Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Empty Gods #1

Lord of Secrets

Rate this book

Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is . . . complicated.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He's friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages' Guild - and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can't get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap - literally - and gets them both arrested, it's the last straw - until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather's release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it's simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul . . .

With the humour of V.E. Schwab, the scale of Trudi Canavan and the deftness of Naomi Novik, Lord of Secrets is a heartwarming fantasy novel about saving the people you love without destroying the world (or yourself).

336 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 8, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Breanna Teintze

3 books26 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
66 (26%)
4 stars
92 (37%)
3 stars
63 (25%)
2 stars
15 (6%)
1 star
9 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 78 reviews
Profile Image for Liz.
565 reviews105 followers
July 26, 2019
Hands down, no dramas – loved it!

For starters- magic! There is soooo much magic in this book! Lord of Secrets is ALL about magic. The interesting kind of magic that has unfavourable side-effects. The kind of side-effects that make a wizard think- man, do I really HAVE to use magic right now? Can I do away with a smaller scale spell?

The runes I had washed off the parchment were sloshing around in my stomach, mixed with wine and bile. I hiccupped, and grimaced at the acrid taste in my mouth.

Ooh! And necromancy! This book got the necromancy, as well! And brilliant writing which makes the story flow so smooth, silk ain’t got nothing on it. And humour! There’s a good mix of everything to keep this story fresh and intriguing.

“It’s not a large leap from playing with dolls made of bone to making bodies like a tailor makes a suit.”

Which takes me to a thought I had when I read the blurb of the book… Sometimes, it’s all good that author comparison’s are drawn – you KIND OF know what you’re going to get from a new-to-you story/author. But… I am going to say this- Teintze does not need comparisons! She be the bomb standing on her own two glorious, authory feet! I promise!

The main character Corcoran Gray is a young wizard who finds himself constantly at odds with The Guild (the folk that regulate what magic can and shouldn’t be done), at odds with his Grandfather (who is actually now captured!) and at odds with himself, too. His such a wonderful character. It’s been a while since I read about someone who had such a powerful moral standing ground. It was solid! He is simply NOT at all someone who could do harm to others (even if they sometimes deserver even just a little bit of harm ^^) and while he can act like a bit of a brat, his heart is in the right place.

Yes, this is not a story about good becoming evil, or evil becoming good. It is probably not also a story about good versus evil – maybe in a small way it is. But the main point of Lord of Secrets is exactly the excitement that comes with magic being poison and secrets being power!

Anyway, as Corcoran does his quest of finding his Grandfather – with whom he’s at odds – not a spoiler – this is clear quite soon into the story, and it’s not even a huge element of it all- he meets people on the way. Dude(tte), I know how this sounds. Proper adventure… There’s Brix and Lorican and Jaern and slavers and Keris. Eeek… And they all have a surprise up their sleeve! I am actually shaking here because I simply cannot say more – I cannot analyse the ins and outs of each of the relationship dynamics here because that would simply ruin the surprise for you…

Lord of Secrets is worth the read for any fantasy lover for its representation of magic alone for magic the uttermost driving force of this particular story and it’s beautiful (if slightly debilitating!). The characters – each on their own – could have their very own books written about them, and I would read them, devours them. Together, these characters, turned the story into a special kind of magic – a potion of revenge and redemption, a cocktail of sweet and sour and spicy, a spell of understanding, forgiveness and love, a curse of beginnings and ends.

…. stares into the distance with a dreamy look on face... yeah, that was a good book!
Profile Image for Megan.
445 reviews74 followers
June 30, 2019
This book was like going to really cheap buffet and then, and then when you're halfway down the line and well acquainted with the plain food, a michelin quality dish appears before you. It's like, wow this is some tasty food. But also, what the hell is it doing in a place like this?

In this metaphor the tasty food is a single character, Jack. (Jack is not actually the character's name, but it's what I'm going to call him for the sake of spoilers. It's short for Jack Shephard, because he must have gotten lost and ended up in this book). The prose, pacing and every single character except Jack are painfully flat. There's no spark to anything. Our first-person protagonist, Grey, keeps up a litany of obvious statements and boring self-doubt. He's basically a self-taught genius when it comes to magic, but there's none of the arrogance or joy that might make that interesting. He's occasionally witty when he speaks, which could have been fun if it were reflected in his inner monologue, but it's not.

The other two main characters, Brix and Loracan are no better. Brix is a runaway slave and Loracan is, I don't know. He's older I guess. Calls Grey lad a lot. Is fiercely loyal to Grey's grandfather for reasons that I think are supposed to be intriguing.

The plot here is that Grey's grandfather is imprisoned and Grey wants to free him. Grey thinks about his grandfather a lot, but never managed to paint any kind of image for him to help the reader get invested. There's a lot of, 'I miss him, we fought, I hope he's ok,' when what we really need is some concrete memories or something to help us care what happened to him.

Information is imparted clumsily. At one point Grey sneaks up behind some bad guys just in time to hear them be like 'as you know Bob, we're doing this for these reasons as follows...' or like the bad guy says things to grey like 'you know I want to achieve x!' Like, dude, if he already knows it, why are you saying it? Oh, right, it's for the readers benefit. Clumsy.

