Book Review: The Gods of Vice by Devin Madson

Book Synopsis

Two emperors. One empire.

The war for the Crimson Throne has split Kisia. In the north Otako supporters rally around their champion, but Katashi Otako wants only vengeance. Caught in the middle, Hana must decide between her family and her heart. Is the true emperor the man the people want? Or the one they need?

As the true heir to the throne, Endymion remains hidden in plain sight, but the Vices know his secret. Malice, scheming to restore the empire to the rule of gods, plans a coup that will tear Kisia apart if Endymion does not find a way to escape. But he is running out of time. His Empathy is consuming him. It grows stronger with every use, spreading him so thin there will soon be nothing left – nothing except the monster he fears to become. When gods fight, empires fall.

The storm is coming. 

The Gods of Vice is the second book in Devin Madson’s Vengeance trilogy. Having really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Blood of Whisperers and In Shadows We Fall – a prequel novella – I went in expecting something similar, but this one didn’t quite click in the same way.

Plot wise, it kicks off almost immediately after the first book finishes – and it starts off at the same frenetic pace. Our three POV characters (Endymion, Hana and Darius) are all thrown into the action straight away, the situations they found themselves in at the end of the first book thrown into disarray. This pacing, however, takes quite a big dip in the middle of the book, making for a much slower book with less tension than The Blood of Whisperers.

However, this drop in pace isn’t all bad. It does mean that we get to learn plenty more about both the world and the characters. In particular, we get a far more introspective Darius as more and more of his mysterious past is slowly unveiled, as well as beginning to understand the power of Endymion’s burgeoning Empathy powers. This increased depth to our character motives and world-building were easily my favourite parts of this book. I definitely want to know more about how the magic works in this world!

Unfortunately, this middle section also encompasses my least favourite part of this book: the relationships. They just really, really didn’t work for me. They felt very forced, as if the author had decided they needed to be in there no matter what – even though they feel completely out of character at times. At least for me.

Getting back to the positives, the writing beautifully straddles the line between accessible and immersive, making for very easy reading that keeps the pages turning. Devin Madson will keep you on your toes with plot twists galore, so never assume anyone is safe! Mostly, these were well done, though there is one towards the end that I felt was a little abrupt and surprising considering the way the character is portrayed throughout the rest of the series.  

Overall, I think this is a perfectly good book. It does a lot pretty well, but the only standouts for me – the things that gave me a lasting impression of The Gods of Vice ­– were the negatives, especially the relationships. A lot of the story revolves around the relationships and they just don’t click for me. However, if these don’t bother you as much as me, I think people will find a lot to like here.

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