The Thirteenth Hour | By Trudie Skies
BBNYA Finalist Book Review | Fantasy | TheWriteReads Blog Tour
When the saints fail, the sinners step up.
Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.
Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.
To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.
For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.
The Thirteenth Hour is the first book in The Cruel Gods series—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. This is an adult book containing strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing. For a full list of content warnings, visit Trudie Skies’s website.
Narrative and Plot
The Thirteenth Hour had quite an intriguing premise. It had my attention from the very first chapter. However, there was a lot of info dump, especially at the beginning of the book. I understand that it is necessary given how vast and intricate the world is. I would have preferred to be eased into it rather than all this information hitting me at once.
Once you have grasped the world and the characters that you need to hook into, this is quite the roller coaster ride. The plot was well thought out, and the pacing was quick in the first half. In the latter half of the book, however, it felt a bit lengthy. Not that the events weren’t interesting, but at some point, it could have wrapped up a bit quickly.
Characters and Conflicts
In the world of Chime, there lives a diverse society. And the problems that come along with this are that of a diverse community. This is something that we can relate to. What is the best way forward for a society that has been set in rigid beliefs, but contains a considerable number of people willing to cross their limits? That is the central conflict of the book.
This theme is backed up by a bunch of flawed characters. Kayl and Quen being the leads, we see the world through their eyes. But there is enough detail for each character that makes us either care for them or loathe them.
The Thirteenth Hour is a chaotic read and if you revel in that aspect of storytelling, this fantasy is for you. I have already got the second book in my Kindle library before the first one ended because I knew I couldn’t leave this journey halfway.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. It is organized by @TheWriteReads I received this book in exchange for an honest review for the BBNYA 2022.