Finn is no hero, chosen born, or noble. Despite escalating tensions from the Dayigan soldier’s occupation of Feah lands, the happy-go-lucky twenty-five-year-old is content to spend his days fishing and flirting with the other men in his Celtic-like village. But everything changes at their midyear’s eve festival when an angry Dayigan commander catches Finn in the arms of another man. Suddenly framed for murder, he must flee his village or face death.
However, Finn isn’t the Dayigans’ only target. They believe all Feahs are wicked and intend to destroy them by any means necessary. The Feahs’ one hope of stopping the reign of terror is to find a relic forged by dark faeries and able to control chaos magic—and claim it to protect themselves. With the fate of the Feah lands resting on his shoulders, Finn seeks out sorcerers who practice ancient, forbidden magic.
Instead, he finds love with the handsome but fierce head of the sorcerers—and a power he never knew he could possess.
But when the Dayigans strike, can Finn harness the perilous magic to save his people without losing himself in the process?
After reading Thorn of Chaos by Jeremiah Cain the element I was most impressed with was the excellent worldbuilding. The magic was intriguing and well thought out, especially the chaos magic but I also enjoyed the druidic magic, how it varied and how each type of magic was different and had limitations to how it could be used. I also appreciated that there was a price for what Finn does with his magic.
In the book, I also found Finn well fleshed out, a three dimensional character. His family is equally well depicted but I was disappointed that we didn’t get more time with his family or his choices. All of the choices that Finn makes seem rushed and the pace didn’t allow time to develop the characters or the plot as much as it could have. While the worldbuilding was excellent, especially the magical systems, the spellcasting, and the battles, the characters were not as solid. The head of the sorcerers, Lasren, didn’t get enough time to develop and the love story between the pair seemed rushed. The Dayigans were flat and two dimensional, although their motivations were eventually better explained, that lack made me not as connected to the story.
While I loved the winged people and the magic, the reality and consequences of the war, this book really reminded me that Grimdark is not for me. I do prefer a more hopeful story but the novel does have excellent worldbuilding. But I also felt the pacing and characters needed better development overall. If you like Grimdark fantasy with a queer spin, I would recommend trying it. I just will advise that it is very dark and the bad guys really need more exploration of their motives
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 wings