Sunbringer by Hannah Kaner #HannahKaner @HarperVoyagerUS @SnyderBridge4

Posted February 26, 2024 by Robin in Book Review / 3 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunbringer by Hannah Kaner #HannahKaner @HarperVoyagerUS @SnyderBridge4Sunbringer by Hannah Kaner
Series: Fallen Gods #2
Published by Harper Voyager on March 12, 2024
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

When Middren falls to the gods, your kind will be the first to die.

Gods are forbidden in the kingdom of Middren—but now they are stirring, whispering of war. Godkiller Kissen sacrificed herself to vanquish the fire god Hseth, who murdered her family and endangered her friends. But gods cannot be destroyed so easily, and Hseth’s power threatens to reform with even greater strength and a thirst for vengeance. As tensions rise throughout the land, the kingdom needs its Godkiller more than ever.

Still reeling from the loss of Kissen, young noble Inara and her little god of white lies, Skedi, have set out to discover more about the true nature of their bond. As the divide between gods and humans widens, Inara and Skedi will uncover secrets that could determine the fate of the war to come.

Meanwhile, Elogast, no longer a loyal knight of King Arren, has been tasked with killing the man he once called friend. The king vowed to eradicate all gods throughout the land, but has now entered into an unholy pact with the most dangerous of them all. And where his heart once beat, a god now burns. . .

Sunbringer is the second book in the Fallen Gods series told from multiple PoVs helping to give the reader a full experience in this world full of small gods, lost gods and the people who might had defeated them years ago but forgot to let go of them.   The story picks up a few weeks after the events of Godkiller, with all of our characters recovering from the betrayal, sacrifices made and the cost of going up against a god. (possible small spoilers for Godkiller)

With little tools you make battle with gods, but you still cannot fight faith.

Godkiller was one of my favorite books of 2023 and a fantastic debut novel for Hannah Kaner.  While I did enjoy Sunbringer, the bar was really high to love it just as much as the first book of the series.  Part of the problem is that most of the main characters are separated for much of the book on their own journeys and so the dynamic between them that was so magical in Godkiller was sacrificed.  However, this enables the reader to see so many other aspects of this world they couldn’t have if the characters didn’t split up.  Still I was longing to get to the point that they would all find their ways back to each other to stand together against all of the new threats looming for Middren.  Some from within and many from the outside.

Kissen was one of my favorite characters from 2023.  She is complex, the trauma and loathing she has towards the gods is just as tangled as the body she lives in.  What she didn’t realize until now is that she might be able to kill a god but just because you kill them doesn’t mean you killed the faith of the people that created them.  If that still exists so will the god, but the next version might be slightly changed for better or worse.  She has a new task set to her by a God and she might not like it but she does see the need for it.  She has been a Godkiller for most of her life, with only few to claim as friends or family.  Inara and Elogast made in into that small circle during their travels in Godkiller and she will do this to be able to help save them as well.

‘I have seen nations here rise and fall. Gods too, lifted high and then dashed to the ground. And yet . . .’ Her eyes came back, deep and unyielding, ‘This is the first time I have seen godhood and nationhood so deeply entwined. It frightens me. Hseth frightens me.’

Elogast left his bakery to try and save his friend only to find he had been betrayed.  He longs for that piece of his life but realizes he can never go back to the bakery and will have to pick up his burdens as a soldier and commander if he has any hope of standing up what he thinks is right.  Elogast is so broken; he has PTSD from the things he saw in his first campaign against the Gods with his best friend and heartsworn companion.  He might be picking up his sword and armor again, leading men again but the chances are slim he will survive.  He will have every faith tested in his defense of the only city with a chance of standing up to the King.  The fight is harder than he ever knew it would be since the King is tied to a god and is looking to become a god himself.

These waves of emotion, tension, were longing for release. To celebrate, to destroy. Enough for someone’s will to slip in and take hold. Sunbringer wanted it to be his will, his glory. He wanted to claim their chaos and tame it. Skedi understood. It was what a god would want.

For me, Inara and Skediceth had the most interesting story in Sunbringer.  A little girl tied to the god of White Lies is looking for answers of who she is, who her father is and why she is able to be tied to a god.  Staying with the rest of Kissen’s family, she will try to discover what she can do and if she has the power to help in this coming war.  The bonds between her and Skedi will also be tested as each of them is growing in both power and in will.  Inara has the most time with various gods learning how the city of Lesscia has kept so many little gods going in a time when praying to gods is outlawed.  Overall this was one of the most interesting plots to the story.  And even though I could see that eventually her story would have to collide back and merge with Kissen and Elogast, I was impatient waiting to get there.

There is a new PoV in the story of the King who would like to be a God, the Sunbringer.  This added to the overall story and the complexity of what is happening.  I did guess one of the secrets but the climax of the story when everyone ended up in the same space was really all I wanted it to be.  I saw a few of the twists of this story coming, but I also missed some of the bigger reveals that kept the surprises coming for me.  All these characters are going to have to find a way to come together if they are going to stand against wave of power getting ready to sweep through Middren.

Sunbringer is a middle book and suffers from a few middle book issues with some of the pacing as it is setting up for future books in the series.  That said, I was entertained and interested the entire book and couldn’t put it down, needing to get the part where characters would be reunited or come to the revelations we as the reader see they need to get to.  Not as action packed as Godkiller, Sunbringer brings plenty of action towards the last 25% when the story is speeding up to the conclusion of at least this book.  No one in the story is all good or bad, there is plenty of grey area there making for interesting and complex situations that are always more interesting than characters that are strictly good or bad.  I am excited to see where Hannah Kaner takes this story moving forward as I see there being so much potential with the interactions between Gods, man and sometimes the blend of both.

Rating Breakdown
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Posted February 26, 2024 by Robin in Book Review / 3 Comments

3 responses to “Sunbringer by Hannah Kaner