The Kingdom of Alanya is home to mystic warriors and mischievous djinns, vulgar poets and vain philosophers, soaring simurghs and scheming shahs.
Little do the people know that a power struggle between an ancient sorceress and an upstart sultana threatens to bathe the sands in bile and bones. A bloody cauldron boils, and primeval gods laugh whilst they stir it.
As warhorses charge, arrows shower, and cannon shots brighten the night, all must choose a side.
While reading (and re-reading) Gunmetal Gods, book 1 in the Gunmetal Gods saga, I didn’t think the story could get any more compelling. Boy, was I wrong! Conqueror’s Blood takes everything that I loved about Book 1 and makes it even better.
The structure of the book is very similar to the first one. You have two POVs that you follow. They are different from the ones in book one, and while I’ve seen some people complain about that because they would have preferred to follow the original ones, you don’t have to worry. You’ll get plenty of continuation of the story in Conqueror’s Blood. Just from different points of view. And that’s what impressed me the most. These two new POVs are on a whole new level.
One of the big themes of the Gunmetal Gods series is the discussion of different religions with different beliefs, showing that not all “good” is inherently good (and vice versa, not all “evil” is inherently evil). Just because you believe that following the guidance of the gods will make you “good” doesn’t mean it actually will in the grand scheme of things. Zamil is a maestro when it comes to exploring the “not everything is black or white” trope. The two POVs we follow really showcase this, and literally until the very last page you’ll be able to experience the shades of gray of this world.
You’ll also find some of the most amazing magic systems in this particular entry in the series. I loved exploring all the details of the rune system (not sure this is the actual descriptor for it 😉 ), even if not every small detail is actually explained (something else Zamil is great at – little to no info dumping; you learn about the world as you go through it in a very natural way). Also, I appreciate when a magic system has repercussions, and this one does.
Finally, you’ll find the same poetic (but not purple) writing you’ve come to know from the first book. The colors, smells, and vibes – all inspired by Middle Eastern lore – will surround you on every page. It’s a blast to experience this world with new eyes.
If you like Malazan-esque stories that reveal themselves as you read (just less confusing), with huge world-building, beautiful writing, and addictive characters, then you should give the Gunmetal God saga a try. Just check for trigger warnings if you are sensitive to them.
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