Anyway, by the fifty percent point barely anything had happened and I was bored. I was skimming, which is always the step before giving up entirely for me. And then, there he was. Jack. A fascinating character I instantly wanted to see more of, in this book? What? A well written character? I could actually picture him, unlike anyone else in this book. Everything about him was clever, from his introduction to his dialogue to his mysterious background and the way I couldn't be sure what side he was on.

But alas, Jack was too good for this book, and was punished for it. An interesting character who doesn't do what the reader expects? No, we can't have that! Much better to drag out some offensive gay stereotypes that the rest of the genre has moved past. Grey loves a single woman with a love that's good and pure and he'd sacrifice anything for her, whereas Jack is gay and flirts with everyone, and is selfish, and lets his evil gay feelings lead him to do evil gay things.

Can you hear my eyes rolling? It's criminal, to create such a cool character and then ruin him so completely, and in such a boring, trite way.

Ugh. Two stars for Jack, though if I had my way a smoke-monster would come and take him away to a book that deserves him.
Profile Image for Letanna.
1,503 reviews38 followers
August 7, 2021
Der Zauberer Corcoran Gray ist auf der Flucht, denn er will seinen Großvater befreien, der sich im Magiergefängnis befindet. Auf seiner Reise trifft er auf die flüchtige Sklavin Brix und die beiden tuen sich zusammen.

Bei dem Buch handelt es sich um den den 1. Teil einer Dilogie. Das Buch sollte bereits letztes Jahr übersetzt werden, die Veröffentlichung wurde aber verschoben und das Buch hat ein neues Cover bekommen. Leider fand ich das erste Cover deutlich besser, das hier ist mir einfach zu rot.

Der Stil der Autorin ist sehr einfach und es gibt auch keine komplizieren Sätze. Erzählt wird die Handlung aus der Sicht von Corcoran Grays, einem flüchtigen Magier. Der Plot ist recht einfach erzählt, Corcoran Grays ist auf der Flucht und will seinen Großvater aus dem Gefängnis befreien.

Die Grundidee fand ich sehr interessant, leider hat die Autorin sie nicht ganz so gut umgesetzt. Erst einmal fehlen einfach die Hintergrundinformationen zur Welt, was ich sehr schade fand. Man wird oft einfach in Situationen geworfen, die man gar nicht nachvollziehen kann bzw. die erst viel später erklärt werden.

Der Hauptaugenmerk liegt tatsächlich bei der Heldenreise, was ich zwar interessant fand, aber was mir persönlich nicht gereicht hat. Dadurch zieht sich die Handlung manchmal doch sehr und ich habe mich zwischendurch sehr gelangweilt.

Eine gute Idee, deren Potential leider nicht ausgeschöpft wurde. Deshalb gibt es 3 von 5 Punkte.
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,387 reviews293 followers
July 17, 2019
This one felt light, and for once light is not a good thing. It did not feel fully fleshed out, I had no idea about history, geography, culture, what anyone looked like, how old anyone was. I knew nothing of this world. Except that there are mages, and a king, oh and slaves, and churches.

Grey is a mage, but one illegally since all must belong to a guild. His grandpa was taken, since he too was not in a guild (see where I am going with this?). So he is trying to find him.

Brix is a runway slave and they meet with a bang. Since slaves should not run away, bad for business. Oh and Grey might have stolen something too.

There are people after them, Guilders (always that dang guild!), the Church (they get so angry about runway slaves).

They run, they oh that is a spoiler, but they pick up 2 other strays. And things get dark at the end too. And I really can't see where the next book will take them, something freaky happens and yes I can not see anything.

But was it really for me? No, others might enjoy it more, the light side, the adventure. I did want more, a fleshed out story and longer. It was rather short too so there could have been more. I like to immerse myself in a world.

Light fantasy adventure with a twist.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,693 reviews855 followers
April 10, 2021
3.5 stars

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: corcoran (mc) has a chronic knee injury; achillean scs.

BlogTrigger Warning DatabaseTwitterInstagram
Profile Image for rat.
33 reviews10 followers
June 12, 2021
kind of a dull and a bland read. choosing the most boring execution of some interesting concepts is the worst way to go down. like the characters were one dimensional, with little to no dynamics to carry out an action-adventure story. they didn't really have much solid motivation/driving force worth any emotional investment.

and while the magic system was kind of interesting, the world building was way too thin to go with it. and the plot has a really clumsy execution as well like i can see how the author was trying to bind interesting concepts together but it didn't really work out in the end.

Profile Image for Moon.
397 reviews47 followers
April 14, 2019
Really enjoyed this book, it made me laugh, it made me want to know more.
Profile Image for RG.
3,092 reviews
September 21, 2019
Pretty standard 1st person POV wizard/necromancer adventure fantasy. Some half decent characters. Plot was very simple but the biggest downfall was the complete lack of worldbuilding. Alot of fantasy out there. Would appeal to people who like the simple fantasy style without being too dark.
Profile Image for Atlas.
679 reviews28 followers
June 18, 2019
People see the world and think it's made of wind and rock and water, when really it's made of spells and words

* * *
3 / 5

Lord of Secrets was a deceptively simple story: a young man is searching for his captured grandfather. He is told to find a man and steal a relic from a temple. To be honest, it was very refreshing to read a book that had a clear direction. I've read way too many books that are needlessly complicated for the sake of surprising the reader.

