Back in 2016 and 2018 respectively, I reviewed the first two books in Dyrk Ashton’s Paternus trilogy. Now, I’m back with a review for book number three: Paternus: War of Gods. This review contains spoilers for books one and two, but not number three.
So with that out of the way, on with the review! I said last time round that book two (Wrath of Gods) was definitely a second novel in a trilogy. What I meant by that was that it set things up for the climax; ultimately, it would stand or fall depending on book three’s delivery of what it promised. Wrath of Gods left us with a number of burning questions: Why’s Zeke dangerous to everyone all of a sudden? Are all the worlds really going to end? What’s going on with Tanuki and Baphomet doing a runner to hunt down Kleron?
I’m happy to report that book three delivers on the promises of its predecessor, and then some. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece.
War of Gods answers all of the above questions and more. And it does it across various locations (and worlds!). Ashton takes the reader on quite the tour, to places both real and mythical. I loved his descriptions of the settings, and of the many, many people, creatures, monsters and mythical beings encountered.
But setting and characters aren’t everything. They need to have a point, and this is especially true at the climax. An essential question that the third part of a trilogy has to answer is this: was the journey worth it?
I’ve seen fantastic books, films and games fall apart at the very end of number three (I’m looking at you, Mass Effect). Thankfully, War of Gods doesn’t suffer from this. I found the conclusion satisfying. The characters changed and grew throughout the book, and had been shaped by their experiences at the end. The ones who survived, anyway.
It also helps that their journeys to get there were brilliantly written. In Rise of Gods, we were introduced to Dyrk’s mastery of set-pieces; a third of the first book was dedicated to a giant fight scene. It should be no surprise that War of Gods gives a lot of its pages to an even bigger fight. The clue’s in the title, for a start. Peter, Fi, Zeke and their allies are in a struggle against Khagan. He’s the literal devil. And both sides are throwing everything they’ve got at their enemies.
Without giving too much away, brace yourself for an epic battle that makes Avengers: Endgame feel like a school chess match.
Some of the enemies have been nursing grudges for millions of years. Betrayals are answered; scores are settled. The Deva and the Asura have filled their (often gargantuan) sleeves with aces. After doing this for thousands of years, they play every card they have. The result is a spectacular struggle for the ultimate prize: the whole world. Surprises abound; there are more twists and turns than even a snake-god could manage, none of which I’ll spoil here.
However, the final struggle for victory is not the only set-piece that War of Gods has in store for its readers. There are several ‘smaller’ events along the way. I put ‘smaller’ in inverted commas because in a lot of books, these scenes are epic enough to be book climaxes on their own. They’d definitely make fantastic season finales if Paternus ever made its way to the screen.
In conclusion, Paternus: War of Gods is a triumph, and a victorious bellow to end an amazing trilogy.