Cover Image: Sons of Darkness

Sons of Darkness

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book! Better late than never, right? Sons of Darkness is an exciting entry into an epic fantasy world inspired by Indian myths. The story was gripping and the characters so well written. Looking forward to the sequel!

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I’ve been trying to read this book for the last 5 months and I sadly can’t do it. The main characters have so much past info dumping that it’s hard to care and stay current with them. I think it feels a little disjointed for me and I’ll have to DNF it at 32%.

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Wow, this was an epic new fantasy to dive into! I was really impressed by this book and everything Gourav Mohanty created with this book and I am so eager to read more from him! This was phenomenal and I was immediately hooked by this amazing world and premise. This book is so epic and is full of gorgeous writing, well-developed and complex characters, plenty of actions and world-building, and so much more. This is definitely on the denser/more complex side so it does require some focus and time to really connect with the story and become immersed, but it's absolutely worth it. Highly recommended for fans of darker fantasy and are looking for something new and epic and amazing to sink into.

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Unfortunately, I have to DNF this book due to sexual violence. I'm alright with there being some for the plot but this was... a lot more than I was comfortable with.

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I was hooked! I love a layered fantasy with every increasing stakes: villains and heroes, who knows who is who; political maneuverings that always change, and cunning minds that move allies and enemies alike as chess pieces on a board. Looking forward to the next book.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Selling Pitch:
One of the most misogynistic books I’ve ever read in my entire life. That being said, the plot is unfortunately very good. It’s Indian Game of Thrones that alienates the reader with all of its info dumping, it has a ridiculously large cast of characters, and it’s chock-full of anachronisms. I can’t believe I’m still telling you to read this book, but I am. You have to be willing to suffer, but the plot payoff is really fucking good, guys. Like I had to force myself to read this, and now I’m willingly picking up book two. Do with that what you will.

Pre-reading:
I have literally no idea what this book is about. I saw the cover and had to read it.

Thick of it:
I like how the author’s note is like don’t expect a direct retelling of the original story, and I’m like my dude, I have never even heard of the original story. We’re Gucci.

I’ll tell you right now that I’m not gonna know how to pronounce anything in this book. Also, I have an arc of this book, and the character table’s spacing is off, so it’s very hard to read. But I never use character indexes. I just struggle through and complain.

I also feel like I need to issue a disclaimer whenever I pick up books set somewhere else that your girl’s a dumb bitch. She doesn’t know a lick of geography and or history.

I love when we open with dead bodies.

OK edge lord, you can get a ponytail. You don’t have to use a knife to get your hair out of your eyes. Come on now. You want a scrunchie or a claw clip? I got you.

Oh no. (And it was at that moment that Samantha knew that she had fucked up by picking up this book.)

Hey audience, you’ve only known me for a single paragraph, but did you know I’m EMO.

Oh no, I don’t think this book is for me.
It’s giving written by a man. He’s complaining that his SISTER doesn’t have tits? Oh no no.

Oh, this is so aggressively written by a man.

This is bad info dumping.

Is that a Hitler joke?

Oh girlypops. I would DNF this right now.

Well, I hope the book opens by killing these two because I’m already sick of being in this man’s head.

Just an insight into my hellscape of a brain- the main character’s been renamed Moo Moo, and this guy, Faraladar? More like Aladar from that dinosaur movie.

She’s a hot blonde and her name is essentially dewy wraith? Are you joking?

YALL WHEN I SAY THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A MAN

I committed mass murder because I was left unsupervised. What do you mean? What do you mean? That’s way too modern.

I do love that I guessed that they were going to get murdered.

Tell me it’s written by a man that the best comeback he can come up with using his extra big brain powers is ‘you ugly bitch’ for a hot blonde. Sir, please. Also, I’m very much on team hot blonde.

Oh my god, he’s a shadow daddy. Leave me alone. I can’t escape them.

This is the worst dialogue. Can he please die? I don’t want to spend a single second more with this dude.

What’s the single manly tear song from Supernatural? Because that.

Girlypop, mashed potatoes. (So help me if anyone tries to come for this review being like Samantha, you’re being insensitive for renaming all the main characters, I would like to direct you to any of my other reviews where I rename every single character in literature.)

