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The Godless (Children Trilogy #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  428 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
The first in a crackling, unputdownable new epic fantasy series, introducing a fascinating, original new world and an incredible heroine.

The Gods are dying. Fifteen thousand years after the end of their war, their bodies can still be found across the world. They kneel in forests, lie beneath mountains, and rest at the bottom of the world's ocean. For thousands of years, me
ebook, 416 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Ben Peek Hey there. From my memory, no, not in the first book (if there are, they will be minor characters, I'm afraid). In the second and third book there…moreHey there. From my memory, no, not in the first book (if there are, they will be minor characters, I'm afraid). In the second and third book there are, and the new PoV character in the third book is.(less)
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Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

The Godless is a fantasy book which many readers have described as non-traditional storytelling, some even going so far as to say it is “difficult to follow” or “confusing.” And while I can understand where others might find this delicious world building dish not to their liking, I found it a mesmerizing revelation, which dazzled me with its unique and compelling mythology.

Millennia ago, an epic battle between the gods took place. This war changing the shape of
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Godless caught me off guard a bit, as it ended up not being the kind of book I was expecting at all. Mainly, it doesn’t read like it was meant to have a traditional story plot, and I don’t doubt that could be the reason for the many reviews I’ve seen describing it as confusing or difficult to summarize. Books like these are generally not my cup of tea, but The Godless did manage to hold me rapt with its epic world and
Ben Peek
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition

I mean, clearly I am to be trusted...

Actually, I'm mostly just dropping a link to's site, which has the first five chapters up for those who would like a sample to try. In the book, there is a prologue before this, but here you are introduced to the main three characters of the book.

Read here.

There is also, for those of you interested, a soundtrack.

As always, thank you for your time and your interest, regardless of your opinion of the book or series.


Just a quick update to list so
Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is very much a case of I don't know how to rate this book so I'll just give it three stars. There are some really great things about it, yet some not-so great things about it as well. Personally I would say this sits at about a 3.5 rating simply because I liked it more than a 3 star read but not sure it deserves a 4.

The Good Stuff

The world is remarkable. Seriously.

I am one of those fantasy readers that has read more than most but not enough to be a true professor of the genre. I am slowl
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I passed up on purchasing The Godless when it was first released. Something about the blurb deterred me at the time. In hindsight that was a very stupid decision on my part, and I'm glad that I changed my mind and raced to the store to pick a copy to read over the holidays.

The Godless tells the story of many fallen gods whose bodies lay strewn across the world after their cataclysmic war. Their power has not fully diminished however, and it inhabits certain individuals from ti
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
Finished my re-read for Leviathan's Blood. It had been so long that I couldn't remember a few of the finer plot points. And of course, the next book has a wonderful intro that tells almost everything that happened in this book summarized...

Anyway, I love the premise of this book. The gods have died and their power is finding homes in the bodies of humans, but that isn't always a good thing. I did a book/audiobook tag team on this, and I am not a huge fan of the Narrator. He is a little monotone
Fantasy Review Barn

A siege of a single city thousands of years in the making. Three distinct eras of history in one book each with distinct characteristics and all important to events of the day. Gods with real power, a real sine of wonder, and thought processes that are alien to those on a lesser plain. More importantly these gods have a since of awesome in the truly biblical meaning of the word. The Godless is unique in style, deep in history, and just a little bit wonderful.

The story starts w
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, first-reads
I was excited when I won an ARC of this book through the Goodreads First Reads contest, because I had heard a lot of good early reviews and was looking forward to reading for myself. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to expectations. Had I not felt some obligation to read it to the end for the sake of this review, I would have left it unfinished at the halfway point, and I almost NEVER leave a book unfinished. As it was, I had to put it down and read something else in the middle just to get ba ...more
The book follows three main characters through a holy war on a trade city and the siege of the city in a world where the gods have died and their remains are slowly fading. The magic system is interesting with people "cursed" with the liberated abilities of the gods, some good, most not so good.

