Akhtar definitely makes you wait for the information- but it’s 100% worth it when all of those points add up
When I first picked Gunmetal Gods up, the pacing felt too fast for me and like I didn’t have time to get to know characters before we were moving on to the next scene, but by the end, I was absolutely glued to the pages and couldn’t put it down. I attribute my initial feeling to the fact that I had just come off of reading slower paced fantasy (such as The Veiled Throne), but I liken the change I felt to listening to an audiobook at 2x speed. At first it feels garbled, but once you adjust, you can’t imagine another speed.
The character work and world building are done in very piecemeal fashion-Akhtar definitely makes you wait for the information- but it’s 100% worth it when all of those points add up. I loved the characters in this story; all of them were multi-faceted gray characters that you could loathe on one page and then sympathize with on another (I would die for Kinn and Sadie). I also adored how much the Gods in this book are directly on the pages, and book two promises to show us even more of that which I am over the moon about.
By far the strongest aspects of this book are the themes it deals with and the political machinations. Themes of faith, sacrifice, mortality, and mercy are wonderfully explored through the masterful webs of political alliances/betrayals and the power structures of religion. I love when religion is viewed from a broader lens of cultural development and that was done wonderfully here. However, at the heart of all of these lofty schemes and meddling gods, the core of this book lies in the soul of the individual humans that inhabit the page.
Be aware going into this that it’s a very brutal world, and Akhtar is not afraid to make his characters hurt. But honestly I think that’s one of the best things about this book. You truly never know what’s going to happen.
Overall this is a wonderful world that I hope we get to spend a bit more time exploring in Book 2…which I will be reading ASAP.
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