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Friday, May 31, 2019

Grim Solace by Ben Galley (reviewed by Justine Bergman)


Official Author Website
Order Grim Solace over HERE (US) and HERE (UK)

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his bestselling debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new and critically-acclaimed Chasing Graves Trilogy.

When he isn't conjuring up strange new stories, Ben works as a self-publishing consultant, helping fellow authors from around the world to publish their books. He enjoys exploring the Canadian wilds and sipping Scotch single malts, and will forever and always play a dark elf in The Elder Scrolls. One day he hopes to live in an epic treehouse in the mountains.

Ben can be found on Twitter or vlogging on YouTube @BenGalley, or loitering on Facebook and Instagram @BenGalleyAuthor. You can also get a free eBook copy of his bestselling fantasy The Written at http://www.bengalley.com.

OFFICIAL BLURB: Nothing is certain in Araxes. Not even death.

Stolen from the widow's clutches, master thief and ghost Caltro Basalt must learn new ways to survive the cutthroat society of the Arctian Empire. His one hope for freedom and justice? A gift from the dead gods, who continue to beg for a saviour.

Breaking a soul takes time, and Caltro's spirit is far from broken. Many try to weave him into their plots, but he is set on salvation by no means but his own.

As Caltro finds himself ever ensnared in Araxes' cruel games, Nilith fights to survive the Dune Plains in her quest for redemption, Sisine continues her game of claiming ruler, and Temsa works toward his reign of chaos, one noble at a time

The board is set. The players chosen. Who will win the great game of Araxes?


FORMAT/INFO: Grim Solace is 455 pages long divided over 23 numbered and titled chapters, and is the second entry in The Chasing Graves Trilogy. The book is available in e-book and paperback format, as well as on Kindle Unlimited. It was self-published by the author on January 24, 2019. Cover art by Chris Cold, cover design by Shawn T. King.

ANALYSIS (Justine): The epic game continues in Grim Solace, the ambitious and unrelenting sophomore installment in The Chasing Graves Trilogy.

And so we carry on with our journey into a battle of life and death, where mysteries are bound to arise from beneath the punishing sands. The so-called "Dead Gods" scheme with hopes of fixing a fractured world, but as with all the others with skin in the game, who can presume their true intentions? Factions lurking in the shadows cast by Araxes' spiring towers at sunset clash for supremacy with no regard for collateral damage and the only measurements of success are either in the weight of their copper half-coins or the number of white feathers upon the breasts of the wronged. With the introduction of a whole new multitude of monsters and mayhem, only the grains slipping through the hourglass will tell who will reign triumphant.

We begin right where we left off as Caltro finds himself in the clutches of another who will gladly use him as easily as he himself uses his tools to breach an impenetrable vault. As he is passed from one bad situation to the next, he internally struggles on which path to freedom will best suit his selfish needs. However, a gift given to him by the gods proves him a valuable asset to all the parties involved in the fight for power.

Temsa continues to carve a path to the top of the food chain, a path drenched in blood and littered with carnage. His unfounded and blind ambition, as well as his willingness to play both sides of a raging war, may be his demise as the loyalty of those closest to him begins to waver.

Empress Nilith races to reach Araxes to fulfill her master plan while outrunning a group of bandits fueled by a malicious grudge. Her path is rife with horrors, both natural and man-made, but her belief that she can undo the travesties set forth by those before steadily pushes her forward.

There are others with curious and unknown designs working in secret and outside of earshot that may very well play a crucial role in the outcome of the game. Will their crafty planning turn the tide as a hopeful victor reaches the finish line?

Grim Solace is a wonderfully realized story dominated by impeccable and deepening character development, and while book one introduced a cast of great characters, this one allows us to peek deeper into their minds and witness their struggles and machinations. The story moves along at a breakneck pace as peril awaits at every turn. The cunning and danger are palpable and the overall feeling is grim and futile, however there remains a seed of hope that there will be justice where justice is due. A welcomed dark, snide humor breaks up the aura of complete hopelessness, making Caltro's passages particularly enjoyable to read. Galley also beautifully graces the pages with exotic and vividly depicted places and creatures, making a read that remains captivating throughout. When things begin to settle down to an almost ordinary level, he throws in a fresh and fantastical adversary or hellish landscape, challenging your brain to let go and believe in the unbelievable.

The threads are beginning to come together, even though we are left grasping the edge with several cliffhangers. The story is becoming more compelling with each chapter and I'm really excited to see how Galley concludes this tale, which has definitely piqued my interest and violently drawn me in. As I dive deeper into this world, it's becoming more difficult to decide on who I'd like to see victorious, because if I've learned anything from these exquisite characters, it's to trust no one. The fight for Araxes continues in Breaking Chaos.

A huge thank you to Ben Galley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book.

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