Faithless by Graham Austin-King


4 Stars

Publisher: Fallen Leaf Press

Date of publication: June 30th, 2017

Genre: General Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Number of pages: 404

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Faithless: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The temples of the Forgefather have fallen. The clerics and defenders that could once be found across the nine lands are no more. Priests huddle in the great temple, clinging to the echoes of their lost religion. But the Father has fallen silent. There are none who still hear his voice.

The mines of Aspiration lie far below the temple’s marble halls. Slaves toil in the blackness, striving to earn their way into the church and the light. Wynn has been sold into this fate, traded for a handful of silver. In the depths of the mines, where none dare carry flame, he must meet his tally or die. But there are things that lurk in that darkness, and still darker things within the hearts of men.

When the souls bound to the great forge are released in a failed ritual, one novice flees down into the darkness of the mines. The soulwraiths know only hunger, the risen know only hate. In the blackest depths, Kharios must seek a light to combat the darkness which descends.

Trigger Warning: sexual abuse of children

My review:

When I saw Faithless in an email from NetGalley, I was going to pass it over. But I read the blurb and I became very intrigued by what the blurb said. Plus, I am also a Forged in Fire fan. I watch it every week with my husband. So when I saw the cover, I was like “blacksmithing/bladesmithing? I need to read it“. Of course, I kept thinking of David Marcaida and his saying “It will kill” when I saw the hammer on the cover. To say I liked the book is an understatement. I enjoyed reading it.

Faithless was an interesting book. It starts off with Wynn, a farm boy, being sold to the temple of the Forgefather by his father. Wynn was told by his father that he would be a novice and work his way up in the ranks. He finds out that isn’t the case. Wynn is sent to work in the mines that are under the temple. If he is lucky, he will be called up to be a novice. But until then, the town of Aspiration is his forever home. Wynn finds out that life in the mines is dangerous. The mines themselves are alive with an entity called The Underdark. The Underdark can and will charm people to walking over the edges of cliffs, falling to their deaths. Besides The Underdark, Wynn has to worry about other miners and making his tally with his group. It was a very hard place to live and Wynn finds out, the hard way, that he needs to toughen up or he will get killed.

The parallel storyline is Kharios, a novice in the temple of the Forgefather. Kharios is a return novice. He had served under Ossan, a priest, before being dismissed. But he was called back, which was very rare, to reserve under Ossan again. Ossan isn’t the kindly priest that he makes himself out to be and Kharios knows that. Ossan likes young boys and he picks the ones that he thinks will submit to him. Which Kharios will not do. But there is something else that is lurking under Ossan’s surface. When Kharios dares to speak out against him, he is sent to the mines. It is there that he makes a discovery that will make sure his passage back to the temple. There is also danger with this knowledge and Ossan is right there to exploit it. What Ossan unleashes is something out of nightmares. It is up to Kharios to put a stop to what is unleashed. But at what price?

At first, Wynn came across as a backward farm boy who is out of his element. I felt awful for him because he was sold to the temple against his will. He didn’t want to be there. He didn’t want to be a slave. He was thrown headfirst into a violent and hard society. The situations that he ran into while in the actual mines were death-defying. As was the situations he found himself in when in Aspiration. Getting caught up in the mini-revolt was one of those situations. He was shown a way out when the priest that lived there started training him for the trail to get into the temple. But he went from one bad situation into another. I felt bad because he had to accept abuse to be kept in the temple.

I was curious about Kharios. I wanted to know his backstory. I did get frustrated when the author didn’t give any information about his background. Other than my frustration, I liked his character. He wanted to protect his study mates from Ossan but he couldn’t find his voice to tell them. Even more so after he was called back from the mines the first time. He had to listen as his study-mate is raped nightly. When he does try to help him, he is beaten and thrown into the mines to die. Which he doesn’t. Instead, he meets Leesha and her crew. It is with them that he makes a huge discovery that will help him get back into the temple. All Kharios wants is to learn the ways of Iron and be left alone. He is thrown into researching papers that have been found while studying the forge at night. What he finds out from the research will change everyone’s life and not for the better.

I enjoyed that the author chose to have a religion around blacksmithing/bladesmithing. It made for an interesting read when Wynn/Kharios was in the forge. The different ways of working with the metals were fascinating to me. But what I liked, even more, was the twist that the author put into it.

There are a couple of twists in the middle of the book that I didn’t see coming. I was a tad shocked when they were revealed because there was nothing leading up to them. One of them did make sense but the other twist shocked me. I put my Kindle down, said “No way” and picked it back up. I am not complaining about the twists. They were executed in such a way that you needed to read more to see what was going to happen.

The only complaint that I have about Faithless is that I wished it had a glossary. That way I could have kept the terminology, the characters names and the area names straight.

The end of the book was fantastic. All but one storyline was resolved. There is one storyline that was left unresolved. The way that Faithless ended, I am wondering if a book 2 is in the works or if it is going to be written.

Will I reread: Yes

Will  I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence. There are a couple of child rape scenes that can trigger. Also, some pretty violent scenes where a man is almost whipped to death and a group of people get their throats slit.

I would like to thank Graham Austin-King, Fallen Leaf Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Faithless

All opinions stated in this review of Faithless are mine

I received no compensation for this review

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

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