Just like that, he strode out of the place that had been his prison for the better part of a millennium, up into the darkness

Corcoran Gray is an illegal mage. With a fake tattoo on his hand and a high ranking officer on his tail, Gray is on the search for his arrested, imprisoned, and probably tortured grandfather. He stumbles into a stable and finds a runaway slave girl - Brix - who ends up getting them both arrested. From there we have a breakout, a break in, and a fair chunk of temple-robbing as Gray tries to follow the clues that his grandfather has left him.

Like I said, the plot it good. Added into the mix was a pretty awesome magic system where spells must be painted onto a surface using runes and then spoken aloud. The catch? Spells burn through paper, skin, or whatever they are written on, and casting a spell takes a huge physical toll on the caster. Not only is Gray constantly in pain or about to throw up, but he also has a destroyed knee that he wears in a brace and is epileptic.  

A leaky sod barn on the cold moors outside Fenwydd that did not contain twenty shitting goats was already a piece of luck. You can't have everything

The characters were a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand I thought Corcoran was a solid guy with a load of baggage, insecurities, and chip on his shoulder. He is complex. He's also twenty-six and this book is solidly in the realm of adult fantasy rather than YA. But my favourite character was Jaern, a living god and necromancer who was pretty twisted and got his flirt on a lot. On the flipside, side characters Brix and Lorican were pretty blank slates that felt pretty stale; Brix's only 'real' features are her loyalty to her sister and her cool racial magical abilities (which weren't explored enough).

Like the plot, the writing was also simple and clean. This is a very easy book to read and Corcoran is a solid narrator. I did raise my eyebrow a couple of times at some turns of phrase that I thought were totally out of place in a fantasy novel that wasn't in a modern setting. The worst offender was probably "at the moment she was joshing me". Joshing?? I've never heard anyone but twelve year old boys say joshing!

Overall, Lord of Secrets was an interesting and imaginative book. I definitely give it a lot of credit for the magic system and its elegant simplicity. But I think it could have done with a bit more polishing, fleshing out of characters, and the ending was a bit cringe.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of Lord of Secrets.

Read this review and more on my blog: https://atlasrisingbooks.wordpress.co...
Profile Image for Becky'sBookBlog.
400 reviews19 followers
April 5, 2019
I received this ARC from the Publisher via Netgalley for an honest review and can confirm all opinions are my own.

This has got to be one of the best debuts I've read in a long time. I blazed through this book in a matter of days and was thoroughly hooked by the plot and characters.

Corcoran Grey is an easy character to like. He is hilarious, most of the time without trying, passionate and despite what he tells you, an extremely good guy. Hes a character with great disability representation, and I love how Teintze didn't shy away from the ugly side of his disability, he describes his pain and limitations in detail, making you slightly more able to empathise with his character.

On his journey to find and rescue his grandfather Grey, quite literally, stumbles into Brix, a slave girl who is on the run from the guild for stealing from one of their temple's. He quickly realises that Brix may be his only hope in rescuing his grandfather, and so they form an uneasy alliance. I really enjoyed reading the relationship between these two, and seeing it progress from people who barely tolerated each other to something more. Brix doesn't let Grey get away with any of his "shit" and calls him out more than once. I truly believe that through the book she manages to make him into a slightly better person. That being said "Romance" doesn't feature heavily and if i'm being honest it was a breath of fresh air, you could tell the characters cared for each other without massive declarations of love, or mass amounts of sex. It was a pleasant change and made their relationship all the more relatable for me.

The World-building in this book was unique as you see it through Greys eyes, rather than having a dump of historical data, like you get in some other books. You learned about magic through Grey and once we meet Jaern we learn more about Grey's and the worlds history. This book contains a fresh magic system and though I found it slightly confusing and overdone at the beginning of the book, the more I read the more it fit into the general plot and story-telling so that it felt natural. One thing I liked was that the magic had limitations, so often in books now "Wizards" have little or no limitations when casting spells, but I felt that the limitations made it seem more plausible (yes I know i'm talking about wizards and spells) , every time Grey cast a spell he poisoned himself and his recovery time depended on the strength and difficulty of the spell.

The storyline was brilliantly thought out and written, there were no "slow" parts of the book, and I felt that every little fact that we learnt added something to the overall plot. I enjoyed everything about this book the characters, the fresh magic system and the plot. It was brilliantly witty and at times had me laughing out loud. I will definitely be reading the next in the series, and the only downside is that I have to wait so long for it. This is an amazing debut and because of that I am giving it 5/5 stars. Perfect for fans of Sebatien De Castells Greatcoats series.
Profile Image for Miss Pageturner.
373 reviews25 followers
October 4, 2022
🇬🇧 English review below ⬇

Tja, wie man bei meiner Coverbesprechung (auf meinem Blog) sieht, das Cover war es dieses Mal nicht, das meine Aufmerksamkeit auf sich zog. Stattdessen sprach mich der Inhaltstext an, wobei ich ihn jetzt im Nachhinein wenig gelungen finde, eigentlich sogar richtig grottig.

