Tom Lloyd's Reviews > A Time of Dread

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
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really liked it


An accomplished and rousing tale of heroes and dark deeds that fans of epic fantasy will devour. It’s squarely traditional epic fantasy – or rather, what I think that is nowadays since I don’t mean to suggest it has a lack of women etc – that ticks every box for when you want a good honest story of swords and monsters. It never stands above that for me, so while I didn’t have the niggles I did in Malice and rattled through it, as the same time I wasn’t totally swept up. Increasingly that’s a difficult thing for this jaded old fantasist though and this is certainly above the standard fare I’ve read. For me it lacks the X factor (like Tchaikovsky’s furious imagination, KV Johansen’s sombre grace, or Erikson’s looming weight of history) that might make me love it, but if that was the only reason I picked up a book I’d not have anything like the TBR pile I do…

The characters are good and well-drawn, again comfortably within that cosy (the way I see it anyway) trad epic mould, but neither oddly left-field nor stolidly predictable. It was interesting to see how they looked back on a history I don’t know well, having only read Malice, and that certainly gave it a nice depth to world building that would otherwise have been a bit too bland. The battles were good, the premise and shape of the story remaining interesting throughout. By the end I had powered through the novel, looking forward to when I would have an hour to myself to read, and that’s worth a lot to me. There are a lot of books that get described as classics and brilliant but I’m a bit too British to often get so excited about a book. And here is no exception, but that doesn’t mean it’s not very good indeed.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 12, 2017 – Shelved

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