DNF Review: Malice by John Gwynne

The world is broken…malice

Corban wants nothing more than to be a warrior under King Brenin’s rule – to protect and serve. But that day will come all too soon. And the price he pays will be in blood.

Evnis has sacrificed – too much it seems. But what he wants – the power to rule — will soon be in his grasp. And nothing will stop him once he has started on his path. 

Veradis is the newest member of the warband for the High Prince, Nathair. He is one of the most skilled swordsman to come out of his homeland, yet he is always under the shadow of his older brother.

has ideas – and a lot of plans. Many of them don’t involve his father, the High King Aquilus. Nor does he agree with his father’s idea to summon his fellow kings to council. 

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, but now giants are seen, the stones weep blood and giant wyrms are stirring. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. For if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust…

…and it can never be made whole again.

I abandoned this audio book after about 3 hours. It just felt so irrelevant. I couldn’t find a common theme and nothing was really moving forward. Too slow and TOO many characters. I lost track of half of them immediately, because they weren’t interesting enough. I remember Corban and his sister, but that’s it. If you can’t make me invested in your characters, I have no reason to stick with a story. I couldn’t tell you anything about them right now, apart from Corban, who is pretty angsty and doesn’t like fighting and his sister, who is the rebellious one.

All in all, the characters acted a little too ‘young’ for me as well. This felt more like YA and I am not looking for any of that in my books at the moment.

There’s 20 more hours and I don’t want to deal with them, if nothing sticks. This book needed to be less introduction and more action, and maybe don’t introduce so many characters at once. Or at least let them do some interesting stuff apart from riding around.

Not for me.

I also didn’t like the narrator and his accent. And how he read certain characters, especially that one friend of Corban.



  1. Excellent, a negative review of this book. I’ve got it on tap and have seen nothing but glowing reviews, so this helps temper my thoughts a bit.
    That “young” bit has me concerned.

    Of course, it won’t be until later NEXT YEAR that I get to them, so I’ll probably have forgotten this by then and get badly surprised and hate on the author. Things to look forward to I guess 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, very cool! I am looking forward to your thoughts on it.

      I should have listened to a good friend of mine. Our taste in books is exactly the same (that’s how we bonded!) and she said she didn’t finish it, because it was too boring and she was sure I wouldn’t like it either. She was right.

      I don’t mind young characters in general or even teenagers, but Corban was constantly whinging about not being brave enough and then he was upset because his sister defended him and then he was being broody and angsty and so on. Get a grip, boy

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my! I have this one lined up in my reading queue and chose it after greatly enjoying “A time of dread”, so a negative review cannot fail to worry me, since I read nothing but glowing comments about the author and his works. Could it be that the problems you experienced about not being able to relate to the huge cast of characters came from the chosen medium? Maybe this kind of layered background requires a physical book rather than audio. Just a thought… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It probably plays a role as well! If I’d liked the narrator more, I might have given it another chance. If I was reading it I could have gone back to check on names, places etc.

      But it won’t change the fact that I found it boring and the characters bland 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m getting ready to start this within the next week or so. I don’t know how far I’ll get either. For the record I already know I hate the narrator – I tried a Robin Hobb book using him a few years ago and I couldn’t get through it. He made everything sound like a question? It was annoying? Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am usually really hesitant to pick up an audio book that’s longer than 10 hours. I find that I have to pay close attention to the reviews about the narrator and (if possible) listen to a sample or two of their work before I’ll commit to a long audio book. There’s just so many ways a bad book-narrator match can make an audio book go wrong. (And then you can’t tell if it’s a bad book or a bad narrator, or both.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh, that’s miserable. Audio books done well can be wonderful. I just finished listening to Neil Gaiman narrate one of his own books (The Ocean at the End of the World) and that was a nice refreshing change. I love listening to him narrate his own books.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ok THANK YOU for this post! I genuinely thought I was going mad when it came to this book- I DNF’d it too (at around 40%) I couldn’t follow the thread and didn’t care for the characters. But when I told some people I couldn’t finish this one, they thought I was nuts. So now I guess I can rest easy with my DNF 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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