Malice by John Gwynne

malicecoverTitle: Malice
Series: The Faithful and the Fallen #1
Author(s): John Gwynne
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback
Release Date: December 3rd 2013
Pages: 656
Genre(s): Fantasy
ISBN13: 9780316399739

This is John Gwynne’s debut novel and today is the day that I finally conquer this mountain and proclaim victory upon this massive beast. The Faithful and the Fallen series has unfortunately recently concluded with the release of Wrath in 2016, but John Gwynne will soon return to war with a brand new series set in the same world but a hundred years later called A Time of Dread. Nothing like looking forward to all the good things in life, right? With Malice now under my belt, I now have a pretty good idea what the author’s style is like and what his universe introduces to readers.

Told through multiple point of views, Malice puts readers at the heart of a God-War in the making. Once rid with giants, a conflict between these beings with humans has surmounted into a terrible clash that split these two camps into two for countless years. Signs of all kind are now springing out of the blue and causing loads of worry to rulers of different kingdoms in regards of their course of action. Prophesied that these signs are clear indicators of horrid things to come, The High King Aquilus decides to summon his fellow kings to council and seek to reunite them to join forces against an impending evil. Doubt however lingers in the minds of some, while others seek to stop the rise of the Black Sun and stand strong with the Bright Star. But who exactly are these mysterious figures who hold the destiny of this universe?

There are four key characters that play a bigger role in the grand scheme of things, while others come and go throughout the narrative. Corban is the son of a blacksmith, and also a child, who seeks to become a warrior that will earn the respect he greatly desires. Evnis is a man whose wife suffers from a great illness and who’d go to great lengths in order to save her from a fate that seems inevitable. Veradis is a swordsman who proves his worth quickly and gains the trust and praise of his warband as he learns the ins and outs of his talents. Nathair is a High Prince who doesn’t believe in the methods of his father, but who has the wits to come up with great ideas.


Corban’s character gets a lot of attention throughout the book with his perspective and story-line occurring far more often than the others, but his development was wonderful to follow. His character learns to face adversity and to stand up to bullies in all shapes and forms, no matter their title. His introduction as a fear-struck yet determined character made him easy to be loved. With themes of friendship, loyalty and justice being interwoven with his character, his progress is masterfully handled. In fact, expect John Gwynne to get you to connect with a lot of his characters. But don’t think that it’ll all be a happy journey where your little heroes beat the big bad guy and exclaim in sheer joy. No, no, no. This can get quite dark, quite fast.

The book also ventures in some political conflicts, but John Gwynne doesn’t plunge too deep into those oceans. Everything in this book actually never truly explores the darkest corners or even grope any extremes that you’d wish it did. Malice is an enjoyable and well-constructed epic fantasy debut novel that sets the universe up with a mesmerizing lore filled with giants, wyrms, wolven, draigs and what not. It integrates a bunch of classic tropes of the genre, but never fails in delivering them. The author’s ability to build the rise of this war through multiple perspectives is what makes this such an entertaining debut. Plenty even see resemblances with Game of Thrones, and they aren’t wrong to think so. I am now truly excited to see where things will go in Valor now.

Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada and Orbit Books for sending me a copy for review!

You can order your own copy now!


Amazon (USA) – Amazon (Canada)Chapters IndigoBook Depository


Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about Malice?

Share your thoughts with me!