Oh, and the casual transphobia. Oh no, book. Who published this? I want to have a word.

Pate

This book has to be trolling. Her first thoughts are of eggplants and milky nuts. Fish and ladyfingers. Guys.

WHO EDITED THIS. I JUST WANNA TALK

Girlypop is 13. You have to be an oracle for six years before you become a matron. So their candidates are seven. Wtf.

He said we can’t call women doctors, but we can call them sisters. Get me out of here. I hate it here.

The book is named after that loser? Oh my god, I don’t want to read this. (The irony in this review’s reactions is pure gold.)

Wow, what amazing nicknames. (Honestly, Samantha, like you’re one to talk.)

So much info dumping.

There’s so much modern slang. It completely takes me out of it.

He likes his third wife best because she’s a bitch and she’s not like other gorlies. I. Hate. It. Here.

What the fuck kind of quote is that? Throw the whole man out.

Oh, so he’s a Little Finger copy-paste.

Merlon

I don’t think there was a single woman in the editing room. So far, the only women in this book have chatted about sex. His sister-horny. The oracles-horny. The warrior women-horny. (His main editor was a woman, and I fundamentally don’t understand.)

The resht more like the rest with a lisp lol.

The man is 7 feet tall. Ok.

The author was really like I’m gonna craft this world full of ladies, but we’re gonna ride inside the heads of the most insufferable Everyman characters only.

Oh good, fat phobia too.

And rape jokes.

Jingoism

And bidet jokes.

That is a line from The Princess Diaries.

My review right now is that homeboy wanks it to George R. R. Martin, and just threw in any one-liner he liked from recent action movies.

So I wanted to DNF this book, and I went on its Goodreads reviews page to see if anyone else was like struggling through it like me, and there’s a bunch of girlypops, who are like holy shit the misogyny- I can’t. I’m out. And then someone posted on a girl’s review that she’s an idiot for rating it so low since she didn’t finish the book. She said that it’s actually so feminist and we’re just stuck in the heads of misogynistic characters right now. So like I’ll push on, but I’m just sitting here 15% through and there’s not been a shred of feminism.

The most aggressively written by a man book I’ve read all year. (I started this in 2023. Don’t come for me like it’s the only book you’ve read this year.)

What the fuck kind of line is that? That’s so gross.

I’ll give the book credit. I’m very interested in the political plot, although it does feel like an exact rip-off of Game of Thrones. But like there’s so much blatant misogyny that I can’t like it.

Avarice

Rapacity

Yanking my chain in this fantasy? That’s so fucking weird.

That is literally just a Roman Colosseum.

Oh well, the girlies were mean to the #NiceGuy, so they like totally deserved to get raped. I hate this book.

I do think this book introduces its characters in a digestible way, but I’m also actively taking notes on the book’s plot.

That’s 100% a lady, and she’s 100% gonna kill his brother. (Wrong x2!)

He said incel church. (cough redundant)

A pixie haircut really doesn’t fit.

The anachronisms have ruined this book.

Pilasters

Was literally just thinking oh, I like his wife! But don’t worry we’ll completely devolve her into just another bitch upset that her man wants another girlfriend. Oh, and of course her only goal is having babies. Wow, I hate it here.

Wow, he tried to Game of Thrones that line, and it’s just horrible.

Wow, thieves thieved. Such great writing.

I feel like the Greek boy is supposed to be Pedro Pascal‘s character from Game of Thrones.

Lintel

OK, but like tell me he’s not exactly the ice bear monster from Danny Phantom.

Mien

I feel like this book’s humor is the Martian’s humor.

Woad

Valkas are the Wildlings. Got it.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

God, the misogyny just never ends. I hate it here.

You know, I guess like good twist, but also, what is the super important military strategist doing fighting in tournaments where he could be killed?

SHE'S NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS

God, I hate it here. Men aren’t allowed to write women anymore. I’m finished with it. (Taylor Adams and Fredrik Backman can do whatever they want.)

Oh yes, ladies not supporting other ladies. If she’s pretty, she must be dumb.

Homeboy really thinks he’s doing something with this conversation. Homeboy thinks he’s writing a strong female character. Homeboy’s on my list.

