The Eighth God by Paul S. Lavender
Disclaimer – We keep our reviews PG, but the book is most certainly not! Probably not recommended for younger readers.
“For thousands of years, five great fortresses have stood sentinel between the Borderlands and the rapacious Orcs. But the Orcs have allies and these allies are about to set a chain of events in motion that will lead to war…
Heroes will rise to answer the call.
Saethryth has just returned from the Orc Lands where he has been killing them for over twenty years. He is one of the last Orcslayers left alive.
Melress is a Half-Elven Battle Mage, recently promoted to Captain and sent to the fortress of Knight’s Perch, where there are rumours of a traitor.
Tierra has been sleeping with the enemy and now she wants revenge.
And Bazak-Kul, well he just wants to get home alive.
They, and others, will face the onslaught at Knight’s Perch, but battle is the least of anyone’s problems, because The Eighth God is on the rise and everything can change when the Gods are playing.” – From Amazon
Story – Very Good
We do not know if this will be a theme, but we like it. This book was not what we expected it to be, a vast cast of characters take charge of this fast-paced fantasy adventure. While there appears to be a substantial Dungeons and Dragons influence, or any fantasy role-playing game for that matter, Mister Lavender uses his variety of races to create identities for characters that many can grow to love, though keep in mind, it is not always wise to become too attached. In some respects, The Eighth God is a typical example of the dark fantasy genre, a dark and unforgiving world where death could be waiting around every corner and expletives dance across the pages, creating a world that at times feels more real than real. The story starts with a slow burn, but the pacing is kept high by the short chapter length and frequent shifts in the POV, Mister Lavender takes his time introducing his characters, constructing them with care. The story picks up quickly, however, and not to give too much away, but he shares George R. R. Martin’s fondness for his own characters. It is a fun story and well worth the read.
“Grash-Kul sat on his throne staring at the place that his son Bazak had been standing. After a long pause, he sighed and rubbed at one of his eyes. Why, he thought, did everything have to be so complicated?”
Writing and Formatting – Good
Since reviewing The Eighth God, Mister Lavender has put out a new edition of his novel, in which he has addressed many of the formatting issues we describe below. We sincerely believe that this edit on Mister Lavender’s part has improved the quality of his book and as such we have adjusted our review to reflect the changes.
Probably the biggest downfall of the book is the wonky formatting, with extra line breaks used for emphasis, we believe, being mixed with the additional spacing that was already between paragraphs, causing some pages to contain very little information. As well, a fair number of errors in the text could be resolved to enhance the experience. That being said, the errors are not so frequent as to be overly distracting, and our biggest beef is still with the formatting.
“Then, he was amongst the Orcs, his fist thrust went straight through the heart of the Orc that had just fired at him. The Orc fell back with a grunt and blood spumed from the hole in his chest. The next Orc didn’t even see Melress. The first thing he saw was the long swords tip as it pierced through his neck.”
Literary Value – Sufficient
Probably the greatest benefit of using such a cast of characters is that you get to look at the prejudices and hate that can exist between people for no other reason than that they do not look alike. Perhaps this is one of the easier themes to touch in a fantasy novel, and Mister Lavender hits it home pretty well, though perhaps more time could have been taken to understand the intricacies of such relationships. While the reader gets a view of it from afar, the characters to appear to be relatively unaware of it, if the characters themselves grew a bit more it could have enhanced it further. Of course, stifled character growth seems to be symptomatic of the genre, which makes sense, as a dim worldview would not allow the full self-awareness of the characters, and perhaps there is something almost Freudian about it, but that analysis is better saved for another time.
“The Elf made no move to avoid the blades, and Grash smiled as the cutters ripped through armour and left shallow cuts in his skin. Saethryth stared in shock as he realized that the Chieftain wasn’t using metal blades.”
Overall – 4, A Solid Dark Fantasy
If you like your fantasies dark and brutal, then The Eighth God is for you. Mister Lavender has delivered something from the sweat of his brow that is a heck of a lot of fun to read and will leave you yearning for another adventure through the world he has made. What begins with mere glimpses turns into a portrait of a dismal world painted in shades of gray, brought to life by unusual characters. If you like the genre, you will love The Eighth God.
Do you want to read The Eighth God? It is available on Amazon!