This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
08.08.19 / Jo Fletcher / Fantasy / Paperback / 336pp / 978-1787476240
Target Audience: For fans of bold magical fantasy that explores gods, race, the power of the soul and protecting those who need it from a fate worse than death. Dark twists and turns mixed with some of the most humorous moments I have witnessed in fantasy in a long time.
About Lord Of Secrets
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).
My Review of Lord Of Secrets
Most of the time when I read fantasy novels I come away enjoying certain aspects of the world or writing instead of the book as a whole. It is once in the bluest of moons that I snag a book that kicks genuine ass in every way. Lord Of Secrets is most definitely in this category. Breanna Teintze’s Lord Of Secrets is an explosive first entry in the Empty Gods series that is packed with powerful magic, soul-swapping madness, outlaws, false gods, desire and betrayal. I never wanted Lord Of Secrets to end. Breanna Teintze has crafted a bold, confident and charming fantasy debut, brimming with as much humour as there is danger, that sets up a series that I cannot wait to return to in the future.
Lord Of Secrets follows Gray Corcoran, a wizard who is being hunted by the Mages Guild for his connection to his grandfather Acarius. Acarius was kidnapped for his extensive knowledge of necromancy and the mages want Gray captured as part of their plan to manipulate him into co-operation. Gray had been managing to keep ahead of them whilst furiously searching for Acarius so far. That is until he runs into Brix, a slave who is also on the run, in a barn of all places and ends up imprisoned by the guild and facing torture or worse.
Barely escaping with Brix leaves Gray half dead yet filled with hope. Brix has knowledge of Jaernic temples that Gray could only dream of. Knowledge that would allow Gray to find new leads on his grandfather’s location. In return Gray promises Brix to free her from slavery and get her the money she needs to escape. Gray is contacted by Acarius and given instructions to collect a powerful object from a man called Lorican in the city of Ri Dana. The search for this icon leads the group to none other than the Lord Of Secrets, the false god himself, Jaern. Trapped for 800 years underneath the city and desperate for escape. Gray and Jaern’s motives and missions become entwined in that moment, for better or worse. Gray is binded to Jaern, freeing from his prison. Whilst gaining an ally with powerful magic, Gray has to contain a rogue god with his own plan slowly formulating and evolving. Gray’s journey is about to get a whole lot more complicated and with betrayal, death and battle on the horizon, he will have to give everything he has to survive and free those he loves.
Lord Of Secrets is an absolute blast filled with brilliant characters, unbelievable moments, intricate magic and rebellious natures. There is a lot to love about this novel, especially for fantasy fans. Gray is a superb lead character who is powerful and defiant yet lonely, scared and very cheeky. Brix is another deeply intriguing individual with background, involving a powerful race who are enslaved for their abilities, that has lots of potential for the future. I loved the dynamic between Gray and Brix. It was sweet, cool and brutal at the same time. Jaern was another favourite for me. The arrogance and power of a god mixed with a vulnerable edge to his more human side.
The dialogue in Lord Of Secrets is what made this book for me. Gray’s quick-wit, Jaern’s devious cockiness with underlying tones of loneliness, Brix’s sweetness and ferocity all made for great interactions. That and the situations that they get themselves into. After reading the first few pages, and Teintze’s ingenius use of invisibility, I was totally hooked. The scene with the Gray and Jaern’s soul (don’t want to spoil it) may go down as one of my favourite fantasy moments of all time. Though there are plenty more to choose from as BT’s fantasy writing is as polished and compelling as can be.
GT’s vision on how magic functions was impressive. Powerful and complex yet toxic in large doses and treated with caution. The use of runes and incantations that poison the user in various ways depending of the size and severity of spells. Gray’s interactions with magic got more and more interesting as the story progressed and he had to dig deeper than ever before. I also thought the emphasis on souls and their existence within or outside the body was fascinating too. The focus on Necromancy gave the story a very dark edge that liked to jump to the surface as the narrative builds to the finale. There are many tones and atmospheres in the story but they work harmoniously to entertain, embrace and disturb the reader in equal measures.
Teintze’s development of the story was fast yet precise which was appreciated as you don’t often see that in fantasy. I do love detail as much as the next fantasy nut but it was great to have more pressure and intensity than usual for once. Everything about Lord Of Secrets left me wanting more. Breanna Teintze has delivered an outstanding novel that feels refreshing and new in the face of an ever increasing selection of fantasy series that are hitting the shelves in 2019.
I can’t recommend Lord Of Secrets enough to everyone as it is an absolute gem of a book that will get even the most seasoned fantasy readers on board and invested in Gray, Brix and their fight against the powers that be. Check it out as soon as you can.
About Breanna Teintze
Breanna Teintze writes novels with magic and explosions (well) and gardens (badly). She lives in Idaho with her husband, where she homeschools her three kids, polishes swords, and perfects her eyeliner. Her debut novel, Lord of Secrets, is the first in the Empty Gods series from Jo Fletcher Books. She can be found at www.breannateintzefantasyauthor.com and is sarcastic when she’s nervous.