Ein interessantes Magiesystem
Das Beste an diesem Buch, das verrate ich euch gleich zu Beginn, ist ganz klar das Magiesystem. Magie hat ihren Preis, das ist an sich nichts Neues, aber die Art, wie Magie hier beschrieben wird, nämlich als eine Art Gift, fand ich super interessant. Die Magie basiert auf Runen. Der Zauberer muss seinen Zauber als Runen aufschreiben und dann aufsagen und je nachdem welchen Zauber er gewirkt hat, spürt er körperliche Auswirkungen. Von Übelkeit, über starke Schmerzen, bis hin zu Krampfanfällen, je stärker der Zauber, je stärker wirkt “das Gift der Magie”. Die meisten Zauberer wälzen jedoch die unliebsamen Nebenwirkungen auf Sklaven ab, nicht jedoch unser Protagonist. Er hält die Nachwirkungen selber aus und nur weil er dadurch häufiger beeinträchtigt ist, ihn als untalentiert und mäßig begabt darzustellen, wie im Klapptext ist schlichtweg falsch und beleidigend, oder war es gar Greys Humpeln, dass den Klapptextschreiber dazu veranlasste ihn, als minderbemittelt darzustellen?

Grey wirkt genauso mächtige Zauber, wie alle anderen Zauberer, sogar stärkere als die meisten und hat eigene Zauber erfunden, von denen andere nur träumen können, er ist alles andere als untalentiert, wer diesen Klapptext geschrieben hat, hat weder auch nur drei Kapitel des Buches gelesen, noch sich wenigstens den originalen Inhaltstexttext angeschaut, eine richtig schwache Leistung Blanvalet! Wenn ich schon keine Lust habe das Buch zu lesen und einen wahrheitsgetreuen Inhaltstext zu schreiben, dann übersetzt noch wenigstens einfach das Original, als solchen Müll zu fabrizieren.

Grundsolide High Fantasy, die Spaß macht.
Nun gut, ehe ich mich noch weiter aufrege, kommen wir zurück zum Buch. Über das Talent von Grey habe ich ja schon gesprochen, aber er war auch sonst ein sehr sympathischer und authentischer Protagonist. Er ist nicht frei von Fehlern, manchmal ist er stur oder aufbrausend, aber das machte ihn für mich nur menschlicher. Mit Brix kam ich weniger gut aus, was aber mehr eine Frage der Sympathie, als der Ausarbeitung der Figur lag. Die Nebenfiguren dagegen fand ich wieder gut gelungen.

Was die Handlung angeht, so ist das Buch meiner Meinung nach grundsolide High Fantasy. Das Genre wird hier nicht neu erfunden, sondern stattdessen bedient man sich genretypischer Elemente, aber trotzdem macht das Buch einfach Spaß beim Lesen. Es ist kein super detailliertes episches Großwerk. Im Worldbuilding und auch bei den Figuren erfährt man als Leser*in so viel, wie man für die Geschichte wissen muss, aber es geht nicht zu sehr in die Tiefe, aber meine Frage an euch. Brauch ich denn unbedingt immer den 800 Seiten epischen Klopper in der High Fantasy? Oder kann es nicht auch mal eine solche detailärmere, aber runde und unterhaltsame Geschichte sein? Meine Antwort wäre na klar. Und detailärmer heißt ja nicht völlig ideenlos. Die Autorin flechtet in ihre Geschichte u.a. Runenmagie, Nekromantie und einen wahnsinnigen (nicht)Gott mit ein und kombiniert das mit Elementen der Heldenreise und auch eine gute Prise Humor. Alles in allem habe ich mich beim Lesen wunderbar unterhalten gefühlt und das ist ja wohl die Hauptsache.

Die Legende des Zauberers erfindet das (high Fantasy) Rad sicher nicht neu, macht aber auch nicht viel verkehrt. Ein sympathischer Protagonist, ein interessantes Magiesystem und eine unterhaltsame Handlung bescheren einige vergnügliche Lesestunden, weswegen ich nichts zu meckern habe und das Buch gerne weiterempfehle.

❗Important note: English is not my first language. So that English-speaking community members can still read my review, my review has been translated with the help of a translation program (since I don't have the time to translate it myself every time). I therefore apologize for any mistakes and strange phrasing.

Well, as you can see from my cover review (on my blog), it wasn't the cover that caught my attention this time. Instead, the content text appealed to me, although now in retrospect I find it less successful.

An interesting magic system.
The best thing about this book, I'll tell you right at the beginning, is clearly the magic system. Magic has its price, that in itself is nothing new, but the way magic is described here, namely as a kind of poison, I found super interesting. The magic is based on runes. The wizard has to write down his spell as runes and then recite it, and depending on which spell he cast, he feels physical effects. From nausea, to severe pain, to seizures, the stronger the spell, the stronger the effects of "the poison of magic". Most magicians, however, pass on the unpleasant side effects to slaves, but not our protagonist. He endures the after-effects himself, and just because he is more often impaired by them, to portray him as untalented and moderately gifted, as in the blurb, is simply wrong and insulting, or was it even Grey's limp that caused the blurb writer to portray him as inferior?

Grey casts just as powerful spells as all other wizards, even stronger than most and has invented his own spells that others can only dream of, he is anything but untalented, who wrote this blurb has neither read even three chapters of the book, nor at least looked at the original content text, a really weak performance Blanvalet! If I already have no desire to read the book and write a truthful content text, then still at least simply translated the original.

Ground solid high fantasy that is fun to read.
Now then, before I get any more upset, let's get back to the book. I've already talked about Grey's talent, but he was a very likable and authentic protagonist in other ways as well. He's not without his faults, sometimes he's stubborn or quick-tempered, but that only made him more human to me. I got along less well with Brix, but that was more a matter of sympathy than of fleshing out the character. The secondary characters, on the other hand, I found to be well done again.

