“In an epic fantasy kingdom inspired by African legends, a young assassin finds himself hunted by the brothers and sisters he has trained alongside since birth.
A teenaged assassin is hunted by his own Brotherhood as he seeks to uncover a supernatural conspiracy before it’s too late
Neythan is one of five adolescents trained and raised together by a mysterious brotherhood of assassins known as the Shedaím. When Neythan is framed for the murder of his closest friend, he pursues his betrayer, and in so doing learns there’s far more to the Brotherhood, and even the world itself, than he’d ever thought possible.”
Thanks given to Netgalley and Angry Robot for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
It’s rare for a book to grab me from the get-go quite like Lost Gods did. That first handful of chapters really captured my imagination and had me itching to keep reading. The story begins by introducing us to Neythan and the brotherhood of assassins he belongs to, and Yongo handles this wonderfully. He blends action with character development, and I really felt a connection with Neythan. Plus the workings of the Brotherhood and the African-inspired world they live in are nothing short of engrossing. I should be honest… Yongo pretty much sealed my interest with the introduction of bloodtrees.
In this way, I think the story prepared me to get lost in Neythan’s point of view and to steep myself in the workings and politicking of the Brotherhood as betrayal and vengeance abound. However, the story takes a turn when we switch from Neythan’s point of view to expand the story and move it towards the more epic end of the fantasy spectrum. I admittedly lost some of my interest at this point and never quite managed to bond with the new cast of POV characters in the same way I did initially with Neythan. I wouldn’t fault the writing or even the characters for this; I suspect I let my own expectations run away from me and was somewhat unavoidably disappointed with the results. But it would have been great to experience more interaction between Neythan and his peers – really mining Neythan’s struggle and the history between them – instead of having them divided for the majority of the novel.
But the story is action-packed with some thrilling combat sequences, plus enough twists and turns to keep you reading until the very end. This isn’t a story tied up in a nice little bow either – there are plenty of unanswered questions and hanging plot points leading into a sequel I’m sure will be just around the corner.
In one respect I would have loved to have kept the focus solely on Neythan’s point of view and to follow him as he battles with everyone he’s ever known as he tries to clear his name. What I got instead was a more complex tale setting the stage for even larger conflicts, with a varied cast of characters that many readers will thoroughly enjoy getting to know. And the worldbuilding seems fresh and interesting, with enough magic and wonder to make the journey more than worthwhile.
Overall I give Lost Gods three out of five stars. An enjoyable read packed with action and wonder – a confident debut.