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Silent Hall

(Godserfs #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  516 ratings  ·  99 reviews
A coward’ son, a merchant’s daughter, a young prince, a wild girl, and a half-dragon all find themselves refugees from their island home. When a plague destroys their home, they try to forge their own future. Along with a sinister wizard, they awaken a dragon and defy the gods.

After their homeland is struck with a deadly plague, five refugees cross the continent searching
Mass Market Paperback, 522 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Angry Robot
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  516 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-epic
This was an interesting book, with some really outstanding aspects to it, but even more roadblocks to a good, solid read. I nearly gave up on it twice, but persevered to the end, although I will freely admit to skimming some chapters.

The good? I liked the concept, and I liked the characters. I was intrigue enough by the latter to want to know more, to read past those roadblocks, and entertained enough by the latter to trust in them (Narky and Bandu especially), even if I was questioning their jo
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780857665683

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.8/5

Publishers Description: Five refugees from a plague-stricken island cross the continent searching for answers. Instead they find Psander, a wizard whose fortress is invisible to the gods, and who is willing to sacrifice anything – and anyone – to keep the knowledge of the wizards safe.

Review: Wow, this was crazy good especially when you consider that this is the
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. So good. You won't be able to put it down.

This book is incredible in its character creation. Everyone will have their favorites (mine is Narky) but each one is created so realistically and thoroughly that you will hate and love each one of them in certain points. Dolkart builds off traditional fantasy tropes (like questing) and characters to make them into real characters. The uppity princess, the brawny hero, the outcasts.

Elaine Aldred
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Five teenagers leave their island for very different reasons. Soon after, they discover that the world they left behind has disappeared forever, because everyone they knew has died from a mysterious plague. The wanderers manage to find sanctuary in the wizard Psander's fortress, but is not long before their patron sets them off to complete tasks that will change them all, more than they could have ever imagined.
This is a very special debut novel because the quality of writing takes this tale way
Kitvaria Sarene
This book is a mixed batch. It had some really amazing parts, but it also had quite some things that annoyed me.

I'll start with the bad part - to me it felt like there wasn't any real plot. The characters wander around, get some rather random feeling quests now and then, and wander around some more. It all lacks a sense of direction or meaning. Some of the decisions about where to go just didn't make any sense to me.
The characters were really, really tropey. I did still like them, and I found th
Bookwyrm Speaks
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You know that little voice in the back of you head when you start a highly touted debut novel, "can this live up to the hype"? Well, in the case of N.S. Dolkart's Silent Hall, the answer is an enthusiastic yes! This is an original fantasy, with elements of coming of age, epic fantasy quest, and social commentary. In turns funny, action packed, tragic and thought provoking, it is a character driven story that has you rooting for the main characters, warts and all.
The five main characters are Hun
Nathan Aronheim
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to get my hands on an early draft of this book, and it's glorious.

The characters are as real and differentiated as they come. Like teenagers generally, they have gaps in their knowledge which lead to some hilarious moments, and their interactions have real depth. The setting is a fantasyland, but with plenty of individual quirks that set it apart, like vengeful, petty Gods in the classic Greek tradition. The ending is epic and just right, if you know what I mean. Appropriat
N.N. Light
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well done fantasy adventure! I really enjoyed it.

Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
~ARC Kindly provided by Netgalley and Angry Robots in exchange for my honest review~

DNF at 51%

Silent Hall follows the adventures of five teenagers – Hunter, Narky, Bandu, Criton, and Phaedra – who find themselves together in the same boat (both figuratively and literally) ending up as the only survivors of the mysterious curse sent by the gods on their homeland. This is just the trigger event that will lead them to face a series of adventures and even to challenge the gods themselves.

I really, r
Bradley Jerzy
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For the longest time I've been searching for a fantasy novel that captivates me. Anthony Ryan's Debut trilogy did just that, ever since however, as been a slew of books I've picked up, and never finished.

I found this at my bookstore, picked it up, and put it down. Quite a few times actually. My hesitation with books lately has really spoiled the magic of reading for me - I eventually picked it up, bought it, and read it all quite quickly.

I devoured it.

This book to me wasn't so much about the st
Daniel Casey
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genre
In January, Silent Hall made Fantasy Faction‘s list of ‘Most Anticipated Fantasy Novels of 2016,’ which was how I discovered it. I’m not quite comfortable calling it “young adult crossover” because doing so shaves off audience for this debut. Dolkart has written an epic fantasy adventure of the swords and sorcery type that although it follows a group of young adults or new adults, if you will, is a story for everyone. It is a tale of adventure, discovery, and hard decision making. When asked to ...more
Wart Hill
Aug 08, 2016 marked it as gave-up

I felt like it was time that I checked out this novel by a fellow Hampshire alum. I think I really liked this book. There's a part of me that's still not quite sure how to feel, and there's a part of me that's remembering things I didn't like about it, but for the most part, I think that there was enough good in it and that I spent enough time thinking about it while not reading that I must have liked it.

So, the story has five protagonists: Narky, Phaedra, Hunter, Bandu, and Criton. One of the t
Phoebe Prince
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Silent Hall by NS Dolkart

Silent Hall is about five island teens that are the only survivors of a particularly gruesome curse that causes everyone else on the island to die on land. We're introduced to each character quickly and in successive chapters. There's Narky, who murders a 'love rival' in the first chapter. That's how you start a book!

