Four unlikely companions must band together to escape the Realm of Bones and save their kingdom from a reign of darkness.
Prince Moray will lead his empire to glory, even if it means dabbling with forbidden black magic. But when their parents are murdered, Moray and his brother, Finnigan, are cast into Golgotha—a realm where hope is dead. Finnigan fiercely believes his god, Elohai, will rescue them, but Moray will never trust again.
Princess Ama, promised in marriage to Moray to ensure her clan’s safety from rival tribes, arrives just before a coup and becomes trapped in Golgotha with the smart-mouthed mercenary, Gunnar.
Surrounded by strange monsters and ravenous demons, Ama must fight to hold on to her faith—or lose everything.
Despite Ama’s Gift of prophetic dreams, Finnigan’s Gift of energy, Moray’s dark magic, and Gunnar’s blades, nothing can rescue them from themselves. If they fail to escape, darkness will devour the entire kingdom.
I’m not new to Angela Watts’s works. She is an incredible writer that doesn’t shy away from the ugliness that everyday people face in our everyday lives and brings hope to her readers through her stories. Though I have read her work before, Golgotha is the first of her fantasy that I’ve read, and I do have to say that I believe it’s my favorite. So far.
I binged Golgotha so hard. I listen to audiobooks while I work to help myself focus and this one was so good that I couldn’t focus. A new monster would appear and I’d be in a trance, holding my breath. I loved the character dynamics between Finnigan, Ama, Moray, and Gunner. Moray, my broken cinnamon roll, was my favorite from the very beginning. I loved Finnigan, too, though I wasn’t in love with his voice on the audio so I did realize that I often got annoyed when he spoke, but he as a character was very princely and I loved him almost as much as I loved Moray. Almost. A well-done brother dynamic is one of my favorite tropes, and Moray and Finnigan were a darn good pair.
Ama was a pleasant heroine. I rarely like female heroines portrayed in fantasy–especially the “princess betrothed to a king for the purpose of an alliance” heroine–just because they are often completely daft or so unrealistically “strong” that I can’t relate to them. However, Princess Ama was a realistic female. She wasn’t my favorite character, but I appreciated how she acted and reacted in her situations. Gunner just made me laugh. The uptight mercenary really completed the traveling party.
There are a lot of things about this book that I loved aside from the characters themselves. The allegorical parallel to spiritual warfare. The clear distinction between Elohai’s gifts (light) and dark magic (darkness). The struggles that the characters faced. The faith that was demonstrated. The prayer. Just, really, everything about this book. I wish there was a way to easily highlight audiobook quotes because there were so many good ones.
Overall, I loved this book and I can’t wait to start the next one!
Content warnings: language is mild, but it is there (primarily using British curse words). Gore is decently high–lots of monsters. Dark magic is present to illustrate the darkness and is handled tastefully. There is one almost-rape scene, but it is cut off. Other sexual content is limited to very brief conversation topics only. Would recommend keeping the reading age to 14+.