Two things immediately become apparent when you have read Leviathan's Blood.
And two... Leviathan's Blood is arguably one of the best modern fantasies to come out in years.
I must admit I some mixed feelings about reading Leviathan's Blood. Sequels usually struggle to reach the heights set by their predecessor, and I was worried that this book would follow in that common tradition. Peek's first book (The Godless) had been one of my favourites when it was released, and it still sits proudly on a shelf in my bedroom. So when Leviathan's Blood was announced I was excited, yet concerned. Would it continue to build upon that rich and expansive world that Peek had created in The Godless? Would it further take the genre of epic fantasy in new and exciting directions? And would it further cement Peek as someone whose work is a must buy for me? These questions all played across my mind as I opened the cover and started reading a couple of weeks ago.
Well, after finishing it I'm happy to say that my worries were unfounded. Peek has not only exceeded my expectations with this book, he has smashed them out of the park.
Leviathan's Blood is one of those books that has layer upon layer for you to appreciate. From it's vividly beautiful world building and dynamic societal examination through to it's diverse and wonderfully cast melting pot of characters, Leviathan's Blood is the book that just keeps on giving to its reader. There is literally something here for everyone. Love magic? Peek has you covered. Adore intricately woven plots and political clashes? Peek's got your back. What about scintillating action and wide ranging conflict? It has it in spades. How's about characters with agency that make you want to laugh, cry, and scream at the sky? Yeah, you get the drift.
I literally could not find any major faults with this book. I could be extremely picky and note that in some places the pacing felt a little off (I can attribute this to the non-linear styling of Peek at times), but that would be me picking at hairs. Overall I consumed Leviathan's Blood with gusto, and fell in love with characters like Ayae and Zaifyr all over again. I was genuinely disappointed when I turned to that final page. Up until that point I had become so enthralled with the story that hadn't noticed it was drawing to a close. That's the sign of a good and well told tale!
And now, as I write this review a couple of weeks after I finished it, I still find myself pondering the wonderful ways that Peek is reinterpreting the genre of epic fantasy. Peek can hold his head high amongst that group of fantasy writers (others include Staveley, Sanderson, Abraham, and Hurley) who are redefining the borders of epic fantasy and taking it to new places filled with excitement and uniqueness. What will the future hold with Peek on the scene and continuing to write brilliantly conceived fantasy? I have no idea. But damn, I'm excited to find out!
Leviathan's Blood is one of the most unique and enthralling epic fantasies that I have read in recent years. Peek's vision and execution are wonderful, and his deft and creative touch with this series a joy to behold. If Peek continues to write to this standard he will go down in history as a master of the genre.
4.5 stars out of 5.