Godkiller is a wonderful debut by Hannah Kaner. The narrative is split into four narrators: Kissen, the eponymous Godkiller; Elogost retired Knight of King Arren; Inara, orphaned noble who has been cloistered so far in her life and is bonded with Skediceth a small god of white lies. Kissen and Ianara are thrown together when Inara’s world collapses.
Oh how did I love this novel. This world is dark and frightening. Gods are real and they can grow to be exceedingly powerful depending on how much belief they receive. Some years prior to the novel the humans rebelled against the gods that had become too powerful, or too wild and a war was fought.
Kissen fought in that war against the gods and since then has made her living dealing with the aftermath. Killing gods who were causing people bother, removing shrines, when she is paid she does the work. I loved her as a character, an orphan, she was supposed to be a sacrifice along with the rest of her family but her father maimed her so that she could escape. Her found family who are her hearth and home.
Elo from Kings Guard to baker, he has found his own way of dealing with the world post the battle with the gods. Drawn to Blenraden as his King is sick and the answers to why lie there.
Inara and Skediceth child and god of white lies who are inextricably bound,need to visit Blenraden to find a way to separate. Kissen agrees to take her, she sees herself in the young girl.
The novel coalesces around these four as they are bound together in a trip to Blenraden the site of the war.
What I loved, disabilities and mental illness were foregrounded, queer representation. A really satisfying novel that looked at the toll of the aftermath of such a war and didn’t flinch from it. The pace of the novel was slow to begin, the characters seeminly unlinked until they are drawn together and forged into a team by attacks by demons which grow in frequency and intensity, but just who are they after?
This was a brilliant debut. I lookforward to the sequel, there has to be one, right?
Godkiller is published by Harper Voyager on 19th January 2023
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