The focus of the book is on the deaths of the gods and the immortals that have inherited their abilities. There's also a fair amount of time spent on the political situation, but it's all a bit muddled d
Rjurik Davidson
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ben's a friend of mine, but regardless, he's produced a very fine book. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fantasy fan: it's a genre plagued by cliché and loaded with genre conventions. Or perhaps I should rephrase this: fantasy too often doesn't live up to its potential. I'm a fan of fantasy as it could be, rather than as it is. The think I like about The Godless is that it breaks so many of those tedious conventions, most obviously in terms of race, but also in terms of narrative. His book is rich ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ctgt by: Matthew Summers-thanks for the review
You think you can give up what is inside you? What remains of the gods finds us. In wombs, in childhood, in the summers and winters of our lives. Once it has found us, only death can drive it out.

This is a book that benefited from the fact that I have been a complete slacker when it comes to writing my reviews. This was always going to be a high 4 stars but as I look over my notes and highlights(3 pages of google docs) I have to bump this to 5 stars, 10/10.
Great characters and unique, surprisin
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The Godless is a really excellent book. The plot is seemingly straightforward, as is the prose, but both are deceptively simple. With a world where dead and dying gods power the magic, but no one really knows *how*, it's perfect to have the reader finding out alongside one of the main viewpoint characters. This doesn't feel contrived or cliche, especially given that there are powerful people on both sides of the conflict who have vested stakes in making sure that what is known stays hidden, and ...more
I've been babbling about this since I read it -- I really enjoyed this. Keeping in mind that I don't read much epic fantasy to begin with, this is like epic fantasy for fantasy veterans in that it breaks a lot of the expected tropes in half. It's political and working itself up to something more dire, but philosophical and thinking about the connotations and consequences of a world whose gods have died but where their power hasn't quite faded. It was good. I think Malazan fans would like it. Th ...more
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
Ben Peek’s The Godless is one of this summer’s big titles. And from the moment I learned about this title when Tor UK asked for feedback on the cover design I knew I wanted to read this book and find out more about its protagonist Ayae. Meanwhile I’ve been reading numerous interviews and guest posts with and by the author and his views on diversity only made me more excited to read the book.

Peek certainly delivered on his promise of diversity with all of his protagonists being people of colour.
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
originally posted at:

Last year in April Tor UK came with a press release stating the acquisition of the Children series of Australian author Ben Peek, the first book, then titled Immolation but later changed to The Godless, would be published in May of 2014. When I read the synopsis of the book I knew this was just the book I was looking for. Using Gods in fantasy isn't a new concept but it is a concept that allows for a great story. The synopsis also mad
Rituranjan Gogoi
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating Epic fantasy. The Godless hasn't yet got the due attention that it deserves. However, this isn't a book for everyone. The readers who want a fast paced plot and a action-packed tale would be throughly disappointed. But, this is a book which has meticulous worldbuilding, a compelling mythology, a mix of politics and theological philosophy, and characters who are flawed and complex with motivations of their own. It took me some time to get into the book, but I was deeply immersed in ...more
Sean the Bookonaut
It’s a big step moving from writing condensed, powerful and original short fiction to a multiple book, epic fantasy. As different as say running a 5km run and a marathon. In each case you use the same skill but the end objective, your tactics, how you cross the finish line or complete the work is different, enough to challenge the best runners or writers when they are used to one kind of event, one format.

So how did Peek fare? He’s a very good short story writer (see Dead Americans) and The Godl
Lynn Williams
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
Just finished reading The Godless which I have to say I enjoyed. This book is described as epic and I can see why. The scope here certainly justifies that description.

Set in a world where the Gods are dying following war with each other, their bodies now lie beneath the oceans, in the forests and under mountain ranges. One of these Gods, Ger, lies dying beneath a mountain range that the city of Mireea is nestled up against. The inhabitants of the city of M
Kruizzer Alvarez
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Need to re-read this soon.
Keith Stevenson
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review originally appeared at

