Coldfall Wood by Steven Savile St. Martin's Press Sci Fi & Fantasy Pub Date 21 Aug 2018
Coldfall Wood is an unusual fantasy novel. It is uncomfortable to read at times because it is at once too real and too unreal. This paradox makes the impossible troublingly possible. It begins with a brutal honor killing, one that sets racial tension alight, encouraging more and greater violence. In this case, however, something greater is at hand, the awakening of an old god of the land, and the blood spilled sets a chain reaction of sacrifice and rebirth. This isn’t a novel of good and evil. Instead it is a matter of survival. There is little magic left in the world of men, and a greater enemy of man and fae alike is soon to come.
Coldfall Wood is a brutal novel, the depictions of the horned god and his retinue are true to the darker legends. Julie, Alex and the others are struggling against things they can’t understand and have little hope of prevailing against. This isn’t a novel of fast paced action. Even if the heroes are victorious, immense damage has been done. Coldfall Wood is a mesmerizing story, powerful enough to keep the reader thinking about it afterward. It is a reminder of forgotten tales of the Wild Hunt, the stories and legends passed generation to generation.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Coldfall Wood from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Steven Savile returns with Coldfall Wood, a gritty new fantasy about a reluctant hero combatting a forgotten god. Every legend promises the same thing: at the time of the land’s greatest need the heroes shall return. What they don’t mention is that we are the greatest threat our green and pleasant land has ever known, or that our obsession with concrete and steel, with technology and advancement, is slowly killing the land. In the legends saving the land never involves the slaughter of its inhabitants. Legends lie. In the last primeval woodland of London an ancient force stirs, issuing the call. His voice echoes in the minds of the disaffected and disenfranchised, the doomed youth of the city: Rise up! In a single night, six girls who have never met and bear no relation to each other are struck down by a mysterious sickness that leaves them in persistent vegetative state. Across the city an old woman who hasn’t opened her eyes in years finally wakes. Her first words are: The Horned God is Awake. Soon the puzzling truth emerges. Each Sleeper’s final words were the same dire warning. One for one. The message was seared into the floor, along with all of the craziness a hundred year old obsession had amassed. With the children disappearing across the city, two men are about to learn the terrible truth behind those three words. They are all that stand between our world and the cleansing fire of the once and future king. The question our heroes must answer: how do you kill a god the world has forgotten about