Disclaimer: I was given a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Hammer of the Gods by Christina Ochs is the third novel in the Desolate Empire series. You can read my reviews of the first two books, Rise of the Storm and Valley of the Shadow by clicking their titles. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I’ll be focusing on the quality of Hammer of the Gods itself and my personal reactions to it.
I’ve said it once with these books, and I’ll say it again now: the Desolate Empire series is all-ages Game of Thrones. Ochs has crafted a vivid and complex world, with a large cast of engaging characters who are constantly locked in political maneuvers, fierce battles and other life-and-death struggles.
And Hammer of the Gods is the most intense yet. The story picks up right where Valley of the Shadows left off, and the reader is thrown straight into the action. The only thing I struggled with in the beginning was remembering some of the supporting characters and the world’s geography. If you’re in the same boat: don’t worry. Ochs provides maps at the beginning of the text and a glossary of persons and locations in the back to help you out.
As with the other two novels in this series, Hammer of the Gods rotates from multiple perspectives, with short chapters that allow you to breeze through the book despite its length. Ochs manages to cover years’ worth of action without making you feel like you’re missing anything. While sometimes this does result in more “summary” than I personally like, the fast pace and the detail of the main scenes make up for it.
Whether from Och’s writing talent, the intensity of the plot, or my now three-book relationship with the characters, I found myself having uncharacteristically strong emotional reactions to Hammer of the Gods. At different stages during my reading, I found myself fist-pumping, biting my knuckles, grinning from ear-to-ear, and holding back tears — all while on the train, of course.
If you’re a fan of “soft” cliffhangers, you’ll adore the ending. Like the other two novels, the main battles of Hammer of the Gods come to a close, but the individual characters leave us with some burning questions as to their fates and/or next moves. I found each character’s journey and growth profoundly satisfying, and I’m pleased with where each one is left at the end of the novel. There were a few twists that I did not expect throughout the story, and I’m very excited to see how they affect the next novel.
Fans of epic fantasy, historical fantasy, and/or military fiction need to read this series. Between bloody battles, political collusion, romances, religious zealotry, and even a dash of magic, Hammer of the Gods has something for everyone. Do yourself a favor and buy the entire Desolate Empire series NOW. And hell, at the time of this writing, Rise of the Storm (The Desolate Empire Book 1) is FREE on Amazon — there’s literally nothing stopping you from making your reading life 100x better today.
If you are interested in reading Hammer of the Gods and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it at my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.