As far as the plot is concerned, the book is rock solid high fantasy in my opinion. The genre is not reinvented here, instead they use genre-typical elements, but still the book is just fun to read. It is not a super detailed epic magnum opus. In the worldbuilding and also with the characters you learn as a reader*in so much as you need to know for the story, but it does not go too much in depth, but my question to you. Do I necessarily always need the 800 page epic blockbuster in High Fantasy? Or can't it be such a less detailed, but rounded and entertaining story? My answer would be yes, of course. And less detailed doesn't mean completely lacking in ideas. The author weaves into her story, among other things, rune magic, necromancy and a mad (not) god and combines that with elements of the hero's journey and also a good pinch of humor. All in all, I felt wonderfully entertained while reading and that's probably the main thing.

Lord of Secrets certainly doesn't reinvent the (high fantasy) wheel, but it doesn't do much wrong either. A sympathetic protagonist, an interesting magic system and an entertaining plot provide some enjoyable reading hours, which is why I have nothing to complain about and gladly recommend the book.
Profile Image for Cat Strawberry.
694 reviews19 followers
July 30, 2019
Wow, I’m not really sure what to say after reading this! It’s a good fantasy story with some great characters and has a unique twist on how magic works, and the consequences of using it which I haven’t read before in a fantasy book, but for some reason I just didn’t enjoy reading this as much as I had hoped. Lord of Secrets is the first in the Empty Gods series but feels more like a stand alone novel with the story wrapping up nicely at the end. It begins with the main character, Corcoran Gray, finding himself invisible in a barn, waiting for a spell to wear off when a woman, a fugitive, bumps into his invisible form. The two soon get caught, but with Gray practicing unlicensed magic and the woman turning out to be a slave on the run, they team up together to break out of prison and to help Gray save his grandfather.

The story feels easy to read and I did like the humorous way that Gray, who narrates the story, talks from the very beginning. However it did take me some time to really get into the tale due to the over all way it was written. The story is quite quick to unfold and is quite short when compared to your typical fantasy book, a lot happens though which is good, but at times it felt like everything was too rushed and I would have liked the story to have gone on and into much more detail than it ever really did. Gray and the woman are soon joined by another charcter and the three go searching in a dark underground place for something that Gray needs to save his grandfather. Although I was warming to the over all plot in this book, it wasn’t until this adventure underground began, that I really felt invested to keep reading.

The way that magic is cast and the consequences of using it are really interesting and very different to most stories I’ve read. The characters need to constantly scribble things down, usually on themselves, in order to cast any magic and there are some terrible physical consequences to the caster of any spell that is cast. I don’t think I’ve read anything like this before and it definitely made me more interested in the main character who doesn’t deal with the magical poisoning all that well. About half way through the story things get far more interesting and I finally felt the creepy vibe of this novel. It begins with that underground adventure and what happens while the characters are there. It had a really good eerie feel to it and I loved the new character that joined the story soon after.

This particular, and very dark, character really kept the story going for me and was such an interesting one to get to know. However, the way the tale concludes with this character felt disappointing and too rushed. I felt like this character (I’d be spoiling the story if I mentioned a name) was pivitol to how dark this whole series could be and would keep me really wanting to read on to see how much darker things would get but in the end the last scenes felt rushed and we never really got to know why this character was as dark as he was or what he was really thinking. The only real disappointment I felt was from reading this book was not getting to know this character more because until they showed up the story felt it was lacking something and it really got more and more interesting as it progressed with this new character. There was such an opportunity to make them even darker and even more scary and to draw out the tension between this and other characters even more (possibly acrros the whole series) but this just never really happened and it felt disappointing to having things end the way they did.

The over all ending of the book is a good one with the whole story having a proper end and not just a cliff hanger moment. I did like the way that things finished for Gray, Brix and the others, although what happened to Gray was a bit weird, not at all what I was expecting, but it was a good and interesting twist and I hope to read more of Gray’s new predicament and any consequences of it in future books. I also liked how things ended overall for all the characters but if I’m honest I was expecting a bit more at the end, especially given the fact this is part of a series. There was a great opportunity to leave a few unresolved problems, to keep me wanting to read the next book in the series, but this whole story finishes as if this is a stand alone novel and I wasn’t sure what to really think at the end. What happens in general to all the characters isn’t anything bad and I did like the over all ending but I also wanted there to be much more about Brix and what had happened to her, I felt there could have been much more of a story or exploration about the djin bottles, there could have been more with Lorican who I liked as a character and although he has some necessary information to explain in the last half of the story, after that his character felt more of a background one with no decent reason to be there any more. I also think what happens with the romantic relationship in the last pages was a bit rushed, given the timeline of events, I usually love stories with added romantic components but book felt like it rushed things at the end and that last scene had a bit of a moment which felt less romantic and more gringe – which I’ve not experienced reading romantic stories before in fantasy books.

There is occassional swearing in the book with the f word being used once and milder s and p words used a little more often. There isn’t anything else really upsetting though, it is a little creepy and scary given the fact there is necromancy in the story with animated dead moving around, but it isn’t too scary to read and this book does make for a good and quick fantasy story. Despite my criticisms about the book on the whole and its ending there is a part of me that really got into the story and what happens is still a good read for those who want a lighter fantasy novel. The creepy necromancy and over all story was interesting and I did like the way conversations went with Gray or another character often saying something that made me laugh. Gray’s narration of the whole story was good too and I liked the way the whole plot goes. I was compelled, especially after the dark underground part, to keep reading this tale. However it just didn’t feel like a finished and polished novel if I’m honest and I often felt some distance when reading it. There were some really good moments to the plot and it did keep me invested in reading but I never really felt my emotions tugged either way. The writing was good but there always felt like there was some distance to the whole story, like I couldn’t quite enjoy getting to know the characters I had wanted and the dramatic scenes just didn’t feel as dramatic as I expected them to.

