This book was pretty interesting in that it made me question the idea of having the main character be likable. As I writer and a reader, there is an implied expectation in most fantasy fiction that protagonists are the “good” guys. They’re the ones who we’re rooting for. They’re the ones who we want to see, as readers, overcome the obstacles and triumph over the antagonists and evil.
I do explore the idea of good and evil in my own book series, but I still want my characters to be liked. Karen Miller doesn’t seem to have the same idea.
Hekat was born a slave but through her communication with the god, she rises through the class hierarchy of Mijak society. Hekat, the protagonist, is selfish, stubborn, and overconfident in her beliefs and her abilities. This doesn’t make her a likable character despite her position as the protagonist. She enslaves people who stand in her way, exiles her political adversaries through cunning manipulation, and downright murders naysayers without a second thought. All the while, she does this in the name of the “god”.
Additionally, Hekat believes her son, Zandakar, is chosen to bring the god to the godless lands and rule the world. There is an obvious nod to Christianity and the crusades here.
Although I didn’t like certain aspects of the book because I thought Miller lacked creativity in her titles (i.e. godspark, godpost, godhouse, godspeaker and warlord, warleader, warcell, warhouse, warhost – all of which are repeated so frequently it makes the reader sick), the story was creative and well thought out.
Last but not least. There’s a lot of blood and gore in this book. If you’re squeamish, don’t read it. If you only like books where you’re rooting for the protagonist instead of wondering why nobody hasn’t killed her yet, don’t read it. But, if you want a story that makes you examine religious fanaticism in a fantasy world, and aren’t afraid of a little blood and murder, then check this series out.