John Paquin – Echoes of War

Title: Echoes of War
Author: John Paquin
Year: 2022
Goodreads page: Link

It’s the distant past. A boy, Daniel, awakens in a temple of the sun god Shamash, with no memory of his origins or identity. Befriended by servant boys, he discovers one of the high priests is hungry for power and hellbent on revenge. Allied with Babylonian courtiers, temple priestesses, dissonant foreign powers, and an Assyrian crown prince, Daniel fights alongside armies to stop the twisted priest from solidifying control over the empire.
(from Goodreads)

We are so accustomed to fantasy books taking place in medieval or Renaissance settings that Echoes of War immediately stands out for its choice of completely changing the era. Here we are going to explore the lands of Mesopotamia with also elements coming from Egypt. It immediately felt as something innovative and that quickly grabbed my attention right from the beginning.

The whole story is built around the culture, the places and the wars while also taking elements from the mythology and religions of these lands, like Djinns and rituals.

The character of Daniel is quite an interesting one and it was quite a bummer having him in the background of the narration for various chapters in the middle of the book… or at least this is what I thought until I read after that part and understood that everything was to build what will be the development of our main character.

The book has strong themes and scenes that makes it one for mature readers and some of those could even disturb some people. The author did a great job in underlining this with a note right before the beginning of the book; I really appreciate this kind of trigger warning as it can help the reader avoid experiences that are totally out of his comfort zone.

I really liked the book but, if I have to find a flaw, it felt a bit too rushed… but not too much. Maybe you already know, that I love to dwell in the mundane events of the main characters, to get to know them better and appreciate them even more; there were some of these moments in the book but it felt like they weren’t enough to let us explore the wide cast of characters and the relationships between them. At the same time I can understand that the author wanted to focus more on the narration to get ahead in the story and keep it in the limits of a single book; still it didn’t feel like the book was missing something and so it is perfectly fine as it is.

I wasn’t really expecting a turn like the one we had in the final chapters of this book! Totally unexpected but really intriguing! An evolution of the story that breaks the canons of the regular narration we are accustomed to reading. A really nice job that really makes it worth reading the book!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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