Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen, #1)

by John Gwynne

3.5 of 5 stars 4 ratings • 2 reviews • 28 shelved
Book cover for Malice

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Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen, #1)

by John Gwynne

3.5 of 5 stars 4 ratings • 2 reviews • 28 shelved

Called a 'Hell of a debut' by bestselling author Conn Iggulden, Malice by John Gwynne is the first in The Faithful and the Fallen series.

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king's realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.

High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind's hopes and dreams will fall to dust.

Continue the epic fantasy series with Valour.

  • ISBN10 0230767273
  • ISBN13 9780230767270
  • Publish Date 6 December 2012
  • Publish Status Active
  • Publish Country GB
  • Publisher Pan Macmillan
  • Imprint Macmillan
  • Format eBook
  • Pages 634
  • Language English

Reviews

Avatar for ashley

Ashley 2 of 5 stars

All I’ve been hearing about lately is The Faithful and the Fallen. Everyone says this series is amazing, one of the best, etc. Well I guess I’m the odd one out because wow that was boring!

Malice is 634 pages, and yet nothing of note happened. The book read like “a day in the life”. For example, take the main character, Corban.

  • He gets bullied.
  • He takes a dare.
  • He gets bullied again.
  • He cleans a lady’s house.
  • He starts his warrior training.
  • He hangs out with friends.
  • He stands up to bullies.
  • He does some blacksmith work for his dad.
  • He looks after a new horse.
  • He hangs out with his sister.
  • He saves another kid from being bullied.

I just described about 300 pages.

And on top of the lack of action, I didn’t particularly care about any of the characters. That was the #1 downfall. If I cared about the characters then I could have tolerated a non-existent plot. But despite having multiple points of view, every character — except perhaps Corban towards the end — was a piece of cardboard. I don’t have trouble with multiple points of view, but in this case I did just because all the warriors in particular felt like the same person. Their voices were the same, and I was never given a reason to care about them. They were all very black and white… good or evil.

There was one character who turned out pretty interesting, but we only saw him very briefly. I don’t even remember his name — I think it started with a “C” — but I’m talking about the guy who lives in the forest, helped kidnap the queen, but then switched sides when he found out his leader was working for someone else. I like that guy.

The whole story felt very juvenile and cookie cutter. It was a bad mixture of young adult and adult. Both of those are fine on their own, but this odd mixture of the two just worked against Malice. It had the “coming of age” of a young adult book, mixed with the easy prose and typical YA tropes (chosen one, prophecy, etc.), and very black and white characters. On the other hand, it had the length and multiple points of view of an adult book, but without the extra detail and intricacy. In other words: it was really long, but there was no reason for it to be so long because very little of import actually happened. The main thing that makes young adult books shine is the fast paced nature of them, but Malice was ridiculously slow.

The synopsis promises an epic war, but we barely even got that. We saw little of the giants, unless it was a quick battle killing them. There was one giant character we did interact with, but other than the random reminder that he was a giant (oh yeah, he’s tall!), he seemed like a perfectly normal man. We just got a few skirmishes, rather than a serious sense of epic scale/scope, and the why behind those skirmishes never even felt important. We barely got to know any of the kingdoms/cultures that were being fought. I understand the war was just beginning, so there was a reason for it not being epic straight away, but we could have at least had more detail and gotten to know these different cultures a bit better.

And as for Malice being cookie cutter — that normally doesn’t bother me; I love tropes! When there’s a trope I love, I don’t mind seeing it over and over again. But I think the problem with Malice was that it was so obvious. There’s a prophecy, and it’s obvious who that’s about. There’s a bad guy, and it’s obvious who that is. There was no epic twist or reveal at the end, it was just everything slowly coming together in the way that you always expected to happen all along, and even that barely felt “epic”. In fact, I expected to actually learn a bit more about the angel and demon war, but I left the book with only exactly what’s mentioned in the synopsis, and no more.

In all fairness, the book did improve by the ~75% mark, but it never became “amazing”. It went from barely tolerable to mildly interesting. The best part of the book was Corban raising a wolven pup and building a pretty awesome friendship with her.

Under normal circumstances I would have not finished this book very quickly. If I don’t love a book, I stop reading. But in this case I forced myself to keep going because of a few similarly negative reviews that then mentioned the rest of the series completely changes for the better, and that Malice was the only weak link. So because of my intense desire to love this series that everyone else seems to love, I pushed on. My one hope was that I’d make it to Valour and find something to love about it.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t adore the last 200 pages like so many people seem to. I’m disappointed that I’m not floored and wowed by this book. This is one of those times where I look at the sea of 5 star reviews around me and wonder how we read such different books.

