I was really excited for The Shadow of the Gods because I wasn’t impressed with Malice and was really curious to see how John Gwynne has changed as a writer since his debut novel.
At the beginning, I was immediately more impressed. The writing was better and I was more interested in the characters.
It took hitting the halfway mark to start feeling disappointed. That’s when I realized that where John Gwynne doesn’t seem to click with me is the middle of the books. That’s when things get boring. That’s when, somehow, characters don’t live up to their initial hook. They have interesting stories and motivations, but I lose interest in their actions and interactions over time. The book never develops into something that’s “unputdownable” or even hugely memorable.
This wasn’t a bad book; it was still much better than Malice. But I still don’t have that same amazement and wonder that so many other people seem to have. It’s a bummer, because some components are definitely there. The three characters we follow all have intriguing stories. For me, John Gwynne is just missing an X factor that actually makes me fall in love with them and invested in their fates.