WARNING: This is a book review. It may and likely will contain spoilers from previous books in the series. Read at your own risk.
The Godspeaker Trilogy comes to a bloody conclusion in Hammer of God. Rhian, now Queen of Ethrea, must convince the leaders of the Trading Nations to not only accept her as leader of Ethrea, but to follow her into battle against the mighty Mijak. Their only hope is an armada to sink the murderous horde at sea, and the great leaders sneer at the “little girl” who wishes to lead them.
Thanks to Dexterity, Zandakar, and the unlikely ally Emperor Han, Rhian convinces the other leaders of the threat of Mijak. The armada sails.
And is defeated. Mijak advances on Ethrea, and from there to every nation in the known world. What will Hekat do when faced with the reality that her beloved god is a demon? Will Zandakar fight for Ethrea and the queen he loves? Or will he fight for Mijak and his own family?
That, I won’t tell you. I need to leave you something to read and discover.
I will admit, I wasn’t surprised how it ultimately ended. It took some interesting twists and turns to get there, but was the ending I anticipated. The writing was riveting. I could hardly put the book down. The characters were compelling, and Miller conveys emotion well. I could feel Zandakar’s struggles, Rhian’s desperation, and Emperor Han’s anguish. I was entirely wrapped up in their world, and that is exactly how I like a book to be.
Stepping back from the narrative, the entire trilogy echoes the history of the world we live in. It feels very much like the numerous crusades and conquests of nations in the past. Not to say that they were listening to demons, but religious leaders have slaughtered, pillaged, and conquered for their deities before. They have also done so because their secular leader said it was what was right for the good of the people.
Examples: the Crusades from England to Jerusalem, the WWII Holocaust, the conquest of the Americas… Just to name a few.
Aside from war, Miller explores the idea that differing religions can, in fact, be seeing the same thing. They aren’t necessarily looking at evil, but a different facet of God. Goodness is so widespread that no one perception can encompass it all. I like this idea because it feels so inclusive.
But that was my takeaway. It is a good story on the surface as well. There are points where the writing could have been stronger, points where I lost interest, but overall I enjoyed the books.
Trilogy rating: good. I have re-read it. I still think the first book, Empress, was the strongest and the best.