Shadowfall: book one of the Godslayer Chronicles by James Clemens
Meet the first book to go unread in the new year! Yay!
Shadowfall posits a world filled with gods, some of them “small” and wild, and some of them big and running countries, worshipped by many. Some of them, perhaps all of them, have knights, one of whom, Tylar, has fallen from grace with his own god and is stuck as a beggar in the land of another god. He’s also horribly scarred and crippled. But fear not: the god in question, a woman known as Meeryn, is soon killed right in front of him by a horrible shadow monster, healing him of all his physical problems but leaving him under suspicion of having killed the god himself. And of course, the local inquisition decides to settle the matter by torturing him. This works well for them, until they decide to break his hand; breaking several of his bones releases the shadow monster that, it turns out, the god sealed within him and while it is running amok he is able to escape (albeit slowly, since this restores him to his older, crippled form).
In the alternating chapters, we find Dart, a 13-year old girl, orphaned some time ago, and being raised in a religious school dedicated to training up servants of the gods. She has a mysterious, probably spiritual but certainly invisible to everyone but her, pet, named Pupp. Pupp is able to interact with the real world when he tastes her blood, which she learns when she is brutally raped by one of her teachers and Pupp devours the man in the aftermath. Shortly after that, I started skipping her chapters, and then realised that I was skimming his. And then I put it down and went to read something interesting.
Oh, and while I’m thinking about it: every now and then I seem to run into someone who “humorously” asks why no one ever seems to go to the bathroom in The Lord Of The Rings, or whatever work of high fantasy they have decided is too pompous this week. The answer, that no time or wordage is spent on the process because it adds nothing to the story and loses interest to most people once they manage successful toilet training (except for a few people, and I’m not judging you, really). But, really: even if bathing in a god’s bodily waste gives you superpowers, the whole process makes uninteresting reading at best.
I understand that the protagonists are supposed to go through the metaphoric darkness to find their way back into the metaphoric light, but there’s dark and there’s un-fucking-bearable, and I think I draw the line here at the brutal and explicit rape of a 13-year-old girl and a hero who must break his own bones to activate his powers (not necessarily in that order). Fuck Shadowfall. Highly not recommended.