When the saints fail, the sinners step up.
What is The Thirteenth Hour About?
Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.
Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.
To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.
For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.
The Thirteenth Hour is the first book in The Cruel Gods series—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. This is an adult book containing strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing. For a full list of content warnings, visit Trudie Skies’s website.
Congratulations to Skies for becoming an SPFBO Finalist (from the Before We Go Blog team to boot)! As was evident from the average rating from Before We Go Blog, The Thirteenth Hour has much to offer any reader and is deserving of its finalist spot.
I agree with many of my team members on their comments about the fascinating world building and unique plot of this story. There are 12 different domains in this tale, each ruled by a different cruel god that uses their subjects to achieve their every whim. However, the gods’ power stops when it comes to the central domain of Chime which is ruled by the mortals themselves. We follow two main characters: one who is fighting against the current regime and one who is working for it.
The premise of this world caught my attention from the beginning and the gods were just as fascinating to read about as I expected. Deities walking amongst us (especially 12 of them)? Sign me up! I also enjoyed the found family aspect of the story as it added a feeling of comfort in a dark and dangerous world.
However, I felt that the world was so vast that it was a bit too much to take on in one novel and left us with some significant gaps in the building process. I was interested to find out more, but I found myself focusing on what wasn’t there rather than what was.
Additionally, I found that I struggled to connect to the characters in the story; which as a character-based reader does affect my personal enjoyment. The motivations behind their actions weren’t always consistent for me and this also contributed to feeling disconnected from the climactic events in the finale.
In summary, I completely see why The Thirteenth Hour has captured the hearts of so many despite the elements that didn’t work for me personally. I wish Skies the best of luck in the SPFBO8 finals!