The Gutter Prayer

The Gutter Prayer

Book - 2019
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Grand Central Pub
A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

The city has always been. The city must finally end.

When three thieves - an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man - are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born.

Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.

Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city's underworld.

Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon.

Publisher: New York, New York :, Orbit,, 2019
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780316525312
Branch Call Number: FANTASY RYD
Characteristics: 551 pages ;,21 cm


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alburke47 Mar 29, 2019

So, it looks like there’s a new sheriff in town. There was a lot of talk about The Gutter Prayer pre-release - best debut of 2019 and so forth. “Hang on,” you say. “Best debut of 2019? In January? Isn’t that a bit, well, premature?” Still, I was sold. I’m not necessarily a “believe the hype” type, but I grabbed a copy and leapfrogged it over my ever-increasing TBR. Here’s my take on it - this could be one of the debuts of 2019. Yep, it’s that good. I’ll read almost anything, but grim and grumpy definitely whets my whistle, and The Gutter Prayer is my cup of tea, almost a perfect match.
Guerdon is a somewhat neutral city in a land ravaged by war between the gods. But this war is getting closer, and times are a-changing. The world is about to come crashing down on the ageless city, and it’s up to a bunch of disparate miscreants to try and save the day.
Carillon (Cari) Thay, the last direct descendant of an infamous family has never felt like she belonged and has been constantly running since she was a teen. Now she’s back, and living with Spar, the son of a legendary mob boss. Spar has contracted a terminal disease that is slowly calcifying his body, and his dreams of following in his father’s footsteps have been shattered. Rat, a ghoul (yes, those flesh-eating types), yearns to live among the humans, fearing the future his race has set for him. When these three go on a heist that goes horribly wrong, they find themselves in something that is way bigger than the mob, and even Guerdon.
These aren’t the only three characters. Also worth noting is Jere, a mercenary turned bounty hunter who tries to add a little order to his life after the chaos of the Godswar. He’s tasked with catching our trio. Eladora is Cari’s cousin and childhood “friend.” Initially prim and proper courtesy of being brought up by an overly-religious mother, it turns out she’s a badass intellectual who solves a mystery that has escaped Guerdon academia for centuries. Then there’s my favourite, Aleena. A saint of the Kept Gods, Aleena is an absolute force of nature in the book, chewing up the scenery (in acting parlance) and getting most of the best lines. I can picture the author laughing his ass off as he writes her script.
This book was a blast. It was very much character driven, and despite their flaws, we root for our protagonists throughout. The city is almost a character in itself, a gothic monstrosity that’s always hovering in the background. Speaking of monstrosities, the Ghouls aren’t the only creepy things on show. Like the Ghouls, the Ravellers and Crawling Ones are straight out of Lovecraft, while the Tallowmen, essentially waxwork policemen, are easily the weirdest things in a very weird book. The author’s twisted imagination is constantly on display, and this (twisted) reader couldn’t help but delight in his work.
Get this book now. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (when you finish reading it), and you’ll (maybe) prematurely acknowledge it as probably the finest debut of 2019. Case in point - It’s barely into February and I may have already ready my two favourite books of the year (Grim Solace).

5/5 stars.

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