Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze
Series: The Empty Gods #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy,
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
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 . . .
Yes, yes, yes! ‘Lord of Secrets’ is just the kind of fantasy I love to read, and has stayed swimming at the front of my mind ever since I finished reading it.
To start, I just have to talk about the magic system. Everytime I think about it, I want to punch the air. It is spot on. Teintze has created this amazing world where Wizards can’t just use their magic without a second thought. Magic in this world has side-effects. Our main character Corcoran (or Gray as he prefers to be known) knows this all to well, and in his battle to save his Grandfather and friends, has to fight the various side-effects of using his magic. The smallest spell, first scribed on the skin and then cast, can cause nausea or headaches, the bigger ones causing unconsciousness and more. I LOVED how the magic in this book wasn’t just something that was used without thought, but something that had as many drawbacks as it did advantages.
Character wise, Teintze has it spot on. Gray is not only a likeable character, but a realistic one. He struggles with a physical disability, he can be a sarcastic bugger, and tries to use humour to get himself out of awkward situations, but you really root for him as he grows to accept his faults, and takes responsibility for them. He truly has a heart of gold, and I loved getting to know the man underneath his sarcastic bravado. In turn, each of the secondary characters are so well fleshed-out that you come to care for all of them, even the ones that you disagree with. In this tale of necromancy, noone is evil for the sake of evil, and there is a human side to every character.
What I loved the most about this story was the humour which is flecked thoughout in perfect taste. Necromancy is a huge part of the plot in this book, and as well as drawing on the heartfelt side of raising the dead, there are some brilliant light-hearted moments too, which make you laugh in despair as Gray and his friends have to put up with a cocky necromancer who doesn’t seem to understand why they may be offended with his raising-the-dead behaviour. There were a couple of moments where I was a little confused about some of the mechanics of the necromancy, with some terms being used when discussing it that I didn’t fully grasp, but I still managed to keep level with the story, without feeling too behind.
Overall, this was a strong start to the ‘Empty Gods’ series, with a intoxicating mix of magic, family, friendship and of course, necromancy. I cannot wait to see where Teintze takes these characters next.
* Review copy kindly provided by Jo Fletcher Books in exchange for an honest review*