|An ARC of The Shadow Saint was provided by Orbit in return for an honest review.|
This is an extraordinary second act in The Black Iron Legacy, with the Godswar crashing down on a transformed Guerdon with an absolute fury. The post-Crisis/Gutter Miracle city is spun askew from the one we saw in Gutter Prayer, and Hanrahan captures this pivot by shifting his POV characters around, expanding the role of Eladora from book one and bringing in other new central characters; chief amongst them the chameleon-like and mesmeric Spy.
The Spy, in a variety of guises and personas, is not just an unreliable narrator, rather he manifests the shifting truths of the war and the warring factions as they hunt for a weapon rumoured to be hidden in the reshaped city. He’s a challenging character, but the payoff for letting him lead you is fantastic. The heroes of the first book do make welcome returns as well, but the wider world benefits from the wider perspectives of the new cast.
The writing is truly visceral – the war is strewn with miraculous refugees, stuck in impossible spaces- and the pace always perfectly measured, right up to the breathtaking finale. And the twists are well-timed and genuinely satisfying. Hanrahan’s voice is unique and his world really couldn’t be richer. A welcome gear shift from a recent glut of grimdark, this has more than a pinch of Taika Waititi’s Thor in its soul, but loses none of its terrible impact for it.
I absolutely loved this book and I’m really looking forward to the third instalment