Book Reviews

The Pagan Night(The Hallowed War #1) Book Review.

  • The Pagan Night (The Hallowed War #1).
  • Tim Akers.
  • 592 pages.
  • Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Dark Fantasy / Grimdark.
  • My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

thepaganknight

Book Blurb:

The Celestial Church has all but eliminated the old pagan ways, ruling the people with an iron hand. Demonic gheists terrorize the land, hunted by the warriors of the Inquisition, yet it’s the battling factions within the Church and age-old hatreds between north and south that tear the land apart. 

Malcolm Blakley, hero of the Reaver War, seeks to end the conflict between men, yet it will fall to his son, Ian, and the huntress Gwen Adair to stop the killing before it tears the land apart. The Pagan Night is an epic of mad gods, inquisitor priests, holy knights bound to hunt and kill, and noble houses fighting battles of politics, prejudice, and power.


Book Review:

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The land of Tenumbera once divided into the North and the South has now been united under the rule of the Celestial Church. This involved the North having to relinquish its Pagan past and ways.

This results in the old gods (known as gheists) being driven to madness by the lack of the faithful and their subsequent worship. They now roam the lands in their demonic forms maddened, rampaging and causing terror wherever they go.

The schemes of both the old and new gods and warring church factions once again brings the divide between the North and the South to the forefront and sees the lands of Tenumbera once again thrust into a conflict that threatens to tear the lands apart.

The Pagan Night is a book that pulled me in right from the start, the writing is of a high standard throughout the whole book and never wavers, the core set of main characters are well thought out and developed and the author does a good job of making you care what happens to them. The books pacing is good, it’s never a struggle to get through, the action scenes are well written, the humour makes you smile and the quiet moments, story and world building are interesting and intriguing. The world created is well-developed with lore and history and shows a lot of thought on the authors part.

I’ve only two complaints about the book and there about the actual book not the story or writing. Firstly, like most fantasy books, there’s a map at the beginning, it’s always nice to have a map as it helps you with getting to know where places are, etc especially with this being the first book in a new series but on this map there are battle lines for a battle that hasn’t actually taken place yet, which is itself a spoiler for what’s going to happen sometime in the book, as you know a battle will take place before you’ve even started reading, it’s a small point really as it’s epic fantasy, there’s going to be fighting, battles and war anyway but maybe it would have been better to have placed the map at the back of the book instead of the front.

My second complaint is the cover, again it’s another small point as the actual cover looks decent, it’s just rather generic, the character didn’t really resonate with me as any character in the actual book and to me, the cover didn’t entirely fit the tone of the book. I felt that a Joe Abercrombie or John Gwynne’s The Faithful And The Fallen series style cover would have better suited the book. There’s alot of fantasy books out there and the cover doesn’t standout, if you were in a book shop, looking at the fantasy shelf, it wouldn’t immediately jump out at you and say buy me.

This is the first book in a new epic fantasy series and I’m always slightly worried when starting a new series of books as unlike sequels or other books in the same series where you already know the main story, world and care about the characters you have a new story and setting to follow along with a new set of characters and a new world to learn about. I’m a big believer in that the main thing that makes a book great and a must read instead of just a book you read to kill the time is how much you care about the characters. 

The story and the world created still need to be well thought out, involving and intriguing but ultimately it’s the characters who take you on the journey through the book/series and are who you do or do not feel a bond with. Do you care when they die? Do you feel their pain? Do you laugh when they laugh? Do you cheer when the bad guy gets his comeuppance? If you don’t care about the characters created then reading about them is a hollow experience as there’s nothing there, whereas, if your emotionally involved in the characters the author creates then to me that’s what makes a book great.

Now, the questions are, does this book make you care about the characters? Does the story pull you in? And should I buy the book?

And the answer to all is a resounding YES!!!

It’s a great start to a new epic fantasy series. It has all the usual tropes that we’ve come to expect in fantasy, heroes, villains, mad gods, inquisitor priests, holy knights, magic, politics, noble houses and religion but they are all done to a high standard with a world that feels Celtic inspired, rich in detail, lore and history. Add in a set of well-developed characters all with their own unique personalities and traits that through the course of the book you really get to know, pulling you into their story and it makes for a good book. The Huntress Gwen Adair, aging hero of the Reaver War Malcolm Blakley and his son Ian are all standout characters that the story centres around. 

