Reviewed by PizzyGirl
SERIES: Gods of War: Book 1
AUTHOR: Xenia Melzer
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
LENGTH: 294 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 21, 2016
All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.
When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.
Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.
I would first like to start off by warning you that this is not a complete story. I would describe this more of a Saga much like a Lord of the Rings where each book is part of a much bigger whole and as such leaves a lot left unanswered. My only complaint is that the ending of this portion of the story did not feel like it fell in a natural place. However, that was very minor in the grand scheme of things and I am so looking forward to this epic series continuing on.
This is my third read of this story and it just gets better each time I pick it up. The world is just so rich and everything I could have hoped for in a historical fantasy. The characters are vivid and possess depths that the reader can only begin to understand. In fact, each reread garners something new about the world and the people within it. The author spends a lot of time describing the lands and battles and setting up the men and women of the Pack and the hierarchy of the goddesses and demigods. Even though this book is very long, I never felt bored and was always eager to learn more about the Valley and it inhabitants. I mean come on, ite read three for me!
I know I said it before, but this really reminds me of a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars type saga series. The author even began by establishing the lore of the time, how the world was made, and established who was good and who was evil. I knew that the story itself was going to be about more than just the demigods finding their missing hearts, but would be a battle for control of the world itself. This is very much epic with massive world building and character development laced with prophecy, teasers, clues, legends and so much more to just make this incredibly rich reading experience that cannot be fully grasped in the first sitting.
I love that the characters and the Pack are so full of vitality and power. These people are brutal and yet oddly caring and their morality is steadfast no matter what. It is so weird yet fascinating to learn how the Pack behaves because it is so at odds with itself. These people show no mercy, yet they show more leniency and love than the non-barbarians outside the valley. For all their brutality, they are fiercely protective and intelligent. I love them all!
Renaldo and Casto are amazing characters and their romance, while only one minor point of the story, is so intense it stole the show. I love knowing more than the two men. I love knowing their histories and their futures while the men do not. It is kind of fun to watch them struggle and fight and hate and love and question and everything else, when I already know their outcome, though not their journey.
Please note that this is not primarily a romance and as such this series revolves around more than just Casto and Renaldo. Other relationships are featured and are often in direct contrast to the type of relationship between the main pair. It is awesome because it adds to the robustness of the series and highlights a lot of hints that need to be remembered for later.
Finally, I love that I still do not know how this will all end or or even proceed forward. I still do not know all of the personalities and all of their history. There is evil afoot that I need to know more about and there are so many questions I have about Renaldo, Casto, and all the other Emeris. I cannot wait to reread Book 2 and to read Book 3 for the first time. I need to find out what will happen next and I need Casto and Renaldo to finally see what everyone else can see.