind, brave and quite intelligent, he will be destined for great things.

Riv’s arc was very interesting as well, her inner battles, trying to overcome intense emotions, and I am excited to see how her story unravels in the next installments.

My rating:


Have you read any of John Gwynne’s books? Are you in love with his writing as much as I am? Let me know in the comments!

With love, Alex

10 thoughts on “A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

  1. I keep seeing this book around at the moment and the only thing stopping me getting it was that I haven’t read the first series by this author so seeing in your review that you hadn’t either makes me think I should just go for it, because it sounds really good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Drew here is the expert when it comes to the Faithful and the Fallen series 🙂 But even without reading that series, there was just enough information about the world to not have the feeling like I missed something.
      I think people who read and loved the first series will have a little bit different experience, nostalgia of getting back into the world they already love so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gwynne’s previous series, The Faithful and the Fallen is my all-time favourite fantasy series.👌📚 You definitely need to check it out! I’m yet to read A Time of Dread, been busy and I want the chance to be able to devour it so I’m waiting until I get a few free days to do just that.😂 Read nothing but praise for it though and can’t wait.👌

    Fantastic review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t feel bad about GoT, I love fantasy (it is basically the only thing I read) but I haven’t been able to get into those books. Gave the TV series 4 episodes before I gave up and then read the first book (pushed myself though it). It just didn’t catch my interest at all.

    This book however, you have my interest peaked. Thank you for bringing it to my attention^^


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