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on 14 April 2008
So much better than the first book of the series. Excellent book with lots of questions to be answered. Which side will win and who realy are the bad guys. All the usual qualities of a Carey book. The only regret is the exeptionally long wait for the final book of the series
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The land of Urulat is about to see the end of a conflict thousands of years old. The machinations of Satoris the Sower have been exposed and the would-be King of the West, Aracus Altorus, advised by the Wise Counsellor Malthus, has raised a mighty host to assault Darkhaven and rescued his beloved, Cerelinde of the Ellylon. It falls to Satoris' most loyal servants, the Three, to prepare his defence. But whilst great armies ready for the clash, it falls to two of the humble desert-people to find their way into Darkhaven and strike the blow that will render Satoris truly vulnerable.

Godslayer is the second and final novel in The Sundering, a duology that studies and subverts the traditional epic fantasy paradigm as established by Tolkien. Like its forebear, Banewreaker, Godslayer is an epic tragedy, closely based on events and characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but at every turn analysing deeply every character's motivation. As Satoris ponders, does it matter that you are not evil if everyone else believes that you are?

This premise allows Carey to examine many themes and ideas, such as propaganda (Malthus/Gandalf as a sort-of Goebbels for the 'good guys' is an interesting take), destiny and the cyclical nature of history: just as Morgoth was cast down but his servant Sauron was overlooked, allowing him to return later, so Satoris has his own lieutenants who stand poised to inherit his mantle. These ideas are rooted in strong characterisation, particularly of Tanaros and Cerelinde, though other characters also come to the fore.

Godslayer suffers from some minor issues. The story is inherently predictable, once you realise what Carey is doing. Also problematic is that The Sundering is one novel split in two for publication (itself appropriate, since The Lord of the Rings was originally published as three volumes; the fact that Carey tells as epic a story in considerably less pages may itself before a comment on the fantasy genre), meaning that the two books do not stand well alone. Since both are available now and you can read from one into the next without a problem, this is not as much of an issue as when the book was newly-released.

On the plus side, this is a clever and thoughtful conclusion to the series. Through authors such as Bakker and Erikson, epic fantasy has of late been more and more interrogating itself and asking hard questions about its underlying assumptions, but Carey does the same here a lot more concisely. Carey also delivers a story that is an emotionally powerful tragedy. The opposing factions cannot agree on anything and good men on both sides die needlessly as a result of mistakes made thousands of years earlier. The reader becomes as frustrated as the characters do at the ongoing carnage that is only happening at the whim of the proud and long-absent gods.

Godslayer (****) is a worthy conclusion to this duology that questions the conservative nature of much epic fantasy and finds it wanting, as well as delivering a powerful and tragic tale in its own right. The book is available now in the USA and on import in the UK.
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on 16 June 2011
The basic premise of this book - what if Sauron from The Lord of The Rings wasn't such a bad guy after all - could easily have been just a mildly diverting idea however the author succeeds in making this only the first step in an interesting and enjoyable story.

Other fantasy books with similar genre-bending ideas (orcs are good, elves are bad etc.) often tend to be quite badly written however in this instance, although you can spot the obvious LOTR references (there is a Frodo character, a Gandalf and so on), the writing is good enough that this becomes a tool rather than a crutch.

Having read LOTR, I came to appreciate the way it cast an ominous shadow over the proceedings in Godslayer (and the preceding Banewreaker) and I felt that having some idea of the probable outcome added a certain unique flavour. Despite this, it never seemed that the story was a forgone conclusion.

Well worth a try.
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on 29 June 2014
Enjoyed the book though didn't really like the ending, is there more in the pipeline. My main problem is that I loved her Kusheil trilogy and nothing else she's written has come up to that standard.
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on 8 July 2014
Well written full of imagery and suspense. A well rounded fantasy story about the lack of understanding between 2 factions.
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on 6 January 2010
A beautifully written tale, with magnificent characters to love and hate, to pity and to despise. A tale of grand ideals and unshakable faith, perfect honour and loyalty so deep it was boundless. And when all was said and done, quite possibly one of the most soul crushingly depressing books I've ever read. I'm probibly being childish wanting a happy ending, but the total devastation that is the conclusion of this book was like being punched in the gut. Indeed "happy" was nowhere to be found. I made the mistake of buying "The Kushiel" series before I had read "The Sundering", and now I have doubts that I can bring myself to suffer such doom, gloom and misery by reading the five volumes of that series. It is a real pity that the author felt the need to make betrayal and deceit laudable qualities, and to repay the worst offenders with the ultimate victory. I don't write many reveiws, preferring to allow people to make their own choices and mistakes, but in this instance I felt the need to exorcise the deep, deep melancholy that this story has left me feeling. A real, real shame.
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