Oh yeah just offer up your daughters to be raped. HAVE I MENTIONED I FUCKING HATE IT HERE. Women’s bodies are not objects for you to sell or trade or offer. God.

Ohhh interesting timeline! Like the plot of this is genuinely interesting. The writing and misogyny are inexcusable though.

Homeboy’s like you know what’s feminist? Giving the readers her body count.

Oh, and there’s the ye old birth control. I wish birth control worked like men think it does. I wish it was just a zero side effect catchall like that.

This is literally just the Iron Isles.

I don’t believe that sentiment about love at all.

Nothing says I’m helping my fiancé like fucking other dudes. But it’s like totally fine because he’ll have a bachelor party.

Stevedores

Sounds kinda gay to me, boys. Very Achilles and Patroclus.

I am using my entire brain to read this book, and I’ve never hated myself more.

So Mati is the black swan.

Oh, that description comes off incredibly racist.

I’m never reading this author again. (Liar.)

Credit where credit is due, this is very cinematic. It has Pirates of the Caribbean vibes. This book would make a better TV show.

… I like this love triangle. Throuple, please.

What the fuck kinda non-con line is that?

The book’s trying to explain the magic system to me and I’m just not absorbing any of it.

That’s just ‘Murica. And they’re an eagle.

Lady cunty? Guys.

Gaolers

Lac

Hey bestie, do you know what’s really not a good look? Talking about the holocaust of memory when you made a Hitler joke in chapter 1.

This man really said the greatest problem I can think of for some aliens is them not being horny. Go touch grass.

That smells like a romance to me. I like a throuple.

And more info dumping, oh my god.

Callow

Wow, that’s literally just Hercules.

I-Like he didn’t fuck his nephew, right? Like it’s just super weird to me that he’s naked in bed with his nephew.

Shakuni is an excellent villain.

This book is so frustrating because the plot is good. It’s so deliciously interwoven. I see why it’s compared to Game of Thrones.

I understand why we’re getting the perspective of this college boy, but I hate reading his chapters.

I had suspicions that college boy was a college girl based on how she was described, but I’ll give him that it’s a good plot twist. But like wow, settle in for some more misogyny.

Lol, he didn’t even hesitate. He said I’ll start right in with it again. Fuck, I hate it here.

Uh no, men and women do not talk the same.

This man doesn’t know how fast women’s hair grows. Should we tell him we don’t pee out of our vaginas either?

College Girl is just a riff on Arya.

So like now that we finally have all the players, my translation of the prophecy in the beginning and prediction for the rest of the book is that it’s gonna look like the peacock dude and his wolf wife have won the war against the empire, but then the rival burned princes are gonna kill him or sumin. (Wrong!)

Perforce

I care more about college girl now.

I can’t believe this much plot has happened and I’m only halfway.

That is such an unbelievably horrible line. How did that make it by an editor?

I don’t think literally anyone can learn that fast, but I’ll accept it because there’s literally nothing else to keep this book going.

Hey buddy, don’t talk about a six-year-old’s breasts. Gag. And she’s tied up. Dude, what the fuck.

You know, I just never have spider poop on my bingo board for a book.

I-
Hey, you know what you don’t have to include in your fantasy book? Gratuitous child rape.

It’s giving Marjorie Tyrell.
And the empire is giving the Baratheons and their damn red woman with the priest.

God, the misogyny.

Ball licker?

This is a brain workout to remember who all these names are, holy shit.

Kulfi

proletarian

This wedding feast is the one time that I will allow that the overdose of culture and food adds to the world-building.

Every time I compliment this book, it really does its damnedest to make me never want to pick it up again. Who was the publisher? Genuinely who edited this book because they have to also be a misogynist to allow this much to have gone through.

Munificence

This book is disgusting with how it describes women.

Rape, you can say rape. I know you can because you’ve been doing it all book.

Is- is he saying that she used a statue of Arjun as a dildo?

This author really just said sweaty titties, hot!

That's def Mati. (Yup.)

Samite

Poor unfortunate souls 🎶

Eremitic

Wow, what a lame line.

Laconically

Lehenga

Have I mentioned that I hate it here because I do. Anyone involved in the publication of this book should be fucking ashamed.

