Title: Hall of Smoke
Author: H.M. Long
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: January 19, 2021
An epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses and fickle gods at war
Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.
While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller, atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path, Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.
Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.
Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.
Hessa is an Eangi, a warrior princess of Eang the Goddess of War. Hessa was instructed by Eang to kill a traveller to her town. When he arrives and Hessa doesn’t kill him, she is banished from the town. But while she’s gone, her home is invaded and her family and friends are killed. Hessa must try to regain her goddess’s trust while also avenging her people.
This was an incredibly detailed fantasy world. I was drawn into the world right away, and I was rooting for Hessa. The story started out with just a couple of characters being introduced in the story so that the reader can get comfortable in this story.
There were a lot of characters to keep track of by the end of the story, and their names were similar so I found it confusing. There were multiple layers of gods as well as the characters in their world. Hessa went through many different groups on her journey, so she met recurring characters along the way. If these characters had names that weren’t so similar, it would have been easier to keep them straight.
This was a great fantasy debut.
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
Have you read Hall of Smoke? What did you think of it?