Random Review: The Riven Kingdom and Hammer of God by Karen Miller

For my review of the first book of the “Godspeaker” trilogy, Empress, you can click here. Be warned, that review contains some major spoilers.

This review contains no spoilers.

Book Name: The Riven Kingdom (book 2) and Hammer of God (book 3)
Author: Karen Miller
Series: Books 2 and 3 of the Godspeaker trilogy
Publisher(s): Orbit
Format(s): Mass paperback/eBook/AudioBook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: September 1, 2008 and January 1, 2009

Rating: 8/10 for The Riven Kingdom, 7/10 for Hammer of God.

For as different a book as Empress was both The Riven Kingdom and Hammer of God are pretty much standard fantasy fare. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but after the first book I was expecting something different. In The Riven Kingdom we’re introduced to a simple island nation that is the center of trade for many other countries. Miller paints the picture of Ethrea rather well, contrasting it with the evil and ugliness of Mijak. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that eventually Ethrea will become a battleground between good and evil. In Hammer of God, that battle takes place.

Both books are pretty good reads, but in a lot of places they are predictable as Miller follows many of the tried and true plots of fantasy fiction. We have a dying king, a princess wanting to chose her own way as opposed to what tradition dictates, Machiavellian politics from friends and foes alike, and an unlikely hero. But as she often does Miller manages to work it all together and makes what’s old seem fresh.

What really sells The Riven Kingdom and Hammer of God is the moving back to forth between the points of view of both sides. It’s hard to write the action from both sides of a battle, but Miller does this very well. When you add to that several “third parties” that swirl around behind the scenes of the Ethrea parts of the books you could have needed up needing a scorecard to tell who was doing what for which side, but once again Miller ties it all together seamlessly.

The ending of Hammer of God is a little predicable, but it’s one of those times where that’s really where the story needed to go. The “Godspeaker” trilogy is one that I would recommend, but at almost 2,300 pages make sure you have a little free time ahead of you because I predict once you start it will be hard to stop.

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