The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Gutter Prayer has a wonderfully balanced mix of worldbuilding, grimdark sensibilities, striking characters, and a huge blowout of an ending. Between an interesting race of Ghouls who get power from eating the dead, to men who are slowly, horribly turning into stone, or from an extremely fascinating history filled with old gods (and an extremely interesting setup and rule-orientation for them), overall, I thought this novel was a pretty decent epic-fantasy setup. There are many other details, of course, but I really latched on to these.
But the novel isn't merely a cool collection of interesting ideas. The characters are solid and interesting. The worldbuilding in particular tickled all my fancies. But above all, it is the balance between all these aspects, including pacing, reversals, and steady ramp-up to a huge ending, that made me take notice. I really appreciate how the author came from the gaming industry. It serves him in good stead.
So far, I'm quite pleased with the turnout here. I'm really curious to see how it takes the reveals in new directions, or if it does, in the next.
Those damn old gods... :)
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