It’s sounding a little gay, boys. Why don’t you just kiss and make up? They’re like both shirtless for this too lol.

I know I said Marjorie Tyrell earlier, but not at all. She’s Sansa, and I swear to god if homegirl has to get graphically raped-

It’s so Achilles and Patroclus it’s not even funny.

This man really said I gave her pussy hair and made men bad at sex, so I’m a feminist. I hate it here.

I-I really have no words for this book’s abysmal consent.

It’s so written by a man. It’s so male fantasy. It’s so man thinks he’s feminist because he wrote a manic pixie dreamgirl and a cool girl and I hate it here so much.

Tell me the book is written by a man without telling me-a lady pulls on her pants over thigh-high boots.

There was such an opportunity for a line there, and he really fumbled it.

The gender queer girlypop loves rainbows. That’s a little on the nose.

Ascetics

mendicants

I feel like everyone’s soldiers have been called the best in the land. There can only be one best, okay?

You’re telling me some dude’s name is fail space knot?

I’ll give homeboy credit, he can really do aesthetics for locations.

What is diss doing in a fantasy novel?

Wait, I don’t understand. If she has to do everything he says, how was she able to disobey him and speak to the god not god people?

She made fun of and rejected the #NiceGuy so she deserves to be gang-raped. Gag.

No, women are not cursed to suffer. Men hurt women full stop. They don’t have to. Stop allowing it.

This book makes me so angry.

That’s obviously Shish. (Yup.)

Aegis

This author just has no idea about the actual impact of rape, and it’s so mishandled, and it’s making me so mad because there’s so much of it in this book.

He’s gonna give the princess to the Greek and it’s gonna be a graphic rape scene, isn’t it? (So thankful to be wrong.)

Braccae

Paludament

Vicissitudes

Resting bitch face doesn’t belong in a fantasy novel.

Mahouts

It’s so written by a man that it hurts. He thinks it’s funny. It’s not funny.

I don’t know if I complained about this book’s pacing earlier, but now that I know who everyone is, it’s paced very, very well for this back half.

Do you know how mad I am to have to be like this plot is so good? I’m so invested.

The problem is, is that I like Greek boy because he has charisma level 10 so the author is gonna have to make him do something unforgivable like rape a princess so that we’re like oh no, he’s the evil enemy because we’re supposed to like everyman Krishna, and I don’t like that man.

I don’t think he’s coming out of this alive. I think he’s going to Ned Stark out. And then all this is really just a prologue for the fucking space opera that’s gonna be book two. (Wrong.)

The book is so cinematic. Like he’s very good at crafting TV-suitable scenes.

The toxic in me is like wow, I would love a Greek himbo for lady war, and I don’t like saying this because I know this is written for dudes, so he’s about to make me really hate the Greek boy.

Oh and of course, her hair falls out when she dies because she has to look hot when she dies.

I think almost every female character in this book has been raped at this point.

Is he an alien too? Is that why he’s so pretty?

Also, I know he’s trying to be mysterious, but it feels very pointed that like none of the ladies are getting names.

Well goddamn. I really thought the other guy was the son of darkness. Holy shit, I’m so invested.

Post-reading:
I’ve never been so deeply conflicted about a book before.

I don’t like to recommend bad books. I don’t like to recommend books that go against my own morals. I don’t want to recommend things full of misogyny. The world has enough.

I don’t want to recommend this book for those reasons. But it has a pretty good plot. I was invested.

I don’t think it’s the most original plot. I think it very much reads like a riff on Game of Thrones, and I enjoyed Game of Thrones. Obviously, that series has its own problems, and we’re not going to be reductive and say violence against women is a staple of the genre since we dictate what goes into a genre.

This book needed such an edit to be good. I fundamentally don’t understand how a woman worked on this and put it out into the world the way that it is. The characters are diverse but read as archetypes. The writing itself is pretty info-dumpy and is full of world-breaking anachronisms.

It’s not a life-changing book. It’s not so good that its sins are forgivable. It is entertaining if you can slog through the beginning. I’m genuinely not sure if it’s a scope or a pacing problem. Because once you figure out who all the characters are and they start interacting, it flows very nicely. But the beginning is alienating and punishing to the reader.

