You are not welcome here, godkiller
Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.
Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.
Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.
Worshipping Gods is outlawed within the borders of Middren. This includes pilgrimages to holy sites and the keeping of shrines, symbols, totems and charms etc. The Veiga also known as Godkillers are appointed by King Arren to enforce this law and ensure that any Gods identified are disposed of. Kissen is a Veiga and takes her job very seriously. Kissen is approached by a young girl called Inara who seeks her help. Inara has a God called Skedi (Skediceth), a God of white lies attached to her and seeks Kissen’s help so she and Skedi can be parted. Elogast (Elo) was a former knight and soldier to King Arren but gave up his role and title to become a baker as he didn’t agree with King Arren’s beliefs relating to god worship. Elo and Arren grew up together and still remain close friends. But then due to a turn of events Arren seeks out the help of his friend for one last mission because he owes an outstanding debt to a god. So starts Kissen, Inara, Skedi and Elo’s journey which starts off as two separate journeys but then converge into one when they join forces.
I’m the kind of reader that can normally tell from the first chapter whether I will vibe with a book and I can honestly say I connected with this book straight away. The opening chapter was the perfect beginning to what I can only describe as an epic journey with some amazing and unforgettable characters. At the beginning we are introduced to a young Kissen and what she and her family go through because they worship a certain god. It is due to their beliefs that they are targeted by others and Kissen loses her whole family but it is due to her father’s sacrifice that she lives. When we are introduced to a grownup Kissen she is fierce, independent, a fighter but she’s very much alone in the world. Her sole job and focus is that of a Godkiller, spurred on by the loss of her family. That is until she meets Inara and knowing that Inara’s fate is linked to Skedi’s she decides to help Inara so she can be separated from Skedi without being harmed. At the same time we are introduced to Elo who is on a quest to save his friend King Arren.
I loved this storyline. The writing was immersive and the world building was extraordinary. I felt like I was on a journey with the characters and part of the action. I really liked the characters in the story because they just complemented each other. We have a strong female lead in Kissen, a former knight, a young girl and a god. I really liked the disability representation in the book. Kissen lost part of her leg as a child but it’s never stopped her fulfilling her role or helping others even when she is in immense discomfort and pain. She embraces her disability, accepts that it is part of who she is and that it has shaped her into the person she has become. At the same time it is also a constant reminder of what happened leading to her losing her family and her father saving her. Elo has seen a lot during his time as a knight and still suffers from flashbacks and PTSD. Inara is very young and wants to be free from Skedi. Skedi on the other hand wants to be free from Inara but at the same time has formed quite an attachment to her. It was interesting to see how Skedi at times manipulated the characters but they didn’t know they were being manipulated until things came to a head.
The book ended on a pretty big cliff hanger that set up the next book in the series perfectly. When I read the last sentence I couldn’t believe that it was the end of the book because I wanted to carry on reading to find out what happened to the characters next. The fighting scenes were immense and descriptive. It was clear from the descriptions given that both Kissen and Elo are very accomplished warriors.
If you’re a fan of high epic fantasy which includes the found family trope then this is a book not to be missed.
Hannah Kaner is a Northumbrian writer living in Scotland. She works as a senior digital consultant in Edinburgh, delivering digital healthcare, tools, and services for the public sector. She has a first class degree in English from Pembroke College, Cambridge, and a Masters of Science with distinction from the University of Edinburgh. She is inspired by world mythologies, angry women,speculative fiction, and the stories we tell ourselves about being human.