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(Birth of Saints #1)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of
ebook, 432 pages
Published November 17th 2015 by Harper Voyager Impulse
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars. Full review, originally posted on Fantasy Literature.

Grudging, a newly published young adult fantasy and the first in a new series called BIRTH OF SAINTS from Michelle Hauck, is set in a country reminiscent of medieval Spain, where noble warhorses are a soldier’s right arm and religious faith is a significant part of most people’s lives, giving this fantasy an somewhat unusual cultural flavor.

Seventeen year old Ramiro wants nothing more than to be a respected soldier in his pelotón li
Michelle Hauck
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
As the author I want to thank everyone who has taken an interest in Grudging. It was certainly a labor of love, sometimes exhausting, sometimes exhilarating, and I can't wait to bring you the sequels.

You can add the sequel, Faithful, to your lists here:
Lynn Williams
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5/4 stars
I was lucky enough to be approached by the author, Michelle Hauck, and given the opportunity to read the first book in the Birth of Saints trilogy. Michelle also provided a guest discussion post about witches which I found really interesting. Particularly the way in which witches have been feared and disliked over the course of history and in fact vilified – it’s a very fitting topic given the nature of this story and is in fact a perfect introd
Brenda Drake
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! Michelle builds a wonderful fantasy world and fully developed characters. I really ejoyed reading Ramiro's and Claires' journey and can't wait for book two!
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an e-arc of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

I enjoyed absolutely everything about this book. From the setting, to the characters, to the story, to the writing style every aspect helped in keeping me glued to the pages.

While the plot in itself would not seem the most original in the realm of fantasy books (young hero sets out on an impossible mission to save his country and meets pretty girl with special
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Grudging starts with a cinematic bang when a peloton of bearded, Spanish-speaking horse soldiers charges an invading troupe of horse-fearing Northerners in an exciting sequence. The lens widens to include four different POVs from different walks of life, bringing texture to the story: an untried young cavalryman living in the shadow of his brother, a young "witch" from the swamps who doesn't know her own power, a civic leader responsible for a besieged city, and a man of the cloth who gives hims ...more
T. Frohock
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why more people aren't talking about this book. Grudging has great characters, tons of adventure, and a fast paced story.

The story is set in a pseudo-Spanish culture comprised of city-states, giving an alternative rip on early Iberian culture. The plot centers around one city-state's attempts to repel Northern "sun-worshiping" invaders.

There is the coming of age story with Ramiro, one of the young city-state warriors, who is sent to save his city by making a deal with the secretive
Melissa Menten
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I was not sure how much I would enjoy this epic fantasy at first. The opening begins with a young soldier, Ramiro, hoping to be battle tested in a fantasy world seemingly based on the Spanish empire in America. As I really don't like war stories, I was pleasantly surprised at how much the characters, and the conflict, drew me in. There is great world-building and great characterization, from the struggles of Ramiro to overcome his fears and inexperience to the young witch, Claire, who has good r ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a meticulously plotted story of heroism and incredible odds, in a very Spanish-feeling world populated with characters obsessed with duty and wary of magic. The style makes you feel immediately that you're in another time and place- it's not stodgy, but formal enough to make it not feel too contemporary. I ended up liking Ramiro more and more as the story went on, and loved how bitter his feud was with Claire at the beginning.

The pacing of this book was perfection, with the stakes crank
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A really great read. Engaging story with tons of twists and turns, and plenty to love... (see below)

Some absolute highlights:
-The Shakespearean-feeling witty banter between the crew heading off on adventure.
-So many interesting POV characters! I love seeing a story from different sides, and this one delivers on that for sure. The reader gets to see so many angles.
-Some really heartbreaking moments. Wow. I was totally surprised by a certain scene that I won't spoil. But no punches are pulled.

Kara Reynolds
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I will be upfront: Epic fantasy is not my thing. But I enjoyed Grudging so much, maybe I should make it my thing? My concept of myself as a reader has been turned upside-down.
As for the book, I loved the Hispanic influence, from the language to the culture. I also liked the concept of the witches using song for their magic. I hope we get to meet more witches in the next book. Which I will definitely read.
Eric Tanafon
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

'Grudging' tells the story of two cultures in conflict: a collection of Hispanic city-states (ciudad-estatos), something like classical Greece or medieval Italy, and their attackers, a 'Northern' culture of fanatical sun-worshipping warriors. Apart from both is a mysterious group of all-female witches who live deep in the swamps that border the arid realm of the ciudad-estatos.

The story focuses on a young, untried soldier, Rami
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Grudging sucked me in immediately. I really appreciated Michelle's ability to sketch a scene with just the right amount of detail, color, and smell, and enable my imagination to fill the rest. Not overdone but the bones are good and they evoke the world clearly in my head. The characters similarly are neatly done, and the plot, perhaps is her greatest strength. The tension is built right off the bat and she keeps the tension going throughout the book. Also, Hauk takes care to build a world aroun ...more
Michael Mammay
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Where do I start? There was so much I loved about this book. From the first chapter the setting really grabbed me. It's got a Spanish feel which reminded me of The Lions of Al Rassan. It was rich and such a great place to set the book.

The best part was the world building, specifically the cultures. Grudging had three separate and very distinct cultures -- the invaders, the city, and the witches. The author developed each one fully, and then threw them into a cauldron together and let them intera
Erika Rose
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good start to the series.

