The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) – Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

three and a half stars black
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 597
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: January 7, 2020


Haven’t read the previous novel, The Gutter Prayer? Check out my review here!

Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan’s acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy.

Enter a city of spires and shadows . . .

The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees.

Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets – a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it.

As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay?

The Shadow Saint continues the gripping tale of dark gods and dangerous magic that began with Hanrahan’s acclaimed debut The Gutter Prayer.


The Shadow Saint picks up a few months after the events of The Gutter Prayer as the city of Guerdon gets back on track.

The Shadow Saint opens up the world where The Gutter Prayer did not while introducing two new characters that take centre stage. Where The Gutter Prayer focused almost solely on the city of Guerdon, The Shadow Saint introduces many different countries with their own cultures and beliefs. Despite this incredible world building, it feels shoehorned in, as there’s little to no set up for it in the previous novel.

With the introduction of new characters, I was disappointed that the cast of characters from the previous novel were not the focal point in the sequel. I was especially disappointed about Cari’s lack of screen time. What happened to her at the end of The Gutter Prayer and where and what she’s doing in The Shadow Saint was incredibly interesting. Every time we got to spend a little time with her, it was never enough making the next chapter a slog to read.

The Shadow Saint features a lot more politics. These moments are interesting and slow in the best ways. Readers get to simmer in the political machinations of the city. However, these moments are seen through the eyes of Eladora who is far from my favourite character.

As previously mentioned, The Shadow Saint expands on the world building exponentially by introducing dragons and kraken. Unfortunately, it feels out of place. I won’t say more because of spoilers.

Finally, The Shadow Saint almost feels like a retread of the previous novel: something happens to the city, they overcome it; the city goes back to rebuilding itself. In terms of plot movement, we’re almost at the same place as at the end of The Gutter Prayer.

Will I be reading the third novel? Right now, I’m not sure. I really like the concept of this world, but The Shadow Saint brought the story in a completely different direction that I didn’t always appreciate while reading.


Have you read The Shadow Saint? What did you think?

5 thoughts on “The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) – Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

  1. This is an interesting review. I very strongly disliked the execution of The Gutter Prayer and have no intention of reading this. I had a lot of the issues with the first book that it seems like you had with this one. I get the sense the author likes building worlds more than telling stories, and for me, story is always number one. Hope your next read is better anyway!

  2. Excellent recap of your thoughts, Nadine. I think, if I had a half star rating system, I’d go with 3 and a half too. The cast change and the refocus of the story on other things (like politics) was almost unjustified. Almost like we were reading a new novel and that’s not really what I was expecting for a sequel… Hope the next book won’t make the same.. mistake.. I’ll end up being unforgiving, I think hahah

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