Today on the blog, I’m participating in another BBNYA blog tour hosted by The Write Reads! And this one is featuring one of my favorite reads as a panelist, a complex and humorous fantasy that I ate up: Shadows of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire! First, let me tell you a bit more about the Book Blogger Novel of the Year Award.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.
The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!
As a note, I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. Now, let’s get into the post!
It was only supposed to be one little job – a simple curse-breaking for Mennik Thorn to pay back a favour to his oldest friend. But then it all blew up in his face. Now he’s been framed for a murder he didn’t commit.
So how is a second-rate mage, broke, traumatized, and with a habit of annoying the wrong people, supposed to prove his innocence when everyone believes he’s guilty?
Mennik has no choice if he wants to get out of this: he is going to have to throw himself into the corrupt world of the city’s high mages, a world he fled years ago. Faced by supernatural beasts, the mage-killing Ash Guard, and a ruthless, unknown adversary, it’s going to take every trick Mennik can summon just to keep him and his friend alive.
But a new, dark power is rising in Agatos, and all that stands in its way is one damaged mage…
Third place in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2020 (SPFBO6)
Finalist in the Book Bloggers’ Book of the Year Award (BBNYA) 2021
Shortlisted for the Booknest Fantasy Award Best Self-published Novel 2020
About the Author
Patrick Samphire is the author of the adult fantasy novel SHADOW OF A DEAD GOD, as well as the middle grade novels SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB and THE EMPEROR OF MARS. He has also published around twenty short stories and novellas.
Patrick has been writing stories since he was fourteen years old and thought it would be a good way of avoiding having to sit through English lessons at school. He was absolutely convinced that he would be famous by the time he was eighteen, but sadly, even infamy has eluded him.
He lives in Wales, surrounded by mountains, with his wife, their sons, and their cat.
When he’s not writing, he designs websites and ebooks.
You all probably know by now that I am a character driven reader. I need a book to have great characters for me to really get sucked into a story. So imagine my glee when I picked up this fantasy novel with crafty world-building and an intense plot and got a healthy dose of fantastic characters on top!
This story follows a mage named Mennik or Nik to his friends. And a far few of his enemies which he starts racking up at an alarming rate after a robbery gone wrong. Nik soon finds himself in the middle of a plot that threatens not only the entire city of Agatos but the very few people he actually cares about. Now he has to dive back into the world of the high mages, a world he forsook a long time ago for good reason, to help save the people he loves and his threadbare reputation.
As mentioned above, Shadow of a Dead God has a lot of things going for it, but my favorite aspect has to be the characters. Mennik is such an interesting protagonist! He is a good guy who does a fair number of not so great things. He’s trying to make his way in Agatos as a freelance mage because he doesn’t like the politics that go with the more legitimate magical work. He does some fairly shady stuff just to stay alive, but you can tell he has a good heart. I love how loyal he is to his friends (…friend… singular) and how much he is truly trying to live by his own moral code. He’s a wonderfully nuanced character who has a wit that made me laugh out loud more than once. Do you like dry humor? You’re gonna love Nik 😂 Though I’m waxing poetic about how much I enjoyed Mennik as a main character, I feel like all the characters in this novel are equally well written. Like Sereh? I would like an entire novel just about Sereh, please and thank you!
Beyond the incredible characters that populate this story, Patrick Samphire has also created a world that is complex and fascinating. The world-building in this is top-notch, especially considering the fact there is a lot of world to build. I thought the concept of magic coming from the literal bodies of dead gods was such a unique take. I also loved the descriptions of the city and it’s populace. It pulled me fully into the story and made me want to learn more! There were rare moments when I felt like information was getting piled on to me, but they were few and far between. Overall, I think the author did a great job of weaving the lore into the narrative seamlessly.
I also loved all the political intrigue in this book! The high mages, the people in charge of the city, and everyone in between all seem to be caught up in a complex web. It’s fascinating watching Nik getting tangled up in it, as well! I do love a fantasy that has some complex politics going on in the background and this novel had that in spades. It certainly added to an already pretty fascinating and well-paced plot. I found myself completely caught up in the story and was sad when it was over!
Final thoughts: If you’re looking for a fantasy novel featuring a unique magic system, excellent world-building, and an intriguing protagonist that can make you laugh out loud, I think this is the book for you! I had so much fun reading this well-paced novel and it’s almost completely because I loved the main character so much. Mennik is witty, smart, and loyal and it was so much fun following his story. Add to that a healthy dose of political intrigue and page-turning action and you’ve got yourself a great start to a fantasy series!