The Broken God

The Broken God
Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
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“The Broken God” is the third book of “The Black Iron Legacy” fantasy series by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. This review will contain spoilers to the first two books because I can’t write anything of essence without it, so if you haven’t started this series yet, I advise you to go and read my review of “The Gutter Prayer” first, and then decide if you want to read it.

Every book in “The Black Iron Legacy” has a different central theme. “The Gutter Prayer” mainly evolved around a heist and took place in Guerdon, with only minor mentions of what is happening outside the city. “The Shadow Saint” focused on politics, elections and trying to get ready for inevitably incoming threat. Finally, “The Broken God” is the damage control after the worst imaginable disaster already happened. Each volume is focused on a different set of characters that slowly show us the enormous wealth of the world that the author has created. I love that with every book, we got pulled into this expanding world more.

This series is very peculiar for me. It is not a quick read. I usually spent a week or two with those books, slowly making my way through the complicated and complex storylines. It doesn’t keep me on the edge of my seat the whole time (except the endings, as those are always highly gripping and epic), and I don’t love the characters so much that I would cry for them. And yet, I still love reading them! I come back to Guerdon repeatedly with every new book to see what crazy mess is happening now.

“The Black Iron Legacy” is one of my favourite series when it comes to world-building. It is dark, unprecedently imaginative and simply stunning. The main attractions include the mad gods, corpse-eating ghouls, evil sorcerers made of worms, a magical city that is alive, crazy alchemist and their horrible creations. And dragons, let’s not forget the dragons, who are mainly pirates. I couldn’t not fell in love with this world!

Moving on to the “The Broken God” itself. This time we follow Cari, who leaves Guerdon in a quest to make sure her friend Spar survives in whatever form was left for him. But in the meantime, Guerdon must face its internal troubles. With the fragile Armistice, life in the city is almost unbearable for ordinary people. The whole place is divided into three occupation zones controlled by Ishmere with their mad gods, Haith with their undead and Lyrix with their dragons. This book mostly features the last fraction, as one of the protagonists is Rasce, the chosen of the dragon and prince of Ghierdana. Spar, who is fading into oblivion while Cari is away, forms a bond with Rasce, who swiftly uses his newly acquired saint powers. It causes no end of trouble for poor Eladora, who is prepared to do everything to keep the Armistice in place. The last protagonist is Baston, a thief of the Brotherhood who used to be Spar’s friend and now has a hard time finding his place in the new Guerdon, so he eventually ends up supporting Ghierdana.

The book starts on a slow note, and it takes time to get to know a primarily new cast of characters, but after few first chapters, we are pulled into the dark world of intrigues and never-ending struggles for power. And the thing is, it’s hard to say who should we cheer for, as not one party has good intentions.

I immensely enjoyed another visit to Guerdon, and once again, I was left wanting more and looking forward to the next book.