Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) – John Gwynne

3 star

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor

A black sun is rising …

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.

High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.

I decided to pick up Malice after reading countless positive reviews, unfortunately I found it to be a long, drawn out story that left me disappointed and bored.

Malice, for the most part, follows four characters as they navigate the world. Out of the four, I only enjoyed one of them and that was Corban. The reader follows Corban as he comes of age in this medieval world and learns strength, courage, and honesty. Though Corban’s arc is a stereotypical coming of age story within the fantasy genre, I thoroughly enjoyed him as a character and the adventures he goes on.
Unfortunately, the rest of the characters didn’t draw my attention immediately. Instead, it wasn’t until the second half of the novel that I started to connect with them as characters and enjoy their perspectives.

The world Gwynne crafted within Malice is full of history, but is not communicated clearly. Gwynne focused almost solely on creating well-developed characters that the world building falters slightly. There are so many interesting creatures and giants that are never fully explored only hinted at.

Overall, I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to my thoughts and rating of Malice. I found it to be too slow and didn’t bring anything new to the genre.


Have you read Malice? What did you think?

4 thoughts on “Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) – John Gwynne

  1. I haven’t read anything by John Gwynne but based on your review, I would probably stay away from this. I’ve been having trouble lately with books that are too slow so I’ll pass😊

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