Till next time,



57 thoughts on “Malice by John Gwynne

  1. I have read way too few books this year, sometimes through events not of my own choosing, sometimes because I could not tear myself away from anime, movies and tv series. That said, I plan to read a lot more next year, and have already got quite a number of novels that I want to check out. Kim and Dani added plenty of books to my to read list (I would almost say way too much). But a really cool fantasy epic was still missing, and this one sounds right up my alley. I love the cover for this book, but most of all I am intrigued by the story you are describing here. Truly a terrific review, it caught my attention right from the start. Thanks for sharing this one 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Finding that perfect balance that permits you to do all of that, as well as reading, is a pain! 😂 Took me a while to understand how complex time management can get hahah Ohh, I know what you mean. While I am reading far more books than I ever have before blogging, I still want to go through way more books per year 😂 Kim definitely has wonderful recommendations throughout the year indeed, she has made my own TBR grow greatly for the past 2-3 years. I’m glad to hear your interest in this series though. I think it might indeed satisfy those needs of yours, although I also think there are sooooo many amazing epic fantasy series that could greatly please you too! Thank you so much for reading, Michel! I always appreciate your thoughts man!! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah no problem there! That happens to me too when I come across fellow bloggers who read and review things in the romance-erotica world! 😂 I do appreciate that you took the time to drop by and read this though!! Thanks Stephanie! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much Dani!! 🤗 Reading these epic fantasy stories with over 500 pages has been craaaaazy lately 😂 and I still have plenty of those to go through too hahahh I greatly appreciate your kind words Dani!! Have a wonderful day!! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to know you liked it. I received an e-copy of it earlier this year so maybe I’ll read it next year. My plan is to read more of my own books, which I say every year but I’m really serious this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s excellent news, Zezee! I hope you do enjoy it when you get around to it. I hear ya… Can’t say I haven’t told myself the same thing before 😂 Hopefully we’ll really be able to read more of the books we own in 2018 before getting huge hauls! 😁


  3. Awesome!😀👌 Fantastic review as ever!

    I have to say I was reading the review thinking ‘I’m glad you liked the book’ and saw you gave it 4 stars but then I read this at the end ‘I am not truly excited to see where things will go in Valor now’ and had to double check you liked it!😂

    You make so many great points. Especially about the characters and Corban in particular. His development is fantastic to follow.

    I loved the entire series but I know a few that think Malice is the weakest book in the series however, you’re in for a treat as the whole series is exceptional.👌📚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks man! I appreciate that. 😁

      Damn. That’s one crazy typo I left unchecked! 😂 Now* is the right word there. Not “not”. 🤦🏾‍♂️

      Yep. His character was pretty cool. It’s like YA done right within adult fantasy. 😂 I also loved Storm! Would love to have a partner like that in life.

      Sweet!!! I’m pumped to see where the series goes from here. For people to say this is the weakest is pretty crazy, and sort of understandable since it was setting up the table for the lore. I do see why it is your favourite series though. 😊 Looking forward to your thoughts on Gwynne’s new novel soon though. I wonder what it’s like to do a series where a lot of its lore has been developed in a previous series. 😏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh man, Storm is awesome! I agree, I’d love a partner/pet/companion like that in real life too! 🙂 I also have a soft spot for Craf, so funny at times. 😉

        That’s true, it should leave more room for story in the new series and world building taking a back seat as it’s already in place. I’d guess that there will be some changes to the world but not much. Should be great, will probably start it next week for the new year and as a read I know I’ll love to start the new year well with a great read. 🙂

        Ha, it was one crazy typo, sorry for pointing out, I hope I didn’t offend you as that wasn’t my intention. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How’s A Map of the Dark by the way? Starting it now and should be done with it for release day (them thrillers be 1/10th of the length of fantasy books, it’s nutz 😂)

        Hahah no worries man. I can tell the difference between someone who points out mistakes to troll and those who do it out of kindness. 😂 Thanks for mentioning it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ha, that’s true about thrillers and for some reason I also find them quicker to read too. Not just the length but I find I don’t need to concentrate so much on the book and the pages go by quicker.

        I really enjoyed it. 🙂 I don’t read many thrillers (hoping to read more in 2018 though) so I can’t compare it to others but for the book itself I thought it was really good and kept me gripped.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. True, true. Still got to say the font size and spacing looks huge. 😂 Still looking forward to it though. A fast-paced thriller would be a nice change in scenario in-between epic fantasy bricks. 😂 Good to hear it wasn’t bad at all!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review for this book Lashaan, and wow I can kind of see why it took you a while to get around to this mountain given how many pages it is, but hopefully now you’ve read Malice it will be easier to get started on the second book in the series. 😀 It sounds like a great story, with well developed characters as well which is important in books with multiple POVs I think, and hopefully the second book will explore the darker corners of the universe that this one skimmed past. 🙂
    Again great review. 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Beth! Hahah I have a couple more series that I want to start that are just as huge too though! 😂 I just need to plug them into my schedule at the right time to be able to get through them 😁 Yep, the first book doesn’t delve TOO deep into that darkness since it really had to present the world and its characters. I’m glad that that was done properly cause now the next books are probably going to get pretty intense! Thank you again, I appreciate that. 😋

