A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

atimeofdreadTitle: A Time of Dread
: Of Blood and Bone #1
Author(s): John Gwynne
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 20th 2018
Pages: 512
Genre(s): Fantasy
ISBN13: 9780316502245

John Gwynne returns to war with the first book of a brand new trilogy set in the same universe as his original series The Faithful and the Fallen. Having only read the first book of that series, Malice, I found myself in a particular situation that gave me unique insight into what John Gwynne is trying to strategically create with every book he releases. The events that unfold in A Time of Dread is set nearly a whole century after the ending in Wrath, the fourth and final book in The Faithful and the Fallen series. Even with so many years gone by, some things don’t quite change, as sweat and blood still drip from the blades of mortals.

In A Time of Dread, the Ben-Elim, winged-angel-looking folks, are the supreme leaders and are continuously working their way to full authority over the Banished Lands by forcing other clans to commit to flesh tithes. Their pursuit of complete control also parallels a desire to be armed and ready with the strongest and wisest army to take down their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim, whenever they decide to crawl out of the darkness and attempt something malicious. While the leader of the Kadoshim, Asroth, is trapped in an impenetrable cast, the dark-winged-angel-looking fellows are far from giving up upon any potential avenues they could explore in order to stir up some chaos in the world.

Similar to Malice, John Gwynne continues to tell his stories through multiple point of views. In A Time of Dread, we are introduced to four greatly different characters whose adventures are completely different yet all connected by the war between the Ben-Elim and the Kadoshim. First of all, we have Bleda, a young prince who served as a flesh tithe for the Sirak Horse Clan and has lived with the Ben-Elim for a couple of years, following a strict training. Second of all, we have Sig, a giantess glowing with virtue in her heart who finds herself in particular situations alongside her trusted side-kick who just happens to be a giant bear. Third of all, we have Riv, a young lady who is driven by a strong desire to be a White-Wing of Drassil and fight for the cause of the Ben-Elim. Finally, we have Drem, a 21 year old young man who is travelling north with his father as if they were attempting to escape the grasp of faith.


Upon completing this story, I felt like there were two ways you could approach John Gwynne’s books. You’re either a pure adventurer who starts from the beginning, with Malice, and tags along with all the various characters as they serve their part in the grinding of the wheels of destiny, or you embrace your inner historian and reconstruct the timeline whilst embracing the chaos that every character goes through in their lives.

You definitely don’t need to read John Gwynne’s original series to appreciate the greatness of A Time of Dread, but those who do will find joy in spotting all the familiar names and events that occurred a century ago, and assess the impact of certain characters on the turn of events in A Time of Dread. I mean, finding out what Corban accomplishes and what he now means to giants like Sig is one of those things that just easily puts a smile on your face. Ironically, the role of a historian that readers can take up isn’t limited to just spotting references to the original series by John Gwynne, but to also see the influence of real historical events in the development of the world-building in A Time of Dread. Those who revel in historical events and know their stuff will be truly impressed by what John Gwynne envisions and brings to life. It’s just that great.

His writing style is also quite mesmerizing as it will appeal to fans of epic fantasy in many ways. The most notable forte of John Gwynne is in the action sequences that he writes up, and readers will quickly realize that his stories are always action-packed, but also as dark, bloody and chaotic as it can get. Having different point of views also offers him the possibility to explore different fighting styles, whether its in the dual-wielding of swords and axes or the fine precision of bows and arrows. A Time of Dread is without a doubt riddled with action and will get you to keep on flipping through this gigantic book like no other novel. While I did have an issue with the inclusion of internal thoughts of these characters, often infused within the narrative in italics, I can’t deny that I was still absorbed by the story and how it kept on unveiling little plot twists as things got more… dreadful.

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


Have you read it yet? Do you plan to?

What do you think about A Time of Dread?

Share your thoughts with me!

Till next time,




40 thoughts on “A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

  1. I cannot wait to explore Gwynne. I think i mentioned on Twitter I have Mailce here (I believe) to start. So I will begin there and have a ways to go, but this sounds like my cup of tea. I love when alternating PoVs are so varying! You gain so much more insight. Great review as always Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, Malice is definitely a great place to start. It’s fun in so many ways and uses all the fantasy tropes we love just the right way. Hopefully you’ll come to love his books when you get around to them Danielle! Thank you as always!! ❤


  2. Great review for this book Lashaan, and I’m glad you enjoyed it as well. It’s definitely good you were able to keep up with the story considering its a continuation of a series you haven’t finished yet (do you plan to finish John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series at some point?) It’s definitely a sign of a great writer when you can jump into a book like this and still understand the story and the characters. 🙂
    Again great review. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Beth! I definitely plan on completing The Faithful and the Fallen. It’ll be fun to see how things concluded and gave birth to what happens hundreds of years later in A Time of Dread! Yep, he did such a good job in writing it in a very inclusive way so that new readers don’t feel overwhelmed! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. It’s why some people really love to wait till it’s all done so that they can binge through it. Not a thing I’m able to do though hahah I like to mix things up and takes breaks within a series. At least I know I’ll have something good to look forward to somewhere in the future! 😀 Thanks for reading, Karina!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you liked this one… when I first saw this book on Netgalley I really wanted to request it but then though I would first read the previous series and then move onto Time of Dread 🙂 Lots of catching up to do but I think it will be so worth it! 🙂 Great review, Lashaan 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent self-control Liz hahah It’s definitely a wise decision, especially when you know you’ll ultimately enjoy John Gwynne’s books! Hope you do get around to Malice sometime soon! Thanks for reading!!! 😀


  4. Lovely review of this one matey. I am not sure whether I will pick it up. I read Malice a long while back before I kept me log. At the time, I liked it and desperately wanted the sequel. But with the time that has passed, I have forgotten pretty much the whole book and I don’t know that I want to read it again. I have so many other books on the ports for plunder list. But reviews like this make me adverse to kicking the author off the list altogether.
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Captain, I appreciate it! That is one of my fears for so many series I’ve read and enjoyed every since I started blogging. I do hope that I’ll end up completing the original series, but.. with everything I have to read, I don’t know when that’ll be! I’m glad to still keep John Gwynne’s alive for you. Hopefully you’ll be able to try them out again someday!


    1. I’d be curious to see if a re-read would suddenly changes things for you. Wouldn’t however make you go back into these books if it wasn’t a long time ago since you’ve read Malice and didn’t enjoy it though! Thank you so much!!! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I think it would to be fair- I tried to read it around the same time I read the Magicians (which I liked, but took ages to get into) and Eye of the world (I’m sorry if you liked it, but that wasn’t for me)- so I feel like I didn’t give it a fair shot cos I was totally high-fantasy’d out. Luckily I have it on my kindle, so I can definitely just pick it up when I’m in the right mood 🙂 You’ve definitely convinced me to give the author another shot (or two) in general though! 😀 You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh damn, those are some big-leaguers you read back to back hahah I have Eye of the World on my priority list and I can guess why it failed to impress you, based on what I’ve heard about it from others. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember your review for Malice… that you enjoyed the multiple POVs… it seems this is cut from a similar cloth! If you enjoyed one you perhaps would enjoy this as well… I’m not sure I’m a fan of the same world way in the future gambit but I can appreciate an author who knows what he likes to write and keeps at creating stories that fit that style. Great review Lashaan! I’m always enjoying your insight into fantasy… 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely similar cloth. After all, if it worked so well in his first series, I don’t see why he’d need to change it up for something set in the same universe too hahah Ouuuh I love the use of the word “gambit” there. I don’t know if the WHOLE universe was a planned thing though, but if it was, it does work out pretty well. Thanks for reading, Dani! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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