On behalf of The Write Reads, I am honoured today to be hosting a review of The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies. Thank you for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Length: 535 Pages
Publishing: 13th October 2021
When the saints fail, the sinners step up.
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.
The Thirteenth Hour is unlike anything I have read or seen before and despite fantasy not being my regular genre, this is an amazing and engaging story and I can barely do it justice in my review. My advice – read it for yourself as it’s something that truly needs to be experienced to understand the beauty and brilliance of it.
The imagery and world building is superb. Set in a Victorian-esq steam-punk backdrop, The Thirteenth Hour Chime and the 12 Domains have to be the most intricately designed world I have ever come across. It is revealed gently over the first part of the book and takes the time to build such a vibrant picture.
In Kayl’s world there are 12 domains, each ruled by a different God and filled with a race of people defined by their virtues and strengths/abilities. I loved all the quirks of the characters in each domain and how different they were. I can only imagine the amount of time and though that were put into creating each domain and its residents. In addition to each domain there is also Chime, where the godless live and where gods are not allowed to go.
The plot in itself is riveting and exciting however for me, it was the themes running through the narrative that were the most fascinating and clever. There’s a big emphasis on social classes, with a throwback to workhouses and additionally a commentary on religion and the influence it can have on people and societies.
Kayl and Quen’s adventures are just beginning but this is a series I am already hooked on and cannot wait to continue.
Author Bio – Trudie Skies
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