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. Oh see I always get a little wary about books that are too big, especially first book in series, so I have to be in a certain mood to read them. Hopefully you’ll be able to make your way through the bulk on your to-read list in the new year right?
        That’s all right. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review, Lashaan! I am poorly educated in the world of adult fantasy. I LOVE me some fantasy novels, honestly. But I find it a challenge to find books I enjoy. I don’t like anything with graphic descriptions of violence and I have never remotely been interested in Grimdark. I wonder– does John Gwynne’s writing fall into either of these categories? I am completely intrigued by your review and I definitely want to check it out now! Besides, I am a series binge-reader— I need the series to be completed before I start reading any of them. And this certainly fits the bill!

    And other fantasy novels you’d recommend? I am always looking for something new and exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, thank you Jackie! I greatly appreciate the kind words and the time you took to drop by!

      I am myself just a rookie when it comes to fantasy novels. At least in regards to those read. If we were to consider all the fantasy novels I know of and really crave to read—but just can’t because my reading speed only vouches that I am human—I can definitely point you towards some interesting places to look at. I understand the disinterest for grimdark as it might indeed be the most violent subgenre for fantasy novels. I do enjoy them when they are done properly though. I wouldn’t really put Malice in that category as it really ventures the fine line of dark fantasy with a couple of gruesome and vivid action scenes (but not as descriptive and gore-filled as you’d often get in grimdark). It really is like Game of Thrones but slightly toned down. It might however get much darker in the next books, so.. who knows!

      One of favourite reads this year was Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. It only had 1 out of 3 books released so far (with the second one coming out real soon) and would definitely recommend it for all its bad-ass female characters. I also highly enjoyed The Way of Kings (its a huge book, slow-paced, highly rewarding) by Brandon Sanderson, but that series is far from being completed too. His Mistborn series would be something interesting to check out too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t been great about blog hopping lately, but I appreciate the kudos in this comment! It always feels good to be appreciated. 😀

        What makes you say you’re a rookie in fantasy? You seem to be well educated in the genre– it’s hard to feel well-read in such a saturated genre, honestly. Don’t sell yourself short!

        Red Sister sounds RIGHT up my alley! It’s a shame the second book doesn’t come out until April, and who knows when the 3rd comes out. But I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for that.

        Mistborn I’ve heard quite a bit about– magical heist? I’ve read Sanderson’s part of The Wheel of Time but that’s about it. I thought he was still working on Mistborn. But thanks to you, I just discovered there are TWO Mistborn series! One trilogy is already complete, and now it is checked out from the library. Mwahaha! Time to dig into some more fantasy.

        Thanks for all the recommendations, Lashaan! I cannot wait to check these out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahah don’t worry! 😉 It is no easy task to blog hop and stay active on everyone’s post anyways. I’ll always appreciate those who take the time to do it though.

        That is exactly why I feel like a rookie 😂 Compared to some of my fellow friends on here who have years of experience in the genre, I still have some ways to go before feeling like I’ve checked out those “must-reads” of the genre, but yes, you’re right. I shouldn’t sell myself short. I did go through a nice amount of them in 2017 and plan on continuing my onslaught in 2018. I’ll always have some nice recommendations for anyone curious enough. 😁

        From how prolific Mark Lawrence is, I think he’d be able to dish out the 3rd book within a year of the 2nd one’s release hahah Glad to hear your interest in Red Sister though. It was sooo much fun!

        You’ve gotten that far into the Wheel of Time series?! That’s like… a life goal for me 😂 I plan on trying the first book out this year in fact hahah So glad to have unveiled those books to you though, sounds like you’re in for some great fun! 😂

        Happy reading, Jackie!! 😏

        Liked by 1 person

      3. For me, the biggest challenge when recommending Fantasy is that they are almost ALL series books! So, you can either read only fantasy and crush a ton of series, or you can read here and there and barely make a dent in the genre. Don’t get me wrong., I love the genre and I will keep reading them– but it can be challenging to make recommendations based on that.