The best epic fantasy is a seamless blend of intricately wrought elements that creates a fully-realised world with a comprehensive and weighty history that continues to affect the lives of the equally real characters that inhabit it. On the (now not so) small screen, shows like A Game of Thrones have replaced the soap opera phenomenon of the 1980s, with audiences glued to the reversals and treacheries of the Lannisters, Starks and
Mandy Wultsch
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Godless is good epic fantasy. There are horses, battles (with swords, among other weapons), seemingly ordinary young people with special powers, mysterious strangers to guide them, quests (at least the beginning of a quest), and magic. The story is told from the point of view of three different characters (which was confusing for the first few chapters until I figured out what was going on). At one point I also questioned if the book was jumping around in time, but it was not, although there ...more
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
3.5 Stars

“Fifteen thousand years have passed since the War of the Gods and their corpses now lie scattered across the world. When men and women awake with strange powers derived from their bodies, some see it as a gift – others, a curse”.

One girl who finds herself in just such a predicament is Ayae, one of the three central characters and we meet her as she is waking up with her emotionally distant lover Illaan in the land of Mireea. He is a soldier who is recovering from recently seeing the bu
DNF. Read about 40 pages and realized it's not a book I want to read. The author's writing style rubbed me the wrong way. Awkward sentence structures. Proper names with too many vowels. Maybe I'll try it again another time. Not rating it.
Simon Ellberger
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely brilliant book. It's complex and inventive. The author uses lots of verbal tricks that I really liked. His primary trick is the use of sudden temporal shifts. This gave me a feeling of being outside of time and inside it at the same time, which is analogous to the way Peek describes how time interacts with the gods in his story. This was adroit and clever. He is in effect making the reader a god who views things atemporally like the gods in the novel, which is most ingeniou ...more
Mark Webb
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Godless by Ben Peek is the first in the "Children" trilogy. Peek made big news last year with the sale of this trilogy to Tor UK, a major sale for an Australian author.

I've enjoyed Peek's shorter work in the past. Long time readers of the blog might recall my review of Above/Below - a small press publication by Peek and Stephanie Campisi. Given the high profile sale, my interest in Australian speculative fiction generally and my enjoyment of Peek's previous work, I've kept an eye out for the
Megan Leigh
This review originally appeared on Pop Verse.

I should know better than to judge a book by its cover but I am apparently a slow learner. The first cover I saw for Ben Peek’s The Godless had me expecting a rather straightforward YA fantasy novel. That was partly my fault, making a snap judgment, but also goes to show just how important cover design is. Whoever made the call on that particular cover needs a good thrashing – it misrepresents the novel. Then there is also the name of the series The G
João Eira
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Godless is not Ben Peek’s first published work but, as his fantasy debut, it is a new step in the Australian author’s career. The Godless is set in a fantasy world where a calamitous war between the gods has left them for dead, or dying. In the aftermath of that world-changing event, the gods’ bodies have begun leaking remnants of their powers into the world, creating new Immortals — humans with powers, feared by many.

It is on the literal back o
Katie Burton
After the hype that came prior to The Godless, the first in a new epic fantasy series being released, I was quite keen to give this a read. Sadly I found the experience to be somewhat underwhelming.

The worst feeling I can have towards a book is ambivalence, and The Godless left me feeling just that way. It was not annoying to read, nor did it lift me up like I want my epic fantasy to do, or take me on a roller coaster ride of emotion and action where I love and loathe the characters.

The charact
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this book 3.5 stars out of 5 I would, but since I can't I'll round up to the nearest whole star (lucky).

I'll start with what I liked about this book, the gender inclusive. I've never read a fantasy book quite like this in terms of gender equality and for that I really enjoyed this book. By this I just mean, rather than just say men, Ben constantly said men or women when he was speaking about a generalized group of people. For me this is a great step forward for this type of fant
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Ben Peek is the critically acclaimed Sydney based author of the Godless, Leviathan's Blood, Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, Black Sheep, and the collection Dead Americans and Other Stories.

In 2017, his novel The Eternal Kingdom, the third book in the Children Trilogy, will be released.

He holds a doctorate in literature and splits his time between teaching and writing.

His first novel, Twenty-Six Lies/
More about Ben Peek...

Other Books in the Series

Children Trilogy (3 books)
  • Leviathan's Blood (Children #2)
  • The Eternal Kingdom (Children, #3)