Overall if you like fantasy I’d still recommend this book, however if you are looking for a very in-depth series and are used to having a lot of detail in stories and a lot of depth to the characters then this maybe isn’t for you. It was a good read though and despite my criticisms I know I’ll still be wanting to find out what is next in The Empty Gods series and hopefully find out more of what happens to some of the characters after that interesting twist with what happened to Gray.
-Thanks to Jo Fletcher Books for a free pre-release copy for review.
Profile Image for SJ.
218 reviews2 followers
October 13, 2019
DNF at 80%, I picked this book up on the promise of two things: an interesting magic system, and queer characters. The book starts well enough with the first one, but we get trapped in a loop of “if you perform magic you must Suffer” and the suffering and misery becomes unrelenting. As for the queer characters...I honestly couldn’t tell you who they are??? Did I hallucinate that bit of the promo??? I have a feeling it might be the Villain, who sometimes says flirty things to our extremely heterosexual hero, but that’s still a guess. Don’t waste your time with this, there’s better fantasy out there.
Profile Image for Ash | Wild Heart Reads.
243 reviews141 followers
September 19, 2020
I really enjoyed Lord of Secrets. It’s one of those books where it may not have the most intense plot or be the most complicated book I’ve ever read but it made it that much more enjoyable. It was a fun, quick read with great characters. Sometimes you just need something that gives you a few hours of enjoyment. I did find the romance a bit instalove-y but that aside there’s necromancy, banter and a lot of good magic.
Profile Image for Simone.
Author 1 book13 followers
August 9, 2020
Ah I love this. Idiot insecure boys who are in denial about their feelings are exactly my shit. And unlike many other books-in-a-series I've read lately, there's no irritating cliffhanger.
Can't wait to read more adventures about these walking disasters.
Profile Image for Jacey.
Author 26 books97 followers
June 22, 2019
Oh my goodness, I enjoyed this. It was a random read from Netgalley, a debut from Breanna Teintze, published by Quercus. I didn't intend to read it until closer to the publication date (8th August) but I glanced at it out of curiosity and got sucked right in.

Corcoran Gray is an outlaw wizard, pitted against the Mages' Guild who have imprisoned his grandfather. He's got no money, no friends, and he's on the run. Could it get any worse? The answer is, of course, yes. Ms Teintze has used the age old method of the worst thing she can think of to her character… and after that, making it even worse. Good for her! It works. The magic system is more than harsh on its users. Gray suffers, but never gives in.

Poor Gray, you have to feel sorry for him, but this is not a pity party. His inner voice is full of sarcasm tinged with black humour. He fights back. Together with the runaway slave, Brix, he has to break out of jail, descend into the depths of a dangerous underground temple and face a necromancer who might even be a god. If he can do this and keep his soul intact he might – just might – be able to save his granddad.

The book strap line is: Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is… complicated. That pretty well covers it. Highly recommended.
452 reviews4 followers
May 3, 2021
Yeah, I'm surprised too.
Normally with books I don't know, from authors I don't know, where I don't actually have any idea how they ended up on one of my shelves, I give off four stars and go on to the next. But this book is so well-written and well put together that I can't, in good conscience, cost it any star. The writing style reminds me a bit of Brandon Sanderson; easy to follow, and everything comes back together at the end.
The main character is Gray, a magician (of sorts) who is really cynical (of sorts) and really doesn't care about other people (except he does). It's immediately very hard not to like him, and then he meets Brix, who finds him lying in a barn, running away from the Guild. Together they embark on a quest to save Gray's grandfather Acarius.
So far, this sounds pretty standard, but then the plot really picks up at the middle when Gray has to find an artifact to save his grandfather's skin. A twist happens there that is pretty hard to spot beforehand, and it only gets better from there.
The book isn't perfect but this was definitely one of my bigger surprises this year. Brandon Sanderson-fans; keep an eye on this one.
Profile Image for Terri Jones.
2,073 reviews26 followers
March 24, 2020
DNF: stopping at 68% after not wanting to continue for days.

There are interesting aspects to this story, but it reads like the plot was laid out as if at every point where something could happen, something terrible or scary does. There is no time to breathe, no rest, and this reader hit a fatigue wall. There doesn't seem to be much personal progress for our main character, and he doesn't seem to like...very much of anything, really.

So, yeah. Done.
Profile Image for Gemma McGee.
436 reviews4 followers
June 19, 2019
Lord of Secrets has one of my favourite opening pages/ first sentence in any fantasy book I have read. It had me smiling.  

Corcoran Gray is a character I liked straight away, he is sarcastic, smart, and he is trying to his best in a bad situation. His inner monologue is one of my favourite element of the book. Also Gray has a disability, which does affect his abilities. But it doesn't stop him.   

Another element I enjoyed about Lord of Secrets was the way in which magic worked. That magic poisoned the body, and spells must be written as well as spoken. It was a nice twist on magic in the fantasy genre. 

