Literature: The Godless World Trilogy
The Godless World
is a fantasy trilogy written by Scottish author Brian Ruckley. It consists of three books: Winterbirth
and Fall of Thanes
The titular world was abandoned by its gods long ago, after the Huanin (humans) and Kyrinin (elves, but notably different
) rose up to destroy the Whreinin (wolf people).
The books start over 1000 years after the departure of the gods, following a war between the True Bloods and the Bloods of the Black Road, a group of religious extremists who believe one god remained, and the believers of this creed will be granted an afterlife, but only when everyone alive in the world is a true believer. Cue slaughter.
The books mainly follow Orisian nan Lannis-Haig, the son of the Lannis Thane's brother, and later Thane himself
, although it commonly switches viewpoints to several others, including Orisian's sister Anyara, the Horin-Gyre Bloodheir Kanin who also becomes a Thane
later in the story, and Aeglyss, the Half-Human Hybrid
who takes a spotlight in the second and third books.
The trilogy features some excellent world-building, realistic characters and a dark yet very gripping narrative. Though relatively unknown, it is highly recommended.
This series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Ess'yr. Anyara evolves into this.
- Action Survivor - Orisian, at least for most of the first book. Anyara, as well.
- All Deaths Final
- Anti-Villain - Theor, Goedellin and Nyve were thoroughly likable, and Kanin gets sympathetic in the second two books.
- Anyone Can Die - and how!
- Back-to-Back Badasses - Kanin and Igris in the third book
- Badass - Kanin, Rothe, Taim, Coinach, Igris, Varryn, Fiallic
- Badass Army - The Battle Inkallim
- Big Bad: Aeglyss, who's need for acceptance and psychological damage more or less destroy the world.
- Bittersweet Ending - the Big Bad is defeated, but so many of the protagonists, including Orisian himself die to bring it about. Also, the Haig lands are thrown into turmoil, and signs point to the Dornach Kingship invading soon.
- Bodyguard Crush: It's subtle, but Coinach appears to be developing one on Anyara.
- Body Horror: Aeglyss rots alive as his power grows.
- Boisterous Bruiser - Kylane shows some tendencies of this, including a love of "drink and dice". He doesn't last long though.
- Break the Cutie - Mordyn's death, for what it did to Tara, who'd been suffering since his return. The series as a whole serves as one for the already miserable Orisian.
- Chaotic Evil: Aeglyss. He ends up turning everyone else into this as well, breaking down people's sanity as he poisons The Shared.
- Church Militant: The Inkallim. Divided into the Battle, the Hunt, and the Lore.
- The Corrupter: Aeglyss becomes this, turning people into raw Chaotic Evil berserkers after his power up.
- The Corruption: He releases this into The Shared, injecting it will all of his own pain, suffering, and rage. It's repeatedly described as "venom", "poison" and a "taint".
- Crapsack World: The people are monsters, the gods have left, rejection and sufferring are everywhwere, most of the populace is poor, and every named character is a psychological wreck. It makes Berserk look cheerful. More painful than many Crapsack Worlds because the author successfully averts Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome - The escape from Koldihrve in the first book. Kanin's appearance counts; "That's your name, isn't it? Mine is Kanin oc Horin-Gyre," as well as Ess'yr's reaction to it. In the later books, Mordyn, Anyara and Coinach all get one in the scene where Mordyn kills Gryvan and Aewult. Also, pretty much everything Aeglyss does after surviving the Breaking Stone.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming - Orisian's letter to Anyara.
- Curb-Stomp Battle - Coinach killing Kale
- Dark Action Girl: Wain, Shraeve, Eska (although she's quite sympathetic).
- Dark Messiah - Aeglyss in the second and third books
- Did Not Get the Girl - Orisian. Poor, poor Orisian. In the first book, Wain rejects Aeglyss, but he has his way in a rather disturbing manner in later books.
- The Dragon: Shraeve to Aeglyss.
- Dual Wielding: Shraeve again.
- Dysfunction Junction
- Emotionless Girl - Shraeve
- Empty Shell: Orisian's father, K'rina. Orisian himself by the end.
- Faith Heel Turn: Inverted. Kanin's shift from Big Bad to Anti-Villain comes when he loses his faith in The Black Road, and starts thinking for himself.
- A Father to His Men - Taim Narran
- Final Battle - Subverted; after all the epic battles in the trilogy, Aeglyss is finally defeated by the Anain using K'Rina as a cage for Aeglyss's soul. Kanin's fight against Aeglyss's forces in the third book almost qualifies. That said, though it is small scale, Taim (and temporarily Varryn) fighting against Shraeve near the end of the third book was pretty epic.
- Five Races - The gods created Huanin, Kyrinin, Anain, Saolin and Whreinin, although they don't fit the standard five races mold.
- The Fundamentalist: Every damn member of the Inkallim.
- Grey and Gray Morality: It's The Empire vs Church Militant, with decent people on both sides caught in the middle. May evolve into Black and Grey Morality once the Dark Messiah starts running the Church Militant.
- Half-Human Hybrid - The na'kyrim, half Huanin, half Kyrinin; ostracized by both races as outcasts, and feared for their access to the magic known as the Shared
- Heroic Sacrifice: Orisian dies to stop Aeglyss. It isn't spectacular, it isn't impressive...he just lets go and finally fades out. Sniff...
- The Lifestream: The Shared.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Inurian.
- Miles Gloriosus - Temegrin the Eagle
- The Neidermeyer - Aewult
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Aeglyss heads in this direction as the story goes along.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Aeglyss becomes this. See Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds below.
- One-Man Army - Kanin, Taim Narran, Shraeve
- Our Elves Are Different - the Kyrinin are somewhat similar in appearance to Tolkienesque elves, but during the events of the story, live tribal lives, and can be quite savage. Nevertheless, they are described as graceful, and beautiful.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: The Wherinin in the backstory certainly sound like werewolves.
- Professional Killer: The Hunt Inkallim.
- Religious Bruiser: Any member of The Black Road who isn't an Inkallim is probably this.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog - Croesan (and everyone else in Anduran) in the first book. Many more examples in the second and third books, with Ammen Sharp standing out.
- Smug Snake: For an Emotionless Girl and Dark Action Girl, Shraeve really pushes it. She's arrogant, condescending, and convinced that her faith is so much purer than that of the other Inkallim. A most unlikeable bitch.
- Sociopathic Soldier - during the Haig army's stay in Kolkyre, the soldiers treat the citizenry poorly enough that a mob forms to kill two of them. Aeglyss's influence starts turning everyone into this, freeing the worst of their impulses, and polluting them with his pain and their own.
- The Spymaster - Torquentine
- The Stoic - Fiallic, Shraeve... well, all the Battle Inkallim, really.
- Tear Jerker: Half the series falls under this. Reading it can be exhausting.
- Ted Baxter - Aewult, Temegrin
- Too Cool to Live: Cannek was awesome, damn it.
- Took a Level in Badass: Orisian, Anyara, Aeglyss.
- Very Punchable Man - Kale, Temegrin, Aewult
- The Woobie: Orisian. He begins as The Unfavourite to a dying man, and spends the entire series just fading away.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Dear god, Aeglyss. He's so damaged that his very presence is contaminating the planet, and poisoning the Shared. By the end, he's ready to die, and tries to take the world that's rejected him along for the ride. It's not even deliberate: he just doesn't care enough about the world to try and stop the destruction he's begun.
- You Shall Not Pass: In the Back Story. The original Inkallim did this, using a force of 100 to delay the pursuing Kilkry army. Hence their being referred to as "The Children of the Hundred".