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Book Review: The Heresy Within

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“For generations the Inquisition has stood between humanity and the forces of darkness. It has failed.

Thanquil Darkheart is a witch hunter for the Inquisition, on a holy crusade to rid the world of heresy. He’s also something else… expendable. When the God Emperor gives Thanquil an impossible task, he knows he has no choice but to venture deep into the Wilds to hunt down a fallen Inquisitor.

Even the best swordswoman is one bad day away from a corpse. It’s a lesson Blademaster Jezzet Vel’urn isn’t keen to learn. Chased into the Wilds by a vengeful warlord, Jezzet makes it to the free city of Chade. But instead of sanctuary all she finds are more enemies from her past.

The Black Thorn is a cheat, a thief, a murderer and worse. He’s best known for the killing of several Inquisitors and every town in the Wilds has a WANTED poster with his name on it. Thorn knows it’s often best to lie low and let the dust settle, but some jobs pay too well to pass up.

As their fates converge, Jezzet, Thanquil, and the Black Thorn will need to forge an uneasy alliance in order to face the truth the Inquisition has been hiding from them all.”

Title: The Heresy Within

Series: The Ties That Bind #1

Author: Rob J Hayes

Page Count: 426

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: October 25th, 2023

As I continue my year of reading works by Rob J. Hayes, the next up was The Heresy Within. I didn’t know much going into this read other than what I know from the author’s other books I’ve read. I hadn’t heard much about this series at all so I decided to give the audiobook narrated by Jaret Ross a try.
I admit that this one took me a bit to connect with. So much so, that I was about 25% in and wasn’t feeling it and seemed kind of lost so I started over. I’m glad that I did because I seemed more focus the second time around. This was also my first narration by Jaret Ross as well and sometimes it takes me a bit to settle in with a new narrator. In either case, things seemed to flow much better with me on the second attempt.
I also found out at about the half way mark that this was actually RJH’s debut novel. With that knowledge perhaps this story didn’t start off in the style I’m used to from this author as well. By the midpoint though, things certainly seemed closer to the storytelling I’m used to.
The pacing was ultimately fine. As previously mentioned it took me a bit to really get settled in with this one which was honestly my fault for not realizing this was RJH’s debut novel. Knowing that going it, I might have had a different expectation. But in the end it all worked out. As usual with this author I didn’t really have any issues with names of places or characters to trip me up and the story flowed well.
The worldbuilding was solid. This is certainly a darker more brutal world than some of my more recent reads but it was still unique and interesting as it drew me in and unfolded with details.
The felt the character development and the story being told was the strongest aspect of The Heresy Within. There are a lot of characters introduced and to keep up with as book one progresses. But as the characters come and go and paths cross it was interesting to see these characters interact with each other and the world around them. Sometimes we find allies where we least expect it but we still find them when they are needed the most!
As far as recommendations go, I think reading RJH’s works in publication order would make much more sense. But at the same time the struggle I had at the beginning of his debut here could also push some readers away. So if you’re like myself and you’ve read his more recent works and want to dip into this one, just have a bit of patience as things get going. You’ll get there to the style you’re used to before long.

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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