If you like books that have;

interesting repartee
makes you laugh
A character with a disability
I always think it is a good sign when after finishing the book, I immediately look to see when the next book is out. I did that with Lord of Secrets, nothing is out yet. But I will be keeping an eye out of it. 

 Then I would advise picking Lord of Secrets. 

My rating for Lord of Secrets is 5 out of 5.
Profile Image for Kate A.
441 reviews12 followers
August 5, 2019
You know when you pick up a book and it’s an instant click, the kind that you are pretty sure of after the first chapter, well I had that with Lord of Secrets. I honestly had trouble putting it down and anytime I did I was itching to get back to this wonderful fantasy world.

The premise of this book is surprisingly simple but really well-executed. The magic was an awesome construct, I like that there was a give and take and that Grey was pushing the boundaries and showing what kind of toll it takes, I was fascinated with the spells but was also very intrigued by the necromancy side to the story.

The world-building was good, there is a difficult balance in fantasy books between really fleshing out the world and getting on with the action, Lord of Secrets leans more toward the latter. Not that I felt confused at any point I got enough information as the story progressed however there maybe wasn’t as solid a foundation as there could have been although that was certainly made up for by the pace and excitement of the book.

I liked Corcoran Gray, his wit and the fact that he’s a bit of a rebel, even though his goal at the start of the book is more shall we say self-indulgent, to save his grandfather, eventually it changes into a need to help the people he cares about and the people of his world. There was a certain tomb dwelling character that really made Gray shine the back and forth between them was amazing and I liked that they were almost the little devil on his shoulder.

This enigmatic character was a brilliant addition to the book and gave it this unexpected dimension that really had me engrossed in the story, I loved their unpredictability and that I could never be sure whether they were being deceitful or if there was some truth to what they were saying.

I was slightly disappointed with the conclusion for this character I feel like more could have been made for him, I had the same kind of feeling with Gray but more because of how his relationship with Brix makes quite a big leap at the end that I feel was unnecessary. I have to say though that that was only a minor thing and didn’t lessen my enjoyment.

This was a wild and wonderful journey and it has definitely piqued my interest in terms of seeing where the author takes this world next. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for what comes next.

Originally posted on everywhere and nowhere
Profile Image for Heather K Veitch.
147 reviews63 followers
July 30, 2019
I tried really hard to like this book, but most of the time I was confused. In terms of the opening, I appreciate the author thrusting the reader straight into the action, but I initially didn’t have much to go on in terms of the main protagonist's name/appearance, which really threw me for a ball. Here was a character, driven to illness through use of magic, who was in the middle of some kind of conflict due to the sudden appearance of a stranger — the second protagonist, who I got to know a little more about… A complete stranger to the first protagonist, and suddenly they are joining up to infiltrate a Temple. Then suddenly there are more characters who join up with them and they’re all on an adventure … I wasn’t clear on any of the reasons why, because it all felt nebulous and jumbled, and my overall sense of confusion remained throughout the book.

I’m no stranger to fantasy, and the magic system was interesting — but in terms of characterisation and plot, I was mainly bored. These aspects felt light and in some cases, very stereotypical. I didn’t care about any of the characters. I felt the world-building needed work and a lot more depth for me to really get my teeth into the story. I love being completely immersed in epic fantasy worlds and this just did not do it for me. I hate leaving a one-star review, but I really didn’t enjoy it — however, someone who enjoys light fantasy may do so; it’s personal preference.

I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Quercus Books, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Martin Owton.
Author 14 books77 followers
May 11, 2021
Nicely- written and paced 1st person POV fantasy with some interesting variations on magic. The central character, Gray, a young mage operating outside the Mages' Guild has one major objective - to free his Grandfather from the Guild who seized him while Gray was away. Plenty happens and it is generally well-paced but Gray is at times annoying, spending too much time on agonising on what he has done/should do. I also found it unbelievable that Gray - who apparently has no romantic history at all - at no point gives us a description of the female MC, Brix. They get romantically entangled but Gray never mentions that he finds her attractive when they meet or subsequently. As the story progresses it also becomes apparent that there is a lot of backstory to Gray and his relationship with his grandfather, Acarius, that should have appeared earlier. There is also a lack of world-building that could have enriched the story. I wanted to like this, but in the end I didn't care that much about what happened to Gray. Interesting ending though.
Profile Image for Dee.
797 reviews45 followers
September 5, 2019
A fun but still gritty romp. Enjoyment of this one will definitely pivot on whether you like the main characters - our first-person narrator - and I did from the very first line. His voice is a delight, and he's the most interesting sort of anti-hero: one who doesn't think he has the capability - or even the desire - to fix all the many wrongs in the world, but who still knows they're unjust. He's full of insecurities and uncertainties and slightly broken bits, and he's covering them all with wisecracks and a veneer of stubborn independence. I want all the good things for him, ever.

On top of that, the magic was absolutely fascinating, and the world felt faded and lined and real - we weren't going on a magical tour, we were following along as people lived their lives, and they didn't necessarily know everything outside the bounds of those lives.