I don’t think you’re missing anything if you don’t pick this book up. If you read the first few chapters and are like I can’t handle the misogyny in this, more power to you. It does not get better. But the plot is good enough that if you want to sit down for a punishing read, there is payoff.

But when I say, this book is chock-full of misogyny, I really mean that. I went through all the quotes I pulled from this book, and 44 of them were misogynistic. 44. And obviously I didn’t highlight every instance. That number only represents the times that the book was so out of pocket that I thought to highlight it. 44 times. Read at your own risk and criticize it appropriately.

Who should read this:
Game of Thrones fans

Do I want to reread this:
No? It’s so punishing to read that I don’t want to re-read it, but I do want to keep going.

Similar books:
* Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin-fucking duh
* The Jasad Heir by Sara Hashem-enemies to lovers fantasy romance with lots of politicking
* Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare-YA generic political fantasy
* This Dark Descent by Kalyn Josephson-YA fantasy romance, ensemble cast, politicking
* Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo-YA fantasy heist, ensemble cast
* Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas-YA fantasy romance, ensemble cast
* The Curse of Saints by Kate Dramis-generic YA fantasy romance
* Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson-generic YA fantasy romance
* Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu-wartime fantasy, ensemble cast, graphic novel

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Holy SHIT. That’s all I can really say at this point because my god this book was INCREDIBLE! When I heard that this was being compared to Game of Thrones (which I’ve honestly never watched, but know is gory and lusty as hell), I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but man was it amazing. 🤯

Taking elements of dark fantasy and smushing it together with characters that show up in the Mahabharata, it created such an incredible (and at times rather complex) story that left me both in awe and slightly confused, but in the best way possible. I would definitely recommend reading this as a physical book so that you can flip back and forth from the list of characters to the chapter because it took me a good 20% of the eARC till the characters started sticking and making sense. 😅

I loved how human all the characters are. They’re flawed, messy, complex and utterly egotistical in their own way. My favorite plot line would have to revolve around Karna and Satyabhama who were just incredible characters in my opinion. They both struggle with the way the world perceives them, but try their utmost to not let it get to them. Krishna was just downright despicable at times, but honestly, I really loved that Mohanty made him out to be fully human instead of a reincarnation of an all powerful deity like in Hindu belief. This made him much more understandable in his motives and goals than if he were still depicted as a god figure like in the original epic. 🔥

I honestly can’t put into words the feelings I have for this book other than just animalistic screeching because of the way the book weaves different story lines into one, and that damn ENDING!! I’m honestly desperate for the sequel and CAN’T WAIT to see what these flawed characters get up to next! 🐺

This should definitely be on everyone’s TBR, but only for those who are okay with dark themes and vivid depictions of gore. The complexity of court politics reminds of Chakraborty’s Daevabad Trilogy and the epic originality of the world building and plot line of Roanhorse’s Between Earth and Sky trilogy. ❤️

Before I ruin the plot for everyone with my eagerness to talk about this INCREDIBLE start to an epic tale, I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for accepting my request in exchange for an honest review. And to the author, Mohanty for creating such an EPIC tale that I’m honestly still reeling from. 🥹

Overall: 5!/5 ⭐️

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I try to start my reviews with a short blurb of the plot, but I still don’t really know what was happening in this book or why. All the characters, who are supposed to be important players in the political landscape of this world were constantly having the recent past info-dumped at them from lesser characters. This went on for about 40% of the book and then we had a moment when all the characters were in the same place and still they barely interacted with each other. I don’t understand why any of them have the alliances they do, why they dislike the people they do and why they betray the people they do. It feels like all the things the characters actually DO are just to shock you in some way.

What year is it? It seems to have classic fantasy levels of tech, but the characters use really out of place turns of phrase like: “learning through osmosis,” “weapon of mass destruction,” and “resting bitch face.” All of those pulled me out of the narrative, but the last one made me want to put down the book and end it there. I don’t know why we are suddenly shoving modern idioms into fantasy books, but it’s one of my pet peeves and I see it happening more and more.