It’s a complex, engrossing story that pulled me in right from the start, the book flows well with a slow start building to an epic finale and never once was I bored or found it a slog to get through. It’s a cliché but with The Pagan Night, Akers has created a real page turner. All in all it’s a high quality, entertaining read with both new and old school fantasy elements incorporated. I look forward to continuing the tale Akers has started and seeing where the story goes in the sequel.

Ignore the very generic looking cover and give the book a chance, it’s deeper and far more rewarding than the cover would suggest.

Highly recommended to all fantasy and grimdark fans.


Purchase The Pagan Night:

Amazon UK  /  Amazon US  /  The Book Depository


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17 thoughts on “The Pagan Night(The Hallowed War #1) Book Review.

  1. Love this review!!! (if I am allowed to use that word on your blog haha). So I am going to skip ahead and say “yay” for mentioning the cover. I get absolutely frustrated when I read something solid or with a lot of potential and the cover feels so generic. I think this unfortunately, can lead to a whole missed audience. Sorry but we can be snobbish as bookworms when it comes to covers 😉

    Secondly the plot does sound incredibly promising, but I am so hesitant to start any new, epic series.. and you know why! We do not have to talk about it again, but I am damaged goods thanks to it all. So I will follow you with this one and see what happens.

    Last thing (I promise) can we move past some of the silly names.. is it a written law I missed? This is in all fantasy of course, but “Tenumbera”?!

    Awesome review Drew 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, well, that’s a not so veiled comment at Ggrrr Martin!😂 Lots of finished trilogies and series, no need to worry about Master Ggggrrrr.😂

      Ha, Tenumbra isn’t bad really, it’s pronouncable unlike some in the book I did for Teaser Tuesday, it has a German flavour to it with places and names.😂

      That’s true about covers, I wouldn’t say it’s snobbish at all but it’s definitely a “thing” where people bypass books due to the cover, missing some great books and then also pick up some drivel due to an awesome cover.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. *curses to high heavens* the blurb already made me itchy- I want to read this book… this series because it sounds right up my alley! And your stellar review on top… I’ll add it to the TBR pile anyway… sounds mighty promising this one!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand 😀 the corruption is rife around here but so enjoyable!

        Indeed.. I’m worried with the series tho that I’ll be totally… hooked to oblivion.. that’s why I have strategically placed it in the safe zone in the TBR pile… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m always looking to see when you’ve started a new series since like many, I am apprehensive about investing my time in a new series. You mentioned my first thoughts upon seeing the covers and now I am googling the authors you mentioned as a better fit for this new series. I def got generic vibes from it & would most likely walk on by lol. Sounds promising if the characters were able to make you give a hoot 💭🤔 will follow you with this series for thoughts on the following book. Gearing up my epic fantasy list for 2017 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, it’s only the first book in the series, I have hopes that the sequel will be just as good. It has a great blurb but the cover is awful, one of the authors I mentioned write Wrath that I reviewed last week and posted a haul of when I got it, stunning covers and Abercrombie has great UK covers to, this one though most would just walk by.😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I remember seeing you post Wrath & LOVING the cover design! So did you end up getting a physical copy? for some reason I read epic fantasy much faster on my Kindle app than I do in physical but i still must collect them lol. The Sci-Fi/Fantasy section here in NY isn’t the most aesthetically appealing but I bet that I wouldn’t leave a U.K. book store w/out a few big books.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I did get a physical copy, yes, I was lucky enough to get the hardback edition from the publisher to review! 🙂

        Ha, Sci-Fi and fantasy, nah, not in the UK, only small sections are given to those genres in the book shops I have been in and there together to, ggrr, there should be a section for sci-fi and a separate section for fantasy. 🙂

        Like

  4. Great review and another book to add to my ever growing TBR pile. Covers do matter (I mean, if a cover is drop dead gorgeous I would pick the book up way sooner than when it’s so ugly that you want to ritually burn it) but lately it’s more often than not that the cover is disappointing. However, blurb=yeey fantasy=yeey and you’re positive about it so overall: YEEEEEEEY

    Liked by 1 person

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