I'm going to talk a lot about the characters because they're what made me love this story. And the best part about Silent Hall? It never slows down when int
Joe Kraus
May 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
I found my way to this book because I very much enjoyed Noah Beit-Aharon’s essay at Prosen People about how he came to write it as an experiment in what Jewish fantasy literature might look like. That’s an articulate essay, and it asks some of my own questions from some of my own premises. Yes as Dolkart (aka Beit-Aharon) puts it, there is a strong tradition of Jewish fantasy – think of I.B. Singer or Cynthia Ozick or Steve Stern – but there is less of a tradition of Jewish “high fantasy.” As To ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
O Suzannah
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read books written by men, but this book far exceeded my expectations. I loved the female character who was abandoned as a child and raised in nature. Her ability to sense the messages of the natural world and interpret them -- and her difficulty in communicating this to others was very well done (and resonant for me). I liked the remake of Biblical allusions like Noah and the flood/ark and the nomadic wanderings of this little remnant of a group that has been destroyed. The roma ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantasy is not my usual go-to genre, but the blurb for this book immediately caught my attention. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I loved the cast of characters and the changing and varied scenery. As I read, I imagined this playing out on the big screen. I cannot wait for the next installment of the Godserfs. Thank you N.S. Dolkart for a fantastic read. ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-series
3.5 stars (rounded down.) A solid but not outstanding read.
Vincent Mainetti
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everything someone could want from a fantasy book. An amazing debut novel.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wasn't entirely sure how I'd get on with this, but I liked it! It's kind of like The Breakfast Club on a fantasy quest. :P OK, that's a little diminutive.

We're in epic fantasy land, and five teenagers "conveniently" (cough cough prophecy) set sail from their island home, same day, different reasons because they're strangers, right before a vengeful god strikes all their people (sans king) down with a plague. I'm more in the mindset of history, where "plague" might mean a wasting disease, but thi
Martin Owton
As others have commented I found this to be a character driven fantasy, trouble is I didn't really connect with any of the characters. Phaedra is perhaps the most interesting but even she didn't really seem to progress. Narky is annoying and stays that way even though he becomes more self-aware. The other thing that bothered me was the lack of an overarching plot; it is more of a discovery fantasy with the characters spending a lot of time being unsure of what they are doing and why. Some of the ...more
kit kat
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-purchase, fantasy
I loved these characters. I made such strong bonds with all of them, and I can't wait to read them again (after a little break, lol, I need one).

While a lot of the plot did seem to be aimless wandering, I thought that seeing the different locations and predicaments were enjoyable. There was no feeling of overarching orchestration, though, meaning I didn't think there was a masterful plan used by the author to tie everything together. I think plot crafting is something he can get better at! Also,
Rebecca Beit-Aharon
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If the genre (epic fantasy) isn't enough to pull you in, the absolutely fantastic interactions between the characters will! The five main characters are so vivid and real that every conversation is a true treat. Their interactions are my favorite parts.

The world of Silent Hall is broad, interesting, and complex. I love the incorporation of religion and gods, the inter-city politics, the magic... It's a great read, and the ending has some of the most epic visuals I've encountered. Read this!
Justin Howe
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A smarter, savvier Dragonlance.

Confused over-reaching teenage protagonists that read as confused over-reaching teenagers.

A setting where gods exist, select champions, and generally make nuisances of themselves by meddling in human affairs, and the utter preoccupation with theology, prophecy, and destiny such a world would create.

May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
The plot kind of meanders about, but I stayed interested and I'm definitely going to read the next in the series. I thought the characters were great in that they were a bit atypical for the genre. ...more
Elliott Baez
The parenthetical title of (Godserfs) hits the nail on the head as to the role of humans with respect to the gods. With every chapter hammering another nail into the coffin, and the final one removing the last "friendly" god(ess) from the list, we have a new beginning with the Wizard Psander, and Salemis as the remaining potential paths to a better future. However, all is depressing except for the survival of those two, and the five islanders while transformed are each depressed. There may be a ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm excited to learn that this is a part of a trilogy, and a trilogy that is already completed! This first book has been floating around my book store for a few months and it kept catching my eye, so I finally gave it a shot. I'm glad that I did, this reads like a novelization of a REALLY REALLY good home brew D&D campaign. The characters are all very interesting and caught in a game of chess between gods far beyond their scope. There are a lot of overlying themes questioned about destiny, free ...more
I don't want to start this review by just gushing over it-- but I can't help it. This is one of my all time favorite books, epic fantasy or otherwise. I could not put it down. The whole trilogy, while it has its ups and downs, will always have a special place in my heart. I picked it up randomly at Barnes & Noble one day. Went in to buy a rather popular book, and came out with this for no reason I could think of. Had no idea what to expect, but I knew the moment I saw it... I was gonna enjoy it. ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This is literally a Dungeons and Dragons adventure. I know, because I play D&D. This is how it goes:

A bunch of characters are thrown into an adventure together (survivors of a disaster) and have a shared goal (get to the wizard). They travel, and have random encounters along the way. Then they get a patron (the wizard), who sends them off on quests (to collect spell components) before the characters get high enough level for them to make decisions about what they want to do on their own.

That sai
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N.S. Dolkart spent the better part of a decade working in Alzheimer's and dementia care, but is now an ecstatic stay-at-home dad. Besides writing, he likes cooking, singing, and Israeli Folk Dancing. He does not like doing laundry, but he'll do it anyway.

Current writing project: A Breach in the Heavens, the concluding volume in the Godserfs trilogy.

Other books in the series

Godserfs (3 books)
  • Among the Fallen (Godserfs, #2)
  • A Breach in the Heavens (Godserfs, #3)

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