I wanted to like this book so badly. I was really excited for an Indian Mythology gritty fantasy series. Unfortunately, the author’s writing skill is not yet strong enough to do justice to such an ambitious concept.

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I’m choosing to DNF this one because of other reviews. I didn’t realize there was going to be sexual violence, something I try to avoid in books when possible. The writing also wasn’t really clicking for me. Other people have liked this, so maybe it’s just not for me.

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Unfortunately this was a dnf for me. I knew going into this that it would be violent. What book isn't when it comes to war. The hard part for me was reading about the violence done towards a boy, in particular. Violence against children is definitely a no-go. I don't think I would be able to continue it if the violence is in any way like that.

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2.5 stars
I DNF'd this book about 20% in. Based on the descriptions of the book, it should be right up my alley: big, epic fantasy, set in an alternate India. Excellent! Unfortunately, I found it boring: I couldn't connect with any of the multitude of characters and there didn't seem to be much of a plot, certainly not one that intrigued me. The dialogues were all snide--and not in a good way. I'm used to conflicts between good and evil. Here, at least in the first 20%, we didn't have good or evil, just obnoxious.

I upped the rating from 2.5 to 3 stars because the author did a lot of world building. Also because I feel guilty for not finishing it--maybe the book would have eventually improved if I had continued, but life is too short (I've already spent 5 days on it). It just isn't my cup of tea.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-ARC of this book.

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My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I tried, I really tried to read this book till the end. I have been trying to finish this book for a month now, and I just can't. It's not bad; it just isn't for me. The writing is good, and the characters are interesting. Maybe if I try in the future, I will enjoy it more.

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Sons of Darkness is a dark re-imagining of the Mahabharata. I had mixed feelings about the book. I like the idea of retellings of Asian classics and many of the story elements that come alongside it. But I didn't like some of the author's descriptions, especially of women.

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Thank you to Bloomsbury and Head of Zeus for providing me a digital copy of Gourav Mohanty’s “Sons of Darkness.” I’ve been doing really well this year alone with reading fantasy books by South Asian authors this year and this is actually the first one written by a man. “Sons of Darkness” is retelling of the “Mahabharata” epic with a twist - think Game of Thrones. I’ve never read the “Mahabharata” so it was all new to me as I was immersed into the stories of this world.

Let’s start of talking about the characters - there are A LOT! Most of my notes were mostly me complaining how many characters there were and how hard it was to remember who was who - reading on a kindle does make it harder to track this. At some point I realized I should’ve made a murder board of sorts but only to keep track of all the characters. I won’t share too much on individual characters but the one that I will talk about is Karma and in this house…we support him!

This is a very hefty story (over 600 pages) and reading it on the kindle was a challenge. I struggled to get into the story but once I hit about 40%, or around the marriage contest, the story really started to pick up for me. While I haven’t read all the Game of Thrones books, I have seen the show and for readers who have some context, there are definitely some parts that will make you think of GoT. Mohanty even thanks George R. R. Martin at the end for the inspiration! I do think the pace of the story slowed down near the end and it go confusing with the introduction of random new characters during the battle - it didn’t add much to the story for me.

Once I finished, I found out that there’s a sequel!! I guess I will be reaching for it when it comes out because like I said, we’re Karna supporters here. Overall, this was a great fantasy epic to read and for those looking to diversify their reads, check out “Sons of Darkness” by Gourav Mohanty!

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"The House of the Dragon meets Succession in an epic reimagining of The Mahabharata.

Some Ballads are inked in blood.

Bled dry by violent confrontations with the Magadhan Empire, the Mathuran Republic simmers on the brink of oblivion. Senator Krishna and his third wife Satyabhama have put their plans in motion, both within and beyond the Republic's blood-soaked borders, to protect it from total annihilation.

But they are soon to discover that neither gold nor alliances last forever - and that they are not the only players on the board.

Mati, Pirate-Princess of Kalinga, has decided to mend her ways and become a good wife. But old habits die hard, especially when one habitually uses murder to settle old scores.

Brooding and beautiful Karna hopes to bury his brutal past, but finds that destiny is a miser when it comes to granting second chances.

Hero-turned-torturer Shakuni limps through a path of daggers. Meanwhile, his foes and woes multiply, leaving little time for vengeance.

