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ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.
Cover illustrated by: Anato Finnstark
The Black Coast by Mike Brooks
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The God-King Chronicle (Book #1)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Pages: 672 pages (Paperback)
Published: 25th February 2021 by Orbit (UK) and 16th February 2021 by Solaris (US)
The Black Coast is a good story about two different cultures trying their best to find peace.
I haven’t read any books by Mike Brooks before, and if I may be honest, I’ve never even heard of the name Mike Brooks before I saw the cover reveal of The Black Coast. The cover art of The Black Coast is done by an illustrator whose works I’ve followed for a long time. I was both shocked and elated when I found out that Orbit hired Finnstark to be one of their cover artists. As always, gorgeous cover art for a book by an author whose work I haven’t read was the main reason why I decided to give this a read. Okay, that and “War Dragons” on the official blurb.
To put the premise simply, The Black Coast is the first book in the God-King Chronicles series, and it revolves around two different cultures—the people of the Black Keep and the Tjakorsha—doing their best to cooperate with each other. This is a big book; it’s almost 700 pages long. Although actions and dangers are aplenty, the main theme of the story is heavily centered around finding this path to peace and cooperation between the two cultures. Both groups of people have a lot of pent up malice for each other, and the differences in culture/upbringing/languages mean the path to peace will be a difficult one.
There’s something about The Black Coast that felt genuinely refreshing and different to read. It’s not often we get to read epic fantasy books that have both main characters so focused on working things out between each other. And this doesn’t mean the narrative wasn’t imbued with tension and conflict. As I said, finding cooperation between cultures isn’t an easy task to do, especially when both groups already have their fixed perspective and pent-up hatred towards each other. This is also why I found Daimon and Saana Sattistutar to have the most compelling POV chapters to read in this book. Both of them know that to achieve this state of peace between each other, a relatively monumental task has to be constantly repeated.
The world-building was great; the importance of genders, cultures, identities, and languages was well fleshed out. Brooks’s writing was accessible and his characterizations for Daimon and Saana were incredible. Honestly speaking, the only reason this book didn’t receive a higher rating from me was that I couldn’t find myself compelled with all the other POV characters besides Daimon and Saana. There were more than 5 POV characters, but for more than half of the length of this book, all the other POV characters other than Daimon and Saana felt more like they’re preparations for future books of the series. Fortunately, Daimon and Saana shared the most pages compared to anyone else in the book.
I do believe that The Black Coast will be a book well-loved by many fantasy readers next year. A few reviewers I know have been super head over heels over this book, and I’m quite sure that I most likely will be in the minority with my rating. I gave this a rating of 3.5/5 stars (or should I say 7/10). It is still a good rating, of course, but if I had found myself invested with all the other characters besides the two main POV, I’m sure I would’ve loved it even more.
Official release date: 25th February 2021 (UK) and 16th February 2021 (US)
You can pre-order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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