Today is my stop on the book blog tour for The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies!
But I have to be honest , I’m not sure if I can fairly call this a ‘review’. Not because I won’t be giving you my honest opinions on the book, but because this is going to be less of an attempt at a thoughtful critique and more like a highly embarrassing love letter to the author, because The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies is nothing short of divine.
(Yes, that pun was intentional; no, I will not be apologizing for it.)
Let’s get started!
The Thirteenth Hour
by Trudie Skies
The Cruel Gods #1
Kindle Edition, 535 pages
13th October 2021
Published by Trudie Skies
Fantasy | Gaslamp
Cover art by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
When the saints fail, the sinners step up.
Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.
Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.
To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.
For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.
The Thirteenth Hour is the first book in The Cruel Gods series—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. This is an adult book containing strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing. For a full list of content warnings, visit Trudie Skies’s website.
Thank you so much to the author and the awesome people at @The Write Reads for sending me a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can check out all the other amazing bloggers in this tour here, or by clicking on the banner above!
It’s rare that I find a book that absolutely, one hundred-thousand percent, lives up to the hype in every way imaginable. I’d already seen this book being praised all over the place and the premise itself was already incredible. Just the idea alone was enough to entice me. And then, ironically, my prayers were answered when The Write Reads invited me to be part of this tour. How could I possibly refuse?
From the first page I was enthralled. I’m not exaggerating even a little bit when I say that this book had me in its clutches from the very first line. I couldn’t have torn myself away even if I wanted to. And I absolutely did. Not. Want To. The author created a world filled with terrible oppression, darkness and cruelty, and yet I couldn’t help but love it. I wanted to explore every inch of Chime and learn everything about its secrets – not to mention the twelve domains outside. There’s so much incredible, complex worldbuilding throughout the entire story that even the domains that weren’t as fully explored felt rich and alive just by virtue of the author’s fantastic writing style.
The characters, however, are what really make this story shine. Kayl and Quen are our sole POV characters and each one was a joy to follow. They both go on such an intense journey, slowly moving from intense distrust to a real sense of comradery, and each provided a wonderful, contrasting perspective on the citizens and politics of Chime.
The author did an incredible job balancing each of their points of view, tackling hard questions about faith and devotion without being preachy, and still managing to highlight just how well these two fit together. Kayl’s fierce perseverance and Quen’s quiet strength made for an unstoppable dynamic, and all I wanted was for them both to succeed – even when their goals weren’t entirely aligned.
Beyond our leads, the entire cast was a fantastic, diverse collection of characters in every way possible. Even those who largely stayed in the background had a presence in the story that I thoroughly enjoyed. From the determined, idealistic heroes I’d happily die to protect, to some of the most insidious villains I’ve ever wanted to shove into oncoming traffic. I was on the edge of my seat every moment, desperate to learn what would happen to them. It broke my heart when the book ended because all I wanted was more.
Was there anything I didn’t like? Yes! Trudie Skies is the cruelest of all the gods because she left the book on the biggest cliff-hanger and I am still utterly furious about it. To be fair, I have heard that two more books set in Chime are going to be released this year, so I’ll probably get over my anger just as soon as I get my hands on some copies.
I’ve already bought a paperback version of The Thirteenth Hour to proudly display on my bookshelves (because seriously, how pretty is that cover?) and I will pay literally any price just to find out what happens next. You already have my heart and soul; just take my money!
Five stars! Ten stars! All the stars to The Thirteenth Hour! I literally have nothing to critique here. It’s just so good in every possible way. I will be recommending this book to every single person I come across for years to come, and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for Kayl, Quen, and for all of Chime.
Thanks for reading everyone, and may the gods leave you to your fate.
About the Author
Trudie Skies has been living inside fantasy worlds ever since she discovered that reality doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Through the magic of books, she wishes to share these worlds of hope and heroes with other weary souls. Living in North East England, Trudie spends most of her free time daydreaming about clouds, devouring whatever fantasy books or video games she can get her hands on, and chasing after her troublesome dogs, who would like to reassure you they are very good boys.
Her debut YA fantasy series, Sand Dancer, was published through Uproar Books. Trudie is now writing adult gaslamp fantasy with her new series, The Cruel Gods.
Another huge thank you to @ The Write Reads, and the author for providing me with an eARC of this book and the chance be a part of this amazing tour.