Book Review: The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

The Gutter Prayer

Genre: Fantasy/Grimdark
Series: The Black Iron Legacy
Author Info: http://garhanrahan.wordpress.com/

This book has been all the rage in the grimdark community and rightly so. I read it a few weeks ago but was not able to post the review until now due to my swamped schedule and low mental energy level.

The Gutter Prayer is a very strong debut and doesn’t even read like one. You can tell the author is quite experienced in worldbuilding and action-heavy plots even if you didn’t know he has a professional background as a game writer.

The setting is a city with a Lovecraftian and steampunkish aura to it, inhabited with the normal people and bizarre city guard creatures called Tallowmen (lovingly called candle-fuckers by the people) on the surface, ghouls and weird ass creatures living underground in the vast network of tunnels and huge caverns. There’s the industries of the alchemists with their polluting chimneys and toxic dumps, huge cathedrals, university complex and all kinds of cool places in the city of Guerdon. The city is quite intriguing and full of surprises. The criminal underground and the machinations its leaders plot, the actual underground and its entirely different culture and hierarchies keep the feeling of adventure and exploring alive throughout the whole book.

The strength of this book is not the characters, but rather the worldbuilding, plot, mystery solving and fast-paced action.

There’s a small but eclectic cast of main characters. The protag figure is Carillion (Cari) who was cool in the beginning but grew dull. Professor Ongent, Rat the Ghoul and the thief taker Jere are the most interesting characters in my opinion. Then again you don’t read this book for character porn. (Malazan is where you go for character porn.) The multi-layered, Lovecraftian-steampunkish-weird city and its messed up theology, strange lore, way-out-there creatures, political intrigue and awesome action is what The Gutter Prayer is offering in generous quantities. It’s like a playing a fine game of Arkham Horror but with mystery and puzzle-solving elements.

The one thing I wasn’t impressed with was the big twist in the end cause I have seen the exact same kind of thing elsewhere (not going to say where cause it’d be a spoiler to those who read that one.) But then the whole aftermath with the new city was bizarre, original and super cool. The ending is weird like the rest of the story and all that weirdness works out in a great harmony until the last page.

Overall The Gutter Prayer is a great read with lots of original and entertaining elements and fast-paced thriller aspect.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books To Movies I Can’t Wait For

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the books we can’t wait to see on the big screen.

Here is my Top 10:

1. Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

They already optioned this, so I expect to see a movie soon enough. It will be interesting to see how they will adapt a story with no plot. It will be a difficult one for sure.

My reviews for the books:

The Name of The Wind

The Wise Man’s Fear


2. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

Gritty as gritty goes, I’m dying to see a movie adaptation of this magnificent trilogy. I think Jorg will have millions of fangirls if they ever make it a movie of these books.

My reviews for the books:

Prince of Thorns

King of Thorns

Emperor of Thorns


3. The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Who wouldn’t want to see Sand dan Glokta on the big screen? Though I’m looking forward to Ferro kicking arse and Bloody Nine going nine kinds of berserk.

My review for the first book here:

The Blade Itself

4. The Prince of Northing by R. Scott Bakker

This is one guaranteed to make the Game of Thrones look like a Disney princess movie. It’s the epitomy of grimdark allright! But I doubt I will see a movie adaptation of it in my lifetime.

My reviews for the series:

The Darkness That Comes Before
The Warrior Prophet
The Thousandfold Thought


5. The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Oldies but goodies -this is the second fantasy series I have read after Tolkien and it has a special place in my heart. It features superb political intrigue, a powerful and exceptionally intelligent female lead and a cast of awesome secondary characters. I think it would make a great series of movies. Which reminds, I need to re-read this series and write reviews that’s long overdue too, damnit!


6. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

This is the prequel to The Empire Trilogy (though The Empire Trilogy can be read as a standalone) and the first fantasy series I have read after the Tolkien books. I think it would make a fantastic movie series.

See my reviews for the books:

Magician (Apprentice and Master)
Silverthorn
A Darkness in Sethanon


7. Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see Drizzt and his magical pet panther Guenhwyvar on the big screen. If they could make an accurate Menzoberranzan it would be a total delight to watch.

8. Dragonlance Chronicles by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman

This series has millions of fans worldwide, yet they never bothered making movies or even a TV show of it save for that pathetic, 70’s style cartoon pilot. It’s a total shame, really. I hope some day we will get to see Raistlin on the big screen or at least on TV… Some day…

Read my reviews for the books:

Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Dragons of Winter Night
Dragons of Spring Dawning

9.The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

It’s such a shame they never made a movie of this cult classic of fantasy literature. It would make a terrific tv series if anything! But movies would be great. I think Benedict Cumberbatch would make a fantastic Corwin!

10. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

Another older cult classic, another way overdue movie adaptation fans have been waiting for decades. Sword and Sorcery is never out of fashion and I think it would be fairly successful if they made movies of the Elric books.

See my review here

Elric Saga: Part 1

What is your top ten?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Debut Fantasy Authors

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the debut authors. You can see my eclectic taste in fantasy in the below top 10 list, including Grimdark, Epic Fantasy and YA Fantasy. Click on the cover images to go to the Goodreads pages for the books.

Here is my Top 10:

1. Michael R. Fletcher


2. Peter Newman


3. Brian Staveley


4. Erika Johansen


5. Victoria Aveyard


6. Sabaa Tahir


7. Fran Wilde


8. Ilana C. Myer


9. Genevieve Cogman


10. Lucy Hounsom


What is your top ten?