One by Ron Glick, illustrated by Pamela L Phelps
For generations, the Gods have been at war. Two rival pantheons, the Old Gods and the New Order, have been vying for the faith of the mortal realm. Bound by the covenants between mortals and themselves, the Old Gods have all but vanished from the land. Now Malik, the God of War and Peace, has devised a plan to champion the war and win back the faithful they have lost. He has created nine swords, each a godslayer in its own right, designed to be given unto the faithful, with the mission to seek out and slay the Gods of the New Order! However, even the best laid plans of a God can go awry, and the swords were cast into the mortal realm, ensorceled in a prophecy that has bound the Gods to a new set of rules, a set that requires their creating a mortal agent in the world to seek out the swords and assure their purpose be carried out.
Nathaniel Goodsmith becomes the selected agent of the Old Gods, a reluctant Avatar required by the Gods to seek out their weapons before they can fall into the hands of the New Order. However, though his mother was a devoted druidess, Nathaniel owes no allegiance to the Gods. The last thing he wishes to do is to abandon his family and home and travel across the countryside at the bequest of Gods long-since thought dead. But the machinations of the Old Gods have not left Nathaniel able to easily walk away from his destiny, and in the end, it may take a loss greater than he can bear to compel him to aid the Gods in their foolish war.
“One” is the first in an ambitious nine book cycle, containing within itself a trilogy of trilogies. The nine swords of the Old Gods are waking and once their existence becomes known, forces from across the world will be vying for the swords powerful enough to slay Gods. If Nathaniel does not rise to his destiny, it could be the end of the world – or at the very least, a world at war!
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One is the first book of an epic nine book series on gods and god slayers.
Ron Glick has created a very rich world, one that involves multiple religions, magic, and complicated relationships between the main characters. This first book revolves mostly around Nathanial Goodsmith, a man born to fulfill a prophecy to help what are known as the old gods.
But there are many other characters, including a priestess for the new gods named Lady Brea, a dwarf known as Bracken, and some of the old and new gods. Each character has an intricate backstory, which at times felt a bit long when explained and sucked me out of the main story, but overall was intriguing.
One did hook me right away, and I admire anyone who can create such rich, vivid worlds. Every character has a motive, which means they are all very layered, so things are rarely black and white.
And there is truly an epic quality to the story. The prophecy alone feels heavy:
Nine to avenge nine, to shatter those that follow.
Powered by the divine, defined by mortal hand.
Awakened in order, marked by sign of chance.
Each will gift its power, to the last to wield it.
Hidden from the eyes of Gods, called to the minds of men.
Only one can follow, only one shall unite.
None shall abide another, save for the one before.
The fate of each, and all are one.
To destruction and rebirth, they shall be forever cast.
Ron has also managed to weave in a complicated love story, though I won’t get in to too much detail because that might otherwise be a spoiler. I suspect things will get more heated in the upcoming books, but will have to wait and see.
One small qualm I have with the story is the prologue and epilogue didn’t feel like it quite fit in with the rest of the story. But since this is only book one of nine, I think the character in the prologue and epilogue will make an appearance, and probably play a big role, at some point in the series.
The ending also felt a bit abrupt, though I realize that it’s good to end a book in a series on a cliffhanger. But, based on other series I’ve read, it felt like there should be some sort of small wrap-up that could also lead into the second book.
Really though, I did not want to stop reading. I have a preference for fantasy books, and this one was overall done really well. Aside from having strong characters, I liked the idea of showing different gods using mortals to play games against each other. And it’s interesting to see the mortals fighting back.
One is a clever book, with a great plot and interesting twists. Anyone looking for a good fantasy series should really start The Godslayer Cycle. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the story turns out.
Genre: Fiction, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Published: November 2011, ~415 pages