Fun to read, and satisfying to have-read.
Profile Image for Sam.
166 reviews7 followers
March 5, 2020
I wanted to like this book. I really did, buuuuut it fell apart around the 60% mark. And well, tbh, I was looking for books with LGBT+ representation and this is problematic rep and on top of that, the plotting is clumsy, Grey and Brix's relationship is all over the place. Lorican could have been interesting but he was barely present.
Profile Image for Sarah Wright.
189 reviews5 followers
September 12, 2019
4/5 stars — seriously cool magic and entertaining character conflicts

One of the most captivating books I've read in months, Lord of Secrets drew me in with its system of poisonous magic and held my attention with a cast of strong-minded characters whose clashing personalities led to humor and horror in turns. Breanna Teintze's debut capitalizes on imaginative worldbuilding and classic rescue quest format but doesn't skimp on wit or atmosphere. I was hooked from the first chapter!

Main character Corcoran Gray was instantly relatable for me based on his dry humor, his bad knee, and his absolute inability to prioritize his own well-being. I have a bad history with characters who stubbornly throw themselves into harm's way to protect their companions, but it was largely successful here. (After a couple of chapters spent waffling on this point, I decided I didn't mind Gray going out of his way to protect his young female traveling companion because he put himself in just as much danger protecting an older male character later. This isn't a Dresden Files misogyny-disguised-as-chivalry situation, in my opinion.)

Minor spoiler:

Major spoiler:

My main reason for knocking a star off my rating was the intensity of Gray's feelings for his love interest by the end of the book. He professes his love and admits to wanting to spend the rest of his life with this person, which felt hasty to me. Lust I'd accept; love...maybe, although that's pushing it; a desire to commit to a lifetime together? Not so much. I enjoyed the development of the relationship and I like the characters together, but I had a hard time believing the depth of their bond. Their mutual confession of feelings also led to a weird sex ending that I didn't love.

In short, Lord of Secrets hit a lot of good notes for me. I really enjoyed the dynamic of Jaern as Gray's foil, as well as Brix and Lorican's mysterious motivations. This was less a case of a group of adventurers on a quest and more "four people who want different things happen to be traveling in the same direction and using each other for their own ends." The magic was as excellent as I'd hoped, with the necromancy side of it setting up a few truly creepy scenes. (Those creatlachs! Scary.) The book balanced snarky dialogue with emotionally touching moments and exciting magical action scenes. There's a magical duel that rivals Dumbledore vs. Voldemort in Order of the Phoenix. Seriously.

If I had to encapsulate the beauty of this book's premise into one mildly spoilery sentence, it would be this: Talk about irony!

This book is strange and cool and never too terribly dark; I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Emma Spence-Hirst.
122 reviews1 follower
September 1, 2020
Rating: 4.5 stars

Dates Read: June 27th 2019- September 1st 2020

Firstly I would like to thank Jo Fletcher books for providing me with an early copy all the way back in May-June time in 2019. I can only apologise enough, that it’s taken me this long to finish this book!

“Lord of Secrets is a heartwarming fantasy about saving the people you love without destroying the world (or yourself)”

This book surprised me so much with how much I liked it, I know it may not seem like it with how long it took me to finish, but I found myself gripped each time I picked it up. It’s very fast paced and definitely didn’t fall into a boreish pace at anytime. From the moment this book begins to the end, it’s quick paced, non-stop and action packed. For a fantasy book that only has 330 ish pages, there is a lot jam packed into it!

I was cackling so much at this book, the banter and sly witty remarks between the characters catches you off guard at times and does give you such a giggle. It’s a very character driven book and therefore heavily relies on the bonding and relationships of the characters. If you liked the Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E Schwab, you will love this book, the tones are very similar!

The magic system of this book is intricate and I do feel that at times there should have been more in depth about it’s history and/ or origins, as there was a lot of different magical spells/incantations that were too complicated as the reader to fully grasp, and it did make me feel a little lost. However, it is well woven into the story and the writing style melds very well with it.

I liked that in this book the enemy changed constantly, you felt like you really couldn’t trust certain people and it set up perfectly for the true villain’s reveal, and even then it’s hard to see them as the villain. Like a few of the characters in this book, particularly those in our band of front characters, you understand a lot behind what drives them. The character of Brix just wanted to save her sister, and you couldn’t blame the bad things she had to do in order to achieve that, because you do sympathise with her. Jaern was a character I both loved and hated. I wish we could have seen so much more of his past and what drove him to being who he became. Also, we NEED to have a backstory about his and Acarius’s love story! (Not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting that little twist.) Lorican needed to have a little more explained about him too I think, as his backstory was only mentioned in relation to his motives to help, but it was dropped in later that he was responsible for a lot more than he let on, but this wasn’t explained in more detail! Gray as our MC, was an intriguing character to follow. The entire story is about his mission to saving his grandfather (Acarius) after being captured by the magicians guild, but so much more happens throughout this story that all melds together, but it was intriguing to see how throughout the journey, he always did his best to be the good guy. Which at times felt like he didn’t have much hindrance against that, and I would like that to be explored more in the rest of this series. Especially now he is in Jaerns body!

This brings me into the whole necromancy/ body swapping element introduced which- HOLY HELL. It was a very interesting addition and a very shocking twist in the story, that I really pray gets explored more in book two because it only seemed to touch upon it in this book. I liked how at the beginning of this book, Gray believes it to be almost impossible and by the end it’s talked about as though it’s like changing your hair colour!

Overall, I gave this book 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed the concept and will definitely be picking up book 2. I’m eager to see where the author will go with the story line and what is in store next for our cast of characters. Thank you again to Jo Fletcher books for sending me a copy.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 78 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.