*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
‘Truth and Courage’
A Time of Courage is the concluding instalment to the Of Blood and Bone trilogy and is the seventh book to be set in the Banished Lands. This trilogy is set 100 hundred years after the events of the Faithful and the Fallen series. A Time of Courage picks up soon after the events of the second book, A Time of Blood. Once again, this book follows multiple perspectives, although there is one additional perspective in this instalment. The final battle is here, and it is time to see who will prevail. As this is the last book in a trilogy, I will not be going into detail concerning the plot to avoid spoilers.
After loving the previous two books, I had high hopes for this instalment, and it didn’t disappoint. A Time of Courage is a fantastic book and I loved every second of reading it. It was so good to be back with these characters. Gwynne continues to do an incredible job at developing his characters in this trilogy. All the characters are just so well written; each one full of complexity and it’s amazing to compare them between how they were in the first book and how they are in this one. Riv, Bleda, Drem and Fritha continue to be the main character perspectives, with the addition of Jin in this book. This means that there are now three perspectives on the ‘good’ side and two on the ‘bad’ side. I love that we get to see perspectives from both side of the conflict. It is also interesting that each side believes that they are ‘good’ and that many of them have done questionable things – it leads to an interesting take on the traditional good vs. evil fantasy trope. All the chapters are compelling, and each character has a distinctive voice. One of the things that Gwynne does best is writing friendship and he once again demonstrates this in A Time of Courage. The relationships between the characters are so well written and I love the way they have developed throughout the three books.
As I mentioned earlier, the final battle is here, and the stakes are high. Gwynne once again showcases his ability to write action scenes in this instalment, while also incorporating strategies and tactics. There are incredible action sequences throughout this book; the final battle, in particular, is astounding. I seriously cannot say enough good things about it. Along with the action scenes, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. Even when there is a break in the action, the writing, world and character development will keep you reading. Gwynne does a great job at balancing the quieter moments with the action-packed moments. This book isn’t short at 672 pages, but it never felt that long. There is just so much to keep you engaged; the world, the action sequences, the incredibly well written characters. Reading this book was an emotionally roller coaster and I love the way the tension builds throughout.
Once again, the world is one of my favourite things about this trilogy. Gwynne has created a wonderfully vivid world with an interesting history to it and I love the references to the Faithful and the Fallen series. The reader is dropped straight back into the world and once you start reading you won’t want to stop. It was bittersweet reading this book, since this will be the last book set in the Banished Land, at least for the moment. I hope that Gwynne will explore more of this world, even if it’s just in the form of short stories. The Banished Lands are an incredible fictional world and I would love to be able to explore it more.
Overall this was a fantastic concluding instalment and I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. I absolutely loved this book, although it was a little bittersweet to finish it. While this trilogy can be read as a standalone trilogy, I would recommend reading the Faithful and the Fallen series first. It will give you a wider understanding of the world, characters and story – you may miss certain things if you read this trilogy first. If you haven’t checked out these books yet, I highly recommend you do, especially if you love epic fantasy books. It’s still only February but I think I may have already found one of my favourite books of the year, if not my top favourite of 2020. Gwynne is currently working on the start of a new series in a completely new world that takes inspiration from Norse mythology. The Dragon Unchained, book 1 of the Bloodsworn saga, is set to be released sometime in 2021.