55777447._sy475_They took his daughter, so Micah comes to take their kingdom. Fifty thousand gun-toting paladins march behind him, all baptized in angel blood, thirsty to burn unbelievers.

Only the janissaries can stand against them. Their living legend, Kevah, once beheaded a magus amid a hail of ice daggers. But ever since his wife disappeared, he spends his days in a haze of hashish and poetry.

To save the kingdom, Kevah must conquer his grief and become the legend he once was. But Micah writes his own legend in blood, and his righteous conquest will stop at nothing.

When the gods choose sides, a legend will be etched upon the stars. 

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Amazon ebook 500 self published Fantasy October 15th, 2020

I am not sure I was quite prepared for this incredibly epic, dark fantasy. In short, this book is mind-blowing. Perhaps half of the ‘mind blow’ element is due to the fact that books with Arabian-inspired atmosphere have not made their way into my eyes before, so it was fresh and unique to me. Surprisingly, in hindsight, the book starts with being sassy as heck. The dialogue in between Kevah and the Shah was a hoot.

“Kevah the Blacksmith,” the Shah said. “I’ve met eunuchs with better titles.”

And through sass, the story builds up, with introductions made, the characters firmly planted to their places, and boom, things take a really dark turn! And once the dark starts, it does not end… boy, does it not end… *stares into distance…

Gunmetal Gods is rich, gooey-gooey rich in religious theme! I love me my baddies to be morally grey, and hypocrites and fueled by their faith… I don’t know why, I just revel in it. Perhaps because with power comes great responsibility and no matter how holy one thinks they are, once they think they’re above others, a leader, they *will* be tainted by it… It’s the idea of a holy man thinking they have the right to judge others based on their beliefs whilst at the same time not ever practicing what they preach. And that, for some reason, is my guilty pleasure to read about. It’s a bit like pushing a finger into an already sore wound. Weird…

Rely on god and you’ll never know your own strength.

On the other hand, I love people and characters who are driven by the passion that burns within them. Be it fueled by sport, the art of growing potatoes, knitting, or god. If someone is burning with that passion of theirs, it’s bloody hard not to be pulled along by it… you see that spark, you want to have some. Suddenly, you yourself want to know everything there is to know about growing spuds or knitting or curling or god. You’re jealous because it seems like their life has more meaning than yours. It is so in real life as well as in fiction, for me. And so it is, that I love characters who don’t dally around because ‘oh poor me, the prophecy said I have to save the world and I’d rather be shagging maidens in the opposite direction‘. You know? I love plots that are driven by driven people! Screw the prophecy, you are the smith of your own luck and fate! Gunmetal Gods is ALL about driven people… it’s full of magic and a touch of godly fingers, pushing men to act out atrocious things, and all the while men still think they have it under control. Bwahahaha… how ironic, how wonderful!

Micah and Kevah… opponents, both in their religion and their ambitions. And yet, cruelly and by an unexpectedly wonderfully twisty twist, connected. God, this book makes you want to pat the cover and sigh ‘my precious!’… I would say, there are times the lines in between villains blurs… you think, which one is the actual villain here? You will get to know both their stories, and you wonder if you have to choose the bad guy based on how relatable their stories are? It’s great, it makes the reader squirm 🙂

Word of warning though- cruelty! It’s been a while I read a book and went- what the hell just happened! Oh, this is insane! Yeah, cruelty. Because this is what this world is like – extreme. That’s right. There’s no other way about it, it’s extreme. You’re either with us or against us and if you’re against us, you’re dead. And not just you, but your whole family is dead. Simple.

I won’t retell the whole plot of the book – the blurb will help you get an idea and let the rest unfold in front of your eyes, if you’re able to take it.

Do know, that there is a LOT… a whole world of scenes and ‘action/reaction’ moments that drive forward the plot. There are some incredible twists and hard to stomach moments. There are moments of joy for small victories that will be yanked away from you by turns in the story you surely won’t imagine coming.

But above all, with everything that’s happening, with plots and schemes to keep you occupied for days on end, the writing makes it all flow smoothly. Yes, admittedly, I did feel that the pace slowed after the halfway point but I have an explanation why for me, personally, it felt so… you see, SO MUCH happens. From the start. And by the time you get just past the halfway point you kind of expect things to calm down a bit, have that epic final battle, tie up some loose ends, the usual… Zamil Akhtar doesn’t do ‘the usual’ apparently. Yes, whilst some good chunks could have been left out of this book, in hindsight, these chunks still serve a purpose so they are far from waste of paper and reading time. Besides, Akhtar really knows how to write atmosphere into the book, be the pace as it may. I just kept on reading, even if eager for it all to just be over already because I felt like I had been to a war with the gods myself.

What else is there left to say, but- epic!