A perfect fantasy book, in the archetypal sense: perfectly plotted, familiar yet creative. Attention has been paid to all the little things, and as a result, this is one of the most satisfying, enjoyable books I expect to read all year. It reminded me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. Here’s why.

This review is spoiler-free.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You are not welcome here, godkiller.

Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.

Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.

Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.


What a breath of fresh air to read a well fleshed-out fantasy less than 300 pages! Not a sentence is wasted, and yet we get a tour of a beautiful and creative fantasy world, three excellent and well-balanced POVs, and even a thrilling little romantic subplot!! I truly ask for nothing more in life.

Now I feel less bad for complaining about books like To Kill A Kingdom that didn’t quite manage it. Because it is an amazing thing to manage. Hannah Kaner weaves this story like a deft expert. Not a stitch out of place. I was even surprised by a couple of my favorite romance tropes ever making a guest appearance that had me squealing.

The plot has a comforting, classic structure: our main characters are unwittingly thrust together and then again unwitting thrust into a quest which requires them to journey across the dangerous land and present their various wishes to the wonderful Wizard of Oz. So to speak. I love that the author doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with this; it leaves space for well-spun nuance that delights the senses and brings the reader deep into this imaginary world. What a powerful hit of escapism. And for the record, I was still biting my nails and gasping at the inevitable climax.

I’m tired, Ina, Skedi broke in, though Inara was tempted to see more of the town. You’re tired too.

And she felt it, the weight of her own fatigue wrapping around her. ‘I’ll stay with Father,’ she said, and added in sign, I can find out more about him.

What a worldbuild!

One of my favourite parts of this world is the sea of colours that gods—and Inara—can see. I have always thought synesthesia—the mingling of senses—a particularly fascinating subject, and the concept here is stunning. Emotions have colours—colours specific to that person. My pain might be green because I fell from a tree as a child. My loyalty might be plum-coloured. And so on. It’s a beautiful thought, especially if you’re the kind of reader that sees the world in their mind.

In the world of Godkiller, gods live and gain power through prayers and sacrifices. It’s been done before, but since one of our characters is a god, we dive much deeper into this structure as a motivation. Old, wild gods have cemented a place in the population’s psyche, therefore they are stronger and harder to get rid of. Young gods can spring up for any old thing: a god of silver that doesn’t tarnish, for example, might take the form of a small rat and have little power in general. All gods are tied to their shrines; destroying a shrine destroys the gods. These rules go on, and they weave together to shape a world of high stakes and danger for all of our characters.

Honestly, living in this world, as a fantasy lover, feels like a warm hug. An excellent read for the dark days of wintertime.

The colours surrounded everyone in Ennerton like a cloud of light, falling from their hands, rippling around their shoulders, dancing over their heads. An inconstant, moving kaleidoscope that flashed and disappeared, flickered like lightning, then dimmed. Inara took a deep breath. Only she and Skedi could see the colours; she had to look through them at the street, at people’s faces.

Yum yum yum! Delicious extras

Fantasy is famous for the ever-present bread and cheese—especially fantasy that involves travelling and quests, like this one. This book throws those stereotypes out the door, because ohmygosh some of these passages made my mouth water.

I’ve read plenty of books that try to achieve this, and only some that have succeeded, notably the first novel of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco. I tip my hat.

The other thing is the diverse representation. Not only does this cast have diverse representation of race and sexual orientation, but it has amazing disabled rep. Our powerful main character Kissen (who reminds me a little of John Gwynne’s Orka from The Shadow of the Gods) has only one leg and uses a prosthesis. Sign language plays a significant role in many conversations. Plenty of body types are represented. It’s awesome!

“He had prepared it before the breads, and had put the covered pot in the back to slowly bake. When he lifted the lid, it billowed with steam: a river fish on a bed of cut green marrow, citrus, and herbs. He had covered it with rough-ground grain and crushed nuts which had crisped on the top.

Elo put the fish on the worktop as Arren thumbed the wine, and went to open some of his jars of preserved foods from the previous summer. Pickled onions and sheep’s cheese, white and creamy, stuffed into a pot of oil and herbs to preserve them. He put them on the surface with the food, olives too, which were now full and fat after soaking in brine since the autumn harvest, and a paste of rose petals and peppers that would go nicely with some bread.”

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