The Write Reads blog Tours: The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies
I have been dying to talk about this book for ages, and thanks to this blog tour by The Write Reads, I finally get a chance.
Yep folks, today we are talking about
The Thirteenth Hour
Right! I had better tell you about the book!
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Length: 535 Pages
Publishing: 13th October 2021
Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.
Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.
To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.
For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.
The Thirteenth Hour is the first book in The Cruel Gods series—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. This is an adult book containing strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing. For a full list of content warnings, visit Trudie Skies's website.
Phenomenal, intricate, mind blowing and just bloody brilliant!
All these superlatives can apply to describe Trudie Skies’s book The Thirteenth Hour.
I have been dying to read this since I was first involved with the
map reveal, which I think was in August last year. And from the
initial view of Soraya Cocoran’s design for the book, it hinted that there was something definitely special about this book. I mean look at it!
This is one of the most individual maps that I have ever seen but it also denotes the tones of the book as well.
The story revolves around our two main characters; Kayl and Quen
The two characters couldn’t be more opposite. Kayl is a Vesper, a race of people from Eventide, who can control shadow and darkness. Well, that is what she thinks she is as she is an orphan that was brought up on the streets of the Undercity of Chime. However she is a bit of a mystery. No one knows anything about her past, like who her parents are etc etc.
Now she is a Godless, a member of a disparate group of anarchists, made up of different races of people from the different realms that make up the domain of Chime. As a person, she is chaos!
Quen on the other hand is highly organised. He is a member of the Wardens, a Diviner. A race of people that can control time. He is fastidious about his appearance, order and following the rules.
We start the story with Kayl missing a tram! From this seemingly innocuous event things go rapidly down hill from there. You see, as I said earlier, Kayl is a member of the anarchist group, The Godless, who are there to fight against the God’s cruel and capricious rule over their mortals. As she and the other Godless are attempting to transport a group of refugees from the land of Eventide, events occur that will change both Kayl and Quen’s life.
After a disastrous incident in which she is noticed to not be affected by the Diviners control of time, she is confronted by none other than the leader of The Wardens. Her boss at the tea shop that she works at intervenes which results in Kayl inadvertently killing the owner.
At the same time a series of Diviner deaths are rocking the Warden ranks. Diviners are turning up with their eyes torn out and their souls ripped from their bodies.
The star Warden, Quen is brought in to investigate the connection and discovers Kayl’s involvement. However, things go from bad to worse. Not only is Kayl accused of murder, she also discovers that everything that she knew about herself is not what she thought. And as she and Quen discover the truth about the deaths of the Diviners, her world will be changed forever.
The Thirteenth Hour is a rip roaring adventure that I totally enjoyed. In truth I was not sure what to expect from the book, I expected it to be good but this totally blew my socks off. I totally fell head over heels with this book. Trudie Skies has really created something special with this book. The world is intricately built and is extremely original. The characters of the book are so vivid and real and I was so engrossed with the story of Quen & Kayl that I was thinking about what would happen next in the story, even when I wasn't reading it.
In addition to a fantastic plot and brilliant characters, we have to talk about the real star of the show, Chime itself. It is such a wonderfully developed piece of world building. Not only is there the description of the environment in the book, but there are also little nuggets of information at the head of each chapter that give details about the lore of different lands and general observations about race, culture and a whole load of other things. But let us get back to Chime itself! In some aspects it is reminiscent of portal fantasy, where the characters have to cross a gate to another world, and in others it is like a Neo – Dickensian playground of sin and filth, but with the pristine newness of Industrial age mechanika.
And another thing that jumped out at me was the care that is taken in the book. Let me explain! The story cycles points of view every chapter. One chapter Quen, one chapter Kayl (although this is not a finite rule!), but you can always tell whose chapter it is going to be with the chapter numbers. Quen’s chapters are headed by Roman Numerals, whilst Kayl’s are presented in the standard Arabic numeral forms for easier identification of whose chapter it is, which I have to say that I loved as it gives a clear boundary and you know what to expect. It is these little things that make the book that much more enjoyable.
The Thirteenth Hour is a brilliant start to one of the most original fantasy stories that I have read in a long time, totally captivating me with its engrossing narrative, intricate world building and incredibly dry wit (with some of the standout little tidbits getting ‘exceedingly good cakes by Mr Kipler, or the Ferrero Roscher reference, which made me chuckle no end). Oh, and lets us not forget the biscuits. I was just dying for a pink wafer to show up, or maybe a Garibaldi!
About the Author
Trudie Skies has been living inside fantasy worlds ever since she discovered that reality doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Through the magic of books, she wishes to share these worlds of hope and heroes with other weary souls. Living in North East England, Trudie spends most of her free time daydreaming about clouds, devouring whatever fantasy books or video games she can get her hands on, and chasing after her troublesome dogs, who would like to reassure you they are very good boys.
Her debut YA fantasy series, Sand Dancer, was published through Uproar Books. Trudie is now writing adult gaslamp fantasy with her new series, The Cruel Gods.
Author’s Website and Social Media Links
James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
Domain map designed by Soraya Cocoran
Character Art (under bonus art folder) by Seraphim