Faithful and the Fallen · John Gwynne · Young Adult

Malice (Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne


Malice has to be one of the best books I read this year! This is a fantastic start to what looks to be an exciting fantasy series! The plot is complex and engaging, the characters are all well-developed and multi-dimensional,  and the world-building is astounding! Though it doesn’t reinvent the fantasy genre it is still a fantastic read and one that will probably be put on my all-time favorites list! Every fantasy lover will adore this book, both young adult and adults alike.


I had such a hard time coming up with a good synopsis for this one that said more than what’s on the back of the book but also wasn’t too confusing. This was the best I could do but I don’t think it does this book justice…

The Banished Lands have been a fairly calm place for many years, ever since the Great Scouring when Elyon ravaged the world in retaliation for the corruption of Asroth. The only threat to the inhabitants of this world has been the remnants of the Giant clans. However, all this is going to change with the upcoming God-War between Elyon and Asroth. Two champions, one for each God, have to been chosen. Who will be the Bright Star and who the Black Sun? Will the Bright Star realize who he is before it’s too late? Can he save the world from Asroth and his Black Sun?

Told from multiple viewpoints, Malice has a rather slow start. However, I actually view this as a positive because there are not many books that take the time to really develop characters and allow you to get to know them before all  hell breaks loose. Yes, it did take me a while to get into it but a lot of that has to do with starting a new series and having to get to know a whole new cast of characters. This happens a lot to me when I begin a new series. It is especially difficult when being thrust right into their lives from the very beginning. Though confusing at first, I eventually became enamored in all of the characters’ lives.  Overall, the pacing of the novel is incredible. There was not one moment in which I became uninterested in the story since there are plenty of action scenes and WTF? moments mixed in with other informative scenes to keep you engaged. Not to mention the twists and turns!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Malice from beginning to end and had no idea where the story was going. It is almost entirely unpredictable and I am grateful for that. If I know how a book is going to end it just takes all the fun out of reading it. There are a few predictable parts of the novel but I believe that is because they are supposed to be. It doesn’t take long at all to figure out who the Black Sun and Bright Star are, though I wish it would have been more difficult to decipher.


The world is amazing! It was fascinating learning all about the history of the Banished Lands, being introduced to its inhabitants, and even getting a glimpse of some magic. There are quite a few different creatures we encounter including wolven, wyrms, and giants, all of which are awesome. The magic system is also intriguing and is only briefly discussed throughout the book and only used in a few scenes. I hope to learn much more about it in later books. There was a lot discussed in this book and so much more to learn!


There are so many characters in the book that it would take me forever to discuss them all, which is why I am only going to briefly describe them as a whole.

The book switches between several different viewpoints (my favorite writing style) and I was actually interested in all of them though even more so for some than others. There is Corban, Cywen, Veradis, Kastell, Evnis, and Camlin.  Corban and Veradis have the majority of chapters; however, and while reading Veradis’s chapters we also get a lot of Nathair, while with Corban we encounter a lot of Gar.

It is incredible how much the characters change just in this first book! Especially Corban and Veradis. Corban is just a boy at the beginning but becomes much more mature by the end. In regards to Veradis, I like how conflicted he is becoming. He is sworn to Nathair but as the book progresses he seems to be becoming less sure of his decision. I look forward to even more development from all these characters in the next book!

The secondary characters are also well-developed, especially Gar who was intriguing from the very first encounter. Evnis is also interesting because even though we know he is “evil” he isn’t entirely so. We see several sides to him though I hope to have more POV chapters from him in the next book. There is also another secondary character that is rather mysterious and I can’t wait to know more about him (I can’t remember his name right now).


I enjoyed the writing though there were quite a few instances in which the author had longer sentences with tons of commas and some confusing sentences, but this didn’t bother me all that much. I also could have sworn that a few phrases were said a couple of different times referring to different people but I may be mistaken.  Also, the passage of time wasn’t as clear as I wish it would have been. Several weeks or more could pass between paragraphs and it takes a few sentences before you realize this. Anyway, it’s not as polished as it could have been but it is still fantastic for a first novel. Believe me when I say I have read so much worse.

I at least enjoyed the amount of detail that was provided while describing places, people, and objects, but also during the battle scenes. I never thought anything was too drawn out or overly detailed.


This cover is absolute perfection! I couldn’t have asked for a better one. The illustration is gorgeous and once you get towards the end of the book you know the meaning behind the sword. There is even a book number and series name on the spine! Also, no blurbs on the front! Hurray! 🙂 Just absolutely stunning!

~Review Spotlight~

Craig Knight Reviews          Kelly Jensen

Bookwraiths         The Half-Strung Harp

3 thoughts on “Malice (Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne

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