        I was introduced to The Wheel of Time when I was still in secondary school. My uncle and my coolest cousins were reading it, so I jumped on that wagon. Turns out I loved it WAY more than they did. I am considering a re-read at some point… but that’s a lot of books to plow through! Let me know if you pick them up. I’m curious to see what you think!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That is so true. I do love recommendations for series since I like knowing that there are countless more adventures I can check out if the first book turns out fantastic. But you’re right still right though… It just makes it so much harder to complete a bunch of series!!

        I am amazed that you did complete that series though. I hope to read the first book this year and hopefully complete the series in my lifetime hahah A re-read would surely be awesome, especially if it has been a couple of years now! Based on what I’ve seen from other readers who have re-read after 5,10, 15 years, they end up having a completely different experience that is sometimes even better than the first time! 😀


  6. Hmmm a GOT look a like? I’m game! (no pun intended)
    It does sounds like an epic kind of book, and considering how massive it was and how you still managed to get so captivated by it that you had to finish it, makes me hopeful that I might enjoy it as well! I never read anything by this author so I’m intrigued about the writing style.
    Sometimes political intrigue is best left alone, or else it threatens to overtake too much of the plot. So it’s not a bad thing to not pay as much attention to it as some other fantasy/historical authors. I do love how intricate it is, nonetheless, and how it’s not a happy reading (though I will regret saying this sometime in the future LOL)
    Amazing review as always, Lashaan 🙂 And give yourself a pat in the back for finally conquering this beast!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! A pretty decent one too. Fascinating how huge books can keep you hooked huh? It was even more impressive for The Way of Kings since that book was even looooooonger and I loved it even more! I think my review spoke for itself too hahahah 😂 Ah yes, the political intrigue can totally overtake the plot but since the kid’s POV was interweaved into thr narrative, you’d never feel like it was too big or boring. Everything simply balanced out on all fronts. Ahhh, this one gets darker as you reach the ending and it will probably be even more intense in the next books too! Thanks for reading, Sophie!! I’m super glad to hear your thoughts on this. 🤗


  7. Great review, Lashaan… I swear I have been eyeing this whole series out for about a year now and haven’t taken the plunge… doesn’t help that I’m in a bit of a slump (blogging/reading) at the moment… yuk… But still.. it’s super great to see you validating the worth of this book! I will get to it one of those days, I will! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liz. Hahah I think I can say the exact thing for so many books that I have. Some have been waiting for almost 2-3 years now too… Yikes… The author is going to release the first book of his new series set in the same universe soon and I guess that was the main reason that got me to want to try Malice first. 😀 Hope you do get the chance to try it out someday though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got Malice today- it was on sale… and I did see the new book on Netgalley but thought the same, that I have to read the first series first as I noticed the comments about some world building/.character overlap… it would be good to be up to speed 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review! Honestly, I DNF’d this about 3 years ago- I found the writing style a bit too obtuse for me- but this makes me want to check it out again (a bit 😉 usually for things like writing style I just call it a day) But the way you talked about this made it sound so awesome- glad you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Waaahh! I did not expect that. 😮 That’s quite interesting though. I can’t really think of any book that had a writing style that was bad enough to be called obtuse, but I can think of one by a self-published author where the dialogue made everyone feel like robots and everything else felt void of emotions and life. I’m glad to have renewed interest in this book for you though. I can’t say if you’ll find it much better if you tried it again though hahah Hope you do if you ever decide to try again! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I actually wish I’d be given this to review! It would galvanize me to read this behemoth! Corbin sounds like a character I would WANT to read for… while I don’t mind dark, it interests me more that it’s not as dark as you’d like 😉 And I enjoy creatures in my fantasy… seductive review Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah I am indeed lucky in getting this to review; well.. getting anything to review, really. 😀 Oh, but I think it’ll get darker as you get into the series though. 😉 And yess! Corbin is so much fun. I think I just prefer young adults in adult fiction better than how they are usually done in YA. Absolutely anything can happen to these kids, but their growth is just that much more fascinating! Thanks Dani. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree! I think I got into YA fiction because I enjoy YAs in adult fantasy especially. I think with adult fiction it’s clearer the protagonist is growing and changing. Whereas with YA fiction the way a character is, is treated like the premier of everything… nothing better can come after…

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