SPFBO Status: Finalist
Overview (No Spoilers):
The Thirteenth Hour features a unique and intricate literary universe where twelve gods and their distinct worlds all intersect in the godless realm of Chime. While each god has their own management style and set of rules, the majority of them are cruel, demanding unattainable tithes from their subjects and doling out terrible punishments for the slightest infraction. On top of that, it’s impossible to hide from or resist your god’s whims as mortals are directly linked to the god that made them (all the better to answer your prayers, right?). As part of this connection and as a gift from their gods, inhabitants from each world exhibit their own clearly identifiable features and magical abilities. For example, Vespers can manipulate shadows, Diviners can alter time, and Embers wield fire. Given the twelve distinct magical and physical attributes in play, Skies develops a fascinatingly detailed world, with endless possibilities that can’t help but capture readers’ imaginations. With Chime acting as a middle ground for all twelve worlds, each domain is only accessible for an hour, twice a day, before a large clock tower turns to the next one. It is in Chime that all races intermingle, though major prejudices shape every exchange…
The Thirteenth Hour follows Kayl and Quen, two individuals who couldn’t be any more different. Kayl is a Vesper who has stayed under the radar of her god, while also being a prominent, albeit accident-prone, member of the rebellious Godless. Conversely, Quen is a Diviner who is utterly loyal to his kind and a detective tasked with rooting out the Godless. Quen also has a terrible gift that allows him to foresee anyone’s death at a single touch, haunting his every interaction. When their paths cross and they set out to solve a mystery, they find new dangers and secrets around every corner, further complicating their already tenuous arrangement.
I found The Thirteenth Hour to be a bit of a quandary. I loved the literary world and Skies packed in a plethora of details to establish this complex and nuanced magical system, but I would be content putting the book down after every chapter. I’m not sure if it was the pacing or the characters but I never really felt the urge to keep reading or pick this title back up right away. This feeling left me truly baffled as The Thirteenth Hour contains so many of my favorite ingredients in literature, but it never translated into a story I couldn’t put down. While the characters, especially the ones under different gods, had their own unique properties, I never found myself fully invested in their outcomes, despite them finding themselves in many precarious situations.
Overall, The Thirteenth Hour has a delightfully complex and detailed magical and literary world, but the pacing will keep the reader from becoming fully immersed in the story.
Check out Lynn’s Books’ review of The Thirteenth Hour here.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- How was Kayl able to hide her irregularities for so long? Why hadn’t she transformed before?
- If Kayl was so madly in love with Malk, why isn’t she more outraged about Quen’s kiss?
- Reve totally manipulated that situation…
- The Diviners seeing memories felt like a forced exchange that seemed off key each time.
- In the end, everyone seems to be a double agent. With Varen and Walter playing both sides, how can Quen trust any of his memories, past, or intuition at this point? How were there not more red flags with Varen before? And then Quen actually killed Malk’s mom? There was so much overlap!
- So Kayl is actually a part of the thirteenth God and can use aether as her power? What chaos… Can there be a balance?
- Can the Vesper souls be saved with their god dead, or I guess a part of Kayl?
- Why was Dru part of the Godless?
- I’m curious to see the other worlds and get to know more about those specific people. Why were there no Leanders or Fauna in the Godless?