I had a lot of trouble getting into the book. I am unsure of if it was the story or some outside force (my life was rather hectic). The book was well written emotionally, but I did not connect with the characters until the end. I look forward to the second book and a possible reread of this one.
D.M. Domosea
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
GRUDGING - the first books in Michelle Hauck's "Birth of Saints" trilogy - is a great start to a promising series. The writing is clean, tight, and smooth, the plot is engaging and the characters are compelling. The world Hauck has created is richly detailed, based on Earth's Latin American culture, but not itself clearly based on Earth. However, this isn't a "high fantasy" novel; rather, it reads more like historical fiction with elements of magic born from spirituality. Fans of Diana Gabaldon' ...more
David Pomerico
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am biased, since I edited and will be publishing this book, but I think that's okay: I liked enough to add it to the Voyager list as a manuscript, and think that the author has brought it to an even better place since then. I love the Spanish-analogue world, with it's emphasis on chivalry and honor, yet the questions such a society would inevitably come up against. I love the threat from the North, and how pressing the issue of time is. And I love the light magic that feels both fresh and conc ...more
Jemi Fraser
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fabulous read! The world building is terrific with 3 unique and fascinating cultures having to deal with each other as war nears. The characters are vivid and true to their cultures - and to their hearts. Can't wait for the next instalment!
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs:**
Today the Steadfast blog tour takes a stop at Book Briefs. Steadfast is the third book in the birth of saints trilogy. Because I am new to the trilogy, I decided to start at the beginning, which I thought would be a good place to start. And it was a really good idea, because author Michelle Hauck has created a very rich and detailed world, and now that all of the books in the trilogy are out, this series is the perfe
books are love
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really really good first book in the series. We have great world and character building. We see the complexity in relationships and the beginning of growth and journeys. Michelle Hauck does a great build up of the story and bringing her world to life. the fear and evil has a life of its own and you see it when of the Northerners.

I love how Ramiro has questions that are relevant but are left out there for us to ponder. Like why are the Northerners attacking now? I also like his trepida
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Full review to come on Books and Ladders as part of the blog tour for Steadfast on December 7th!
A.L. DeLeon
It took me a while to get into the book initially, but once I got about halfway in, I began to really enjoy it. The story between Ramiro and Claire was the greatest strength in it overall and I like that the author attempted to use the story as a way to show how two different cultures could ultimately understand one another. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the next novel of this series.
Steve Westenra
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Grudging starts off with our heroes' home under siege, and narrows its focus to the storylines of four main characters. The novel is well-written, and tightly paced, with likeable characters and a setting that I look forward to more of in subsequent volumes. While Grudging does contain some gory passages , the coming-of-age narrative of two of the main characters (Claire and Ramiro) will probably appeal most to a YA audience. The Spanish-inspired setting may also appeal to fans of Lois McMaster ...more
Anna Tan
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy, e-books
Colina Hermosa is under siege, and in a last ditch manoeuvre, Alcade Julian Alvarado sends his two sons and some of their pelotón on a secret mission into the swamps to seek help from the witches, their traditional enemy.

Ramiro, his younger son, wonders why he is in this elite group, seeing that he is only a bisoño, yet to earn his first kill and be counted as a man. But when the mission falls apart tragically, he has to take up the responsibility and do all he can to take the reluctant witch b
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical, epic-fantasy
I picked this book up and laid it aside several times. Something about it kept calling me back. So glad I slogged through it and finished. Therein lies my conundrum: all that these people went through, they slogged through. It was uncomfortable and hot and grueling. I didn't want to go there, and one of them for sure didn't want to, either, but he did. So I stayed with him. He worked it out and overcame and changed plans when things fell apart, which they did, often. But now that the evil priest ...more
Marty Mayberry
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review of GRUDGING, by Michelle Hauck. Let me just say, I’m unbelievably psyched I got to read this so soon!

Wow. Where to begin?

Well, as you can tell, I enjoyed the first book in the Book of Saints trilogy. I can’t wait for the next in the series, FAITHFUL, which will be released in 2016.

Fantasy is a tricky genre to get right. Too much world building, and your readers get lost. Not enough, and they’re even more lost! Michelle does it just right in
Christopher Owens
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
First, let me say that I don't read much epic fantasy, and that probably has more bearing on the rating I've given than any other factor. There's a lot that I loved in this book. The writing was great, without using language that distracted me from the plot and characters. I found the major characters to be well developed and reacted in realistic ways to the situations they confronted.

At 4-stars, I like Grudging - l like it a lot, but didn't love it. There are a couple of reasons for that. First
Valerie Bodden
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spectacular! This book immersed me in its world and made me fall in love with its characters. The historical Spanish-feeling setting felt like a character in its own right--I was rooting for the city of Colina Hermosa all the way through. And the swamp--it's nowhere I want to visit soon, but I loved all the vivid details, especially as it was viewed through the eyes of a desert dweller.

The multiple points of view offer a wide view of this world while at the same time taking the reader into the l
L. Storms
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one! Had a bit of a difficult time getting into it in the first couple of chapters as it has a strong Spanish-Mexican type of setting. (A lot of Spanish words thrown in for good measure, which only served to slow me down.) So, I really hesitated to continue reading as I felt like I was stumbling a bit. I think that most epic fantasy tales have a King Arthur sort of flavor so it becomes difficult to accept a change in conventional setting when you're a reader who's used to the ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not crying! You're crying!

A soldier. A witch. A city under siege. This story had a lot of elements to draw me in. I love the nod to Spanish styles and history. Spanish is my second language and it made me happy.

I gave it a four star review because the story felt like it started a little slow. However, I will say that the "slow start" led to me on the verge of tears because I was so invested in the characters as individuals that when they hurt, I hurt. I adore the scenery in this book, but m
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Birth of Saints (3 books)
  • Faithful: Birth of Saints Book Two
  • Steadfast (Birth of Saints, #3)

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