Timothy C. Ward’s fresh new fantasy/sci-fi novel Revolt from the Godsknife series is a tasty and addictive cocktail of the speculative fiction genre.
A delusional megalomaniac (Shila) wants a place on the God table. Said crazy lady sends swarms of bugs to infect people and turn them to the dark side. Only, the dark side was supposed to be another, ‘The Chaos,’ the third of the three segments in the powerplay in this post-apocalyptic world.
I assume post-apocalyptic because the third world war has happened between Britain and Russia (didn’t see that coming, MI6 and KGB, eh?). The three factions now are ‘Makers’ (Gods), The Order (their middle path don’t match with the Gautama Buddha), and Chaos. Not sure how America got involved.
As always, there is someone (Anthon) with a bit more moral who wants to break free of the megalomaniac lady’s magical hold because he can’t appreciate her sadistic methods of ‘converting’ people. This guy finds another love interest (Caroline) who sadly becomes the crazy woman’s target.
Rest is futuristic history.
Revolt is grimdark (oh yeah) and happening. The intro and conclusion are surprising, shocking, and every bit as intriguing as the entire plot.
You make a few guesses on the inevitable, but you want to know how and why. The how is well explained in details but the why becomes blurry at times.
The plot is a continuous chain of events leading to action and reaction, so there is little breathing time. Backstory stays on the sidelines in such kind of stories. However, Mr. Ward has managed to give us enough.
The characters are awesome. I loved the ones to be loved and hated the people to be hated. No gray lines until the last few pages when my jaw hung open.
Anthon’s counting mumbles sounded maniac in the beginning before I understood that his ‘measurement’ taking and other stuff is the magic system.
The worm in his belly, the painful process of becoming an Order mage, oh boy! Super duper cool magic and very repulsive process.
Caroline is the queen of the plot, and Mr. Ward has given his everything on this character making her an integral part of the story. Take that, Shila.
The mantis and cicada company, torture scenes, the current events (running, hiding, escaping, getting caught, in no particular order), everything is well planned and executed.
Like a decent sci-fi book or movie, the belief that higher intelligence achieves supremacy by turning fellow humans into giant insects (hence the loving term ‘hive mind’) to exert better control on them prevails in this book.
Revolt also deals with the idea that not everybody can handle the responsibility of high power and often want more, causing greater harm to those they are supposed to protect.
The beginning has a great hook. The subsequent chapters made me wonder if I am reading a sequel as if it was an assumed fact that readers are supposed to have prior knowledge of the many characters suddenly brought into picture positions.
Why Shila is a crazy leader, how she attained the position of priestess and leader of the Order? No idea. Even if it was in the book, it wasn’t easy to figure out from the continuous state of action, giant bugs attacking everywhere, a horde of new characters popping up now and then.
I am not complaining about the constant action. I enjoyed it. It’s just that the first few pages of Revolt left me thinking I have picked up the wrong book in the series by mistake.
The writing style is quite good. Timothy Ward shows us almost everything without telling a lot.
Some breathing space would have been good at intervals. A few information could have done with a simpler explanation. An elaborate plot often requires a simple description of few phenomenon to let the data sink into the reader’s mind. While there wasn’t much of an info dump here (kudos to Mr. Ward for avoiding that pitfall), the onslaught of ‘happening things’ was dizzying at times.
That reminds me, Abyss is fascinating and scary. Waiting for more.
Overall, Revolt is a promising start to a new series with a wild chase of cat and mouse (read bug queen and human beings with mysterious magical power) its bleak world of strange magic and weird genetics.
Now we have to wait and watch how he manages to keep up with the pace in the rest of the series.
Thank you, Timothy Ward, for showing us we don’t need aliens (hope they were not involved here) to turn us into buggy bugs. Human beings with/without special powers can be warped enough.
Can’t wait for the second book in the Godsknife series wondering what you have planned to do with Caroline. You did share a secret, but I want to know more.
This review is based on an ARC and my opinion is honest. No bug queen has any influence on me yet.
Find the author here.
Timothy C. Ward is a former executive producer and Hugo Nominee of Adventures in SciFi Publishing. He has been broke and lost on the other side of the world and now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. He recently released his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant. His newest novel is Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss.
This bio has been taken from Tim’s blog.