I am going to at least read the first few chapters of Valour to see if it can woo me. But if not, then it looks like I’m done with The Faithful and the Fallen.

Avatar for mercysarai

Mercy 5 of 5 stars
I just finished this book last night and I need to write down how I feel about it because guys, I need you all to understand how amazing this book is! *___*

But first I want to made something clear: this is not a ground breaking fantasy story because it has plenty of the fantasy tropes we know:
...a Chosen One? Check.
...Good vs. Evil fight? Check.
...creatures already known in other fantasy books? Check.
...mystery character that is a warrior in hiding? Check.
...prophecies? Check.

...and I could include many other things. But you know what makes this special? The way all those tropes are included. It's SO WELL DONE. I mean, there are things I could see coming long before but it's done in a way that keeps stuff still interesting, like, you are actually happy to confirm them; apart from the ones when you only want to die because it's too much to handle but that's another matter.

I knew little of the story before starting to read it but of one thing I was aware of, I was said to prepare myself because characters die. Important characters. Characters you love. But how little I knew about the bare truth of this. This is even worse than A Song of Ice & Fire because in those books, most of the characters who died are secondary or is just lots of people you barely know dying around. But in Malice, NO ONE IS SAFE and when the first ones died I just keep wondering what beloved character will die next. IT WAS SO HEARTBREAKING. I think I lost it when Thannon died, I loved him so so much and I keep hoping he wasn't actually dead but he was truly gone and read about his hound Buddhai not wanting to left his side was extremely painful. Another awful death was Kastell's, this one was even more unbelievable because I was so sure I will be seeing more of him in the next book but again, John Gwynne crushed my soul. My hope now is for Jael to die in a slow and very painful death.

My favourite thing was the characters, there are plenty of them (and the names are so weird and from many different places over The Banished Lands) but eventually it's easy to identify them. We get to know at least a little about each one, the secondary characters aren't only noise at the background of the main ones and there is growth in them. And don't get me started on the main characters, they are so fleshed out, so beautifully written that I loved them almost from the very first page. Corban, the main protagonist is so special, yes, he's the Chosen One and all but damn, his growth through the story is so worth seeing and I can't wait to see what else is in store for him, he also has a bond with a wolven and she's so precious too! I love her loyalty and how she protects Corban at all costs.

Some other great characters are the healer Brina and her crow Craft; Gar, the stablemaster and the warriors Halion, Kastell and Maquin. Corban's sister Cywen, who wants to be a warrior and is the bravest girl ever. Corban's and Cywen parents are also great, I love to read about families like theirs, they are very supportive with each other and they love their children so much. A shout-out for characters like Aquilus, Brenin and Alona who aren't blinded by the power they hold and more than kings or queens they are to serve their people. Too bad they ended up dead but anyway, I love seeing this kind of rulers ❤ I could not mention princess Edana because even though she isn't too developed in this book, I'm hoping to see great things in her future! I'm not mentioning more names but trust me, I could keep going.

I don't want to say much of the plot becuase it's the kind of book when the less you know about it the better. But the story has so many surprises, some you see coming, some you don't but as I said at the beginning, the author manages to write them in a really good way; that's what I think at least. The Good vs. Evil battle I know doesn't look original but the author presents it in a different way. Please, read the next spoiler only if you have read this book and [b:Oathbringer|34002132|Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)|Brandon Sanderson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1507307833s/34002132.jpg|23840254] by [a:Brandon Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1394044556p2/38550.jpg] some of this I found quite the same as Dalinar's plot in Oathbringer, the part about champions and I really thougt Nathair was going to be like Dalinar, that he wouldn't turn bad but how little I knew! This went far worse than Oathbringer! T__T Something you need to remember while reading Malice is that what matters the most for the characters is "whose side you are on", there are plenty of characters whom you don't know if you can trust and what's left it's only to keep reading and find out.

It's very surprising that is John Gwynne's debut novel because I think it's pretty well written and I'm so looking forward to read Valour but let me say this: I have a feeling that this series, along with [b:Robin Hobb The Liveship Traders Trilogy|22463498|Robin Hobb The Liveship Traders Trilogy 3 Books Collection Set|Robin Hobb|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1402638746s/22463498.jpg|41900607] and [b:Mistborn Trilogy|6604209|Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set (Mistborn, #1-3)|Brandon Sanderson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1257442247s/6604209.jpg|6798109], it's going to be an absolute favourite.