Their lives are about to become yet more difficult, as a cast of sinister queens, naive kings, pious assassins and ravenous priests are converging where the Son of Darkness is prophesied to rise...even as forgotten Gods prepare to play their hand."

I want that cover on my wall as art.

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Great story and well developed characters! What an epic fantasy that pulls you in directly from the cover art.

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DNF. I think I would have liked the book if it was tones back a little. I was really overwhelmed and had trouble connecting tot he characters since there was a ton of flashbacks and such. I couldn’t bring myself to finish unfortunately. I think if the book was cut down a bit and separated I could have.

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An epic story inspired by Indian Culture this was one book that was hard to put down. I loved how it enveloped me while reading the story. I cared about the characters as soon as I started reading and the world building was so beautifully done that I reread pages just so I could really grasp what I was reading. The characters were amazing and I loved reading about their lives. I can not wait for more from this author.

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I want to thank the publisher Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

For those that are fans of George RR Martin, Steven Erikson and Joe Abercrombie, you will find a lot of enjoyment within these pages. And those who do not like complicated well imagined worlds- especially found in the works of Steven Erikson and Malazan- you will likely not enjoy this novel, become frustrated, and possibly never finish it. As a fan of the three authors mentioned above and especially my love-hate relationship with Malazan, this book was frustrating at times, which can be attributed to my lack of a good foundation in Indian culture and Hindu mythology, but by the end after I started to understand the world I had been thrown into, I truly enjoyed the many hours spent reading this novel and see a promising future for this author.

Sons of Darkness is a reimagining of The Mahābhārata, an ancient Sanskrit epic poem, into a world that has hints of GOT, Malazan, and First Law. For those with better knowledge of the author’s inspiration from this epic poem, they will find familiar characters like Karna and Krishna that have been reworked.

As with many large sweeping fantasy novels, the plot is complex, so it is difficult to explain the plot in a few sentences. The best way to explain it there has been a decade long war between the Magadhan empire and Mathura. Krishna, leader of Mathura, is under siege by the Magadhans. The Emperor Jarasandth’s daughter has died, so he has declared an armistice for one year while he is in morning. During this time, there is also going to be a swayamvar, a contest where the winner will win the hand of a much-coveted princess, a large dowry, and more military backing to possibly tip the scales in this long war.

It was great to see in these pages the number of strong fighting women that are introduced. Krishna, while the leader of Mathura, is overshadowed by his third wife, Satyabhama, who is heroic and leads her all-women personal squad known as the Silver Wolves “a military wing of social rejects”. The Silver Wolves are as brave and heroic as any of the male gladiators within these pages.

The action sequences are lengthy and masterfully written with many POVs switching back and forth, especially as one needs after investing several hours reading a book. The payoff is well worth it. For me, this is where the novel truly took off and I couldn’t stop reading it.

My only criticism is at times the author may have been too extreme in some of his descriptions. There are not many, but the sex scenes are very explicit and pornographic, to be honest. Some readers may be turned off by this. As I get older, my personal preference is I like the sex to be left to our imagination. Also, while I like a good bloody battle with plenty of severed heads a flying, some readers may find some of the depictions of violence, especially when it comes to torture within these pages difficult to get through. I give the author credit as I have a high tolerance for scenes of violence, but at times some of the scenes depicted in this book gave me a queasy, uncomfortable feeling.

Also, minor, but the use of the F-word, at times seemed like the author was trying too hard to be modern. But to me, it was out of place especially during actions scenes with some of the character’s battle cries as it took away some of my enjoyment with being cliche.

This book is certainly geared for those that like dark fantasy as mentioned. There is some dark humor for those that are fans of First Law that does lighten the tone at times. Some will become frustrated with not having a clear understanding of what is going on as we are introduced to more and more characters. And finally, others may be disgusted with some of the ghastly scenes within this book. But if you like this dark fantasy genre, as I do, and invest the time to understand this world, you will find a great adventure, with great set action scenes, strong women, and a desire to read more from this author after you have read the last page.

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I'm blown away by the incredible writing and unique world in this book. You love and hate so many of the characters and you'll never guess the plot twists. This book kept me on my toes the entire time

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