The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan

Title: The Shadow Saint.
Series: The Black Iron Legacy #2.
Writer(s): Gareth Hanrahan.
Publisher: Orbit.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: January 7th, 2020.
Pages: 608.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780316525350.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

Previously in The Black Iron Legacy series:
The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan.


In the hands of the right people, words can be a devastating tool of reality-altering experiences. Creating genuine characters with flawed personalities and compelling motives, setting the foundation to complex worlds with a rich history and magic system, introducing a mosaic of religions and events that bends the perception in incomprehensible ways, there’s simply no limit to the ways to immerse a reader with the words of a talented author casting a spell onto them. But what happens when it’s time to revisit the world that left you in awe as the author embarks on an adventure to expand the universe in unimaginable ways? Following the mind-boggling debut novel, The Gutter Prayer, author Gareth Hanrahan returns with an epic-scaled sequel set in a brand-new world filled with secrecy and danger.

What is The Shadow Saint about? Following the aftermath of the Gutter Miracle, also known as the Crisis to some, the city of Guerdon embraces a flagrant landscape transformation that opens up the world to unforeseeable threats. With rumours flying around that a weapon capable of killing gods is hidden within the New City, the Godswar has become a reality much closer to the hearts of many as each interested faction sends a spy to retrieve the weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.  While the impending doom lurks through the broken walls of Guerdon, an election to establish a new order within the city raises new mysteries. The tension rising amongst all with armies being sent to protect the city has many wondering what their fate will be as they rush to retrieve the key to peace before it’s too late.

“Who would be fool enough to lie to the gods?”

— Gareth Hanrahan

One of the biggest changes brought to this sequel is in the cast and it was shocking and a bit disconcerting to realize that it didn’t follow the three protagonists from the previous book. This time around, the story focuses on the political operative Eladora Duttin, the guard captain Terevant Erevesic, and an unnamed spy. While it takes time to acclimate to their personalities and to face the fact that they were the new focus of the story, author Gareth Hanrahan does a stellar job in building them from the ground up and giving them the proper roles and motives to keep the story afloat. Although the original crew left a much more important impression on me than this one did, the story’s forte lied elsewhere in this sequel.

Reminiscent of what was achieved in The Gutter Prayer, author Gareth Hanrahan excels in breathing life into his world post-Crisis by constructing it like it was nobody’s business. This time around, his world is infused with a hefty amount of politics, religion, and espionage. Toning down on the mystical creatures and the presence of an intricate magic system—although the final act brings in a hailstorm of magical chaos that almost compensates for the heavy accent on diplomacy in the first act—he fixates on the multilevel scheming through the intricate structure of his world. With saints, ghouls, and gods at the center of the story, his story emphasizes on the threads that hold it all together on a much more cultural, historical, and political level. Almost in excess, the world becomes darkly hypnotic with its immersive qualities.

The Shadow Saint is a ghastly tale blending politics, religion, and espionage in a striking fashion as it explodes with complexity and history.


Thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy for review!



26 thoughts on “The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan

  1. Man, switching to a whole new cast of characters would be tough for me to accept. I guess if the story needs it, it “could” work but for a multi-volume series, the characters are what tie it all together in my opinion. I’m trying to think where that isn’t the case for a series…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this series was initially supposed to be a duology and was extended to a trilogy now but even knowing that, I still find it saddening to have to deal with a new cast, especially when I expected to meet the original trio back here… I think I would’ve been ready to knock another star down if it wasn’t for my curiosity regarding the universe that’s beeing built in this series.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a series I’m very interested in trying. And though changing cast is not the norm I think I can accept that. I have a copy of The Gutter Prayer, I just need to fit it into my reading schedule. I find I also love the covers of these two books, with their limited range of colors and beautiful transitions between light and shadow. I hope the books fit the mood created by the covers. Thanks much for another great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I adored The Gutter Prayer and, funnily, I mention the cover art in that review too hahaha The artist behind it has done other covers for fantasy books and they’re ALWAYS amazing. I do hope you enjoy this series when you get the chance to read it, Todd! 😀


  3. I went back to check your previous review but yes, it’s what I though I recalled, you gave it five stars! Now I must confess that I HATE when they change characters in a series. It takes time to get used to it and well if you loved the old ones I have kind of a loyalty problem LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It takes a lot of courage for an author to switch from well-crafted characters, who also were well-loved by the readers, to new ones – in lesser hands this might end in failure, but your words tell another story, indeed, one where the writer took a different path and succeeded to bring it to life with just the same kind of success as in the first book. I admire this kind of courage, and I will certainly keep that in mind once I read the book.
    Thank you so much for a very thoughtful review! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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