Back in 2016, I reviewed Paternus, the debut novel of author Dyrk Ashton. Here, I review the sequel, Paternus, Wrath of Gods. This post contains spoilers to the first book! So you don’t look down an inch and have your world wrecked by said spoilers, here’s a picture of a kitten that suffered that fate instead.
With that out of the way, on with the review! Wrath of Gods is the second in the Paternus trilogy, and picks up straight after the end of the first book. Peter and a few mythical friends are in the process of legging it from Kleron and his minions, with Fi gravely wounded and Zeke overwhelmed by all the harrowing stuff thrown at him. Kabir and Cù Sìth are following behind, with Kabir wondering if he can trust someone who very recently was a vicious stalwart of the Asura.
In my review of the first book, I commented that Fi and Zeke played second fiddle to the secondary characters, most of whom were immensely powerful mythological beings. In Wrath of Gods, I was pleased that this was no longer the case. Fi has learned she is Firstborn, and Zeke has discovered that he can slip between parallel worlds, an uncommon skill even among Firstborn. A lot of the book concerns how they come to terms with their powers and heritage, and why they can do what they do. I won’t spoil anything, but both Fi and Zeke have become essential characters to the story and overall events by the end of the book.
The rest of the characters are portrayed with Ashton’s usual mastery of vivid description and believability. This is a strange thing to write when the characters include an enormous-handed dinosaur, a millennia old rooster, and practically everything else you can imagine. A lot of the characters from the first book have managed to survive (Peter, Tanuki, Maskim Zul to name a few), but there are plenty of new arrivals. Seeing as he’s on the cover, I won’t spoil too much by saying there’s a giant snake with arms and swords.
The pace of the book hits the ground running, and rarely stops for breath. There’s a huge amount of action, with mythology and explanation of the book’s lore interspersed. For the most part, this works really well. It would be easy for the pages to get crowded with so much going on, but Ashton manages to pull it off. I’ve not seen such an action heavy story told so well since I saw Mad Max: Fury Road.
In amongst all the fighting and narrow escapes from death, there’s more explanation of what’s happening in the world, and how some of the supernatural powers work. Some of this is interesting, but other parts are downright genius. Ashton’s take on memory and its relation to psychic power was hands down my favourite thing in the entire novel.
Having said all of that, this is definitely a second novel in a trilogy, and one that I’ll ultimately judge once I’ve read the third. It answers a fair number of the questions posed in the first book, but it throws up a huge number of its own, and leaves them hanging. If you’ve seen Avengers, Infinity War, you’ll get a rough idea of how much is left to be explained in the finale. Without spoiling things, I was left feeling that there’s a big picture to be revealed, and a few of the characters hint that they can already see it. I would have liked them to share a bit more with me, rather than merely exchanging knowing glances with other characters who are clued in.
Regardless, this was a really strong second novel, which has set the stage for a harrowing final part. I’ll be grabbing the third book as soon as Dyrk has written it.
Kitten Image courtesy of pixabay.