I received a copy of The Godborn by Paul S Kemp free to review via Netgalley. I should preface my thoughts by noting that I am not very familiar with Kemp’s The Twilight War trilogy and when reading this book I often felt as if I were a new reader to the Wheel of Time who had picked the series up at book four. I had the impression that a lot of assumptions of previous knowledge about the world have been made and I often found it difficult to keep up. I suspect that if you are already up to speed, you will have quite a different experience reading this book than mine. This is reflected in the low rating I gave this book.
The Godborn tells of Vasen Cale’s quest to reunite the shards of Mask’s divinity which had been split among three people and to prevent Shar’s reincarnation which would lead to world destruction. At least that’s what I think it was about. I wasn’t very clear.
What I liked
The premise. I felt the idea of pieces of divinity having to be collected and reassembled interesting and well done.
What I disliked
Lack of focus. The Godborn is a relatively short book at only 336 pages, yet I felt it had a cast equivalent to that of the Wheel of Time. Too often I felt that we spent a few pages getting to know a character who then disappears a few chapters later. In such a short book this time would have been better spent concentrating on our main characters so that we actually care about them. Without time devoted to them, our protagonists feel flat. I couldn’t help comparing this to The Companions, the first in The Sundering series, which is a far more tightly focussed book concentrating on four or five main characters.
Likewise, I felt there were too many irrelevant plot lines. For example, while I liked Brennus and his homunculi, his relationship with his brother and father and his desire for revenge felt irrelevant to the main plot line.
Overemphasising themes. Clearly light vs dark is a major theme in this book. I understand that. I didn’t need it rammed down my throat every five or six pages. By the end of a few chapters I was groaning and shaking my head at yet another mention of Vasen’s shadows alongside the faith light of his shield or the silver hidden beneath the tarnish.
All in all, I struggled to finish this book, and I suspect it was partly due to my lack of familiarity with Kemp’s previous work. If you have not read them, I cannot in all honesty recommend this book to a new reader. If you have read The Twilight War you may enjoy it a lot more. If so, please let me know in the comments.
I gave The Godborn by Paul S Kemp two stars out of five.