Review: Aching God (Iconoclasts #1) by Mike Shel

MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5

Format: Kindle Whispersync



The days of adventure are passed for Auric Manteo. Retired to the countryside and isolated with his scars and riches, he no longer delves into forbidden ruins seeking dark wisdom and treasure. But just as old nightmares begin plaguing his sleep, he receives an urgent summons back to that old life.

To save his only daughter, he must return to the place of his greatest trauma: the haunted Barrowlands. Along with a group of inexperienced companions and an old soldier, he must confront the dangers of the ancient and wicked Djao civilization. He has survived fell beasts, insidious traps, and deadly hazards before. But how can he contend with the malice of a bloodthirsty living god?


Auric Manteo, a retired Knight of the Syraeic League takes a new team consisting of an old soldier, an alchemist, a sorcerer, a swordman and a priest to help him save his daughter and others from a plague brought on by a relic of the Barrowlands, a place filled with disturbing creatures and an evil god, in this single POV dark fantasy novel.

I like the unique take as we get to see the dark side of being a life long adventurer/Knight. Auric suffers from PTS nightmares from his last disastrous mission through The Barrowlands. I really like this because it’s not something that’s really ever covered in novels, but gives you a lot more detail into the darkness of the Barrowlands as well as the effects it can have on a person.

“I’ve learned from long experience, having spent many hours with highborn and hayseeds, that the measure of a man or woman is contained within their character and conduct, not in outward trappings.”

Mike (great name) did a great job with his world building, each place they visited was well drawn out and helped you build an image of exactly where they were. Auric is a great main character, and I loved the other characters as well, but I did feel like the others could’ve used a bit more. I would’ve liked a bit more comedic relief/banter with the group on their journey to the Barrowlands. Not that there wasn’t any, but I did feel like Gnaeus could’ve added a bit more of that young banter to the group to add a bit of annoyance to the grizzled veterans of Auric and Belech.

This was a fantastic start to the Iconoclasts series, and I’m definitely intrigued to know what is going to happen next in Sin Eater with Auric and what he has learned from his recent expedition.

Speaking of PTS. If you or if you know anyone that suffers from this please checkout my friends website here or check out the Facebook page here: Casualties of War National. Please reach out to my friend Zack Brown (not the band), who is the co-founder.

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