The third instalment of the Black Iron Legacy, The Broken God, is a fantastic book, once again refreshing the world that Hanrahan is building and adding amazing new voices and faces to his extensive cast of saints, devils, mobsters and monstrosities.
This book puts the Dragon-led criminal families of the Ghierdana to the fore, with the main point of view going to new character, Rasce, Chosen of the Dragon, and second in command to Taras, the most powerful of the dragons of Lyrix. Rasce is a brilliant addition to this world: ambitious, clever, ruthless, full of agency. Tasked by his ‘Great Uncle’, Taras, with monopolising the supply lines of Guerdon’s alchemists, and affording the dragon far greater control of the tense three-way armistice that governs the city, Rasce assembles a group of no-less resourceful individuals to get the job done. Chief amongst these are brother and sister, Baston and Karla Hedanson, figures from Spar’s early life among the Brotherhood.
Rasce remains the heart of this story, however, holding the plot together while Cari moves away from Guerdon to show us the wider world of the Godswar. She’s no less important to the wider arc, but her thread is somewhat sidelined—necessarily so—and it’s a testament to Hanrahan’s skill that he still captures the reader so completely with a new set of protagonists now centre stage. Established favourites, like Eladora, Rat, and Spar, similarly recede to allow this new faction to spread their wings, if you’ll pardon the pun, but they still play vital parts in the denouement. And along the way, the horrors of the world are revisited, with the return of the Crawling Ones and an increased focus on the twisted economies of sorcery.
Still, the real focus is on the shifting nature of Guerdon itself. The city has always been the lead character of these books: even before Spar gave it a human soul of its own, the city was more than a place, and this theme develops through the finale here. This is expert-level world building, with a powerhouse plot that leads to a truly devastating ending.
I loved it and commend it to all.
This ARC was generously provided by Little, Brown.