“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
― William Styron
By: Dyrk Ashton
Publisher: Paternus Books Media
Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy
This quote describes the Paternus Trilogy perfectly. It’s only fitting that my first book review is the Paternus Trilogy by Dyrk Ashton. They have fast become 3 of my very favorite books. As I mentioned, I will write spoiler free reviews. I want you to read these books and not just give you a synopsis of them. If you are a fan of fantasy of any kind, this trilogy is a must read. It is truly a magnificent series, and I don’t say that often.
The trilogy is 3 books: Paternus: Rise of Gods; Paternus: Wrath of Gods; Paternus: War of Gods
I will give a little background so you can understand the review. There are MANY characters in these books. However, there are 3 main central protagonists. First is Fiona “Fi”. She is 17, almost 18, at the start of the trilogy. We meet her after a date with Zeke, the second of the main characters. Fi is going through the date in her head wondering if things went wrong, pretty typical of a 17 year old. Quite refreshing to have an author write a young female character realistically. Zeke is just as unsure of himself with Fi, but it is clear there is a strong connection between them.
Fi lives with her somewhat eccentric Uncle Edgar. Her mother died when she was young and she never met her father. Oh, and there’s Mol, Edgar’s very large dog.
Fi works at a hospital where she helps care for elderly patients. Zeke works there as well, playing the guitar and singing for the patients every day. Fi has a special relationship with one patient, Peter. She seems to be the only person who can reach him through his dementia. Fi brings him figs and flowers everyday, which he loves.
The third main character is Peter. Peter who has dementia? Yes, that Peter. Now, here’s where I’m going to get really short on any details. Why, you ask (or may not)? What ensues after this point simply can’t be summarized (like I said-no spoilers).
We find out in the ensuing chapters that Peter is not an elderly man with dementia. He has been in this state from time to time. He is, in fact, the oldest being on Earth. All the gods/goddesses are his children, the Firstborn. The gods that span from Ancient Greece and Rome, to India, Nordic legends, Egypt, South America, Asia… just about all of them. It is clear that similarities in the mythology of different cultures over lap, and many of Peter’s children were worshiped differently in different cultures. There are a few Biblical characters as well. It turns out that Peter is Fi’s father, and now she has a whole new family. She is the last of the Firstborn. Many of his children are good, but some are bad, very bad. The books lead up to what should not be a spoiler-the War of Gods. It is basically Peter’s good children at war with his bad children (and not over who gets the keys to the car for the night). There have been 2 wars throughout the millennia, but this will be the third, and last.
The research, care and attention to details about all of the myths and legends is, quite frankly, astounding.
What did I love about these books? Literally everything.
All of the characters are so richly developed. Upon finding out that her father is Peter, Fi struggles to understand it all. How can he be father to a god that is a bull? Or a goat? Or an ibis? All the mythological “stories” were not stories… they were now her family. To a 17 year old, having a bull for a brother can be, well, unnerving. She doesn’t understand how the man she knows as Peter, can be her father and father to all the others with their different forms. Peter takes the form of a human, but is he? He is the oldest being as it is explained to her. He was very lonely for so long so his children were “born.” She is welcomed by all his Firstborn as their sister. They make it clear that she is and she is their family.
Zeke has powers as well and his story is his understanding and controlling the powers he has. He also has a unique lineage. He has stood by Fi the whole time. When asked by Peter if he loves Fi, he says he always has and probably even before they met. There is a deep connection between them that you will see in the books. It’s quite beautiful.
Peter is not the “I am the invincible, all powerful being” trope. He is very powerful, but that’s not how he is written. You see him as a father (or Pater as his children call him) who loves his children. A father who mourns the children who have turned evil over the years. He mourns those who have died. Peter is emotional, vulnerable, and you can’t help but love him. This is balanced so well with the fact that he is a very old, very powerful being. He cannot really answer how he came into the world. I loved the description of how Earth formed from it’s volatile beginnings to when Peter first became aware. I could easily see it all. I feel like I was there.
There are many gods and goddesses from across all different cultures. I simply can’t get into all of them. They are richly developed. It’s amazing how many there are and each one is unique and you feel like you know them. The evil children are so evil, you hate them. That’s not a bad thing. Good books are supposed to make you feel-and you want to join the fight against them. Peter’s good children are complex. They are clearly on the side against their evil siblings. However, there have been disputes and mistrust throughout their lives. Before the battle, there is much family healing that needs to be done. It makes for very interesting family dynamics. I will just mention the one god that I loved, The Prathamaja Nandana. You couldn’t tell sometimes where exactly her loyalty is. I knew she was on the side of good, but she is smart, cunning and powerful. She is the first of Peter’s Firstborn and it’s clear that there has been mistrust between her and many of her siblings. She was such a great character.
The Emotional Impact
When a book can keep you in suspense, draw you in like you are there, make you feel happy and sad, well, to me, that is amazing writing.
One of my favorite scences in the book is when Peter takes Fi to Yggdrasil, The World Tree. They sit and he tells her of her mother and how much he loved her, probably more than anyone. Then she says:
“…I do have one thing now I never thought I’d have in my whole life. A family. A big family. And… I finally got to meet my Dad. “
Peter had never been called “Dad” before and he starts to tear up. Through all the preparations for the coming war, the chaos leading up to the war, there are these incredibly moving moments. They welcome Fi with opening arms. They immediately call her sister and she is part of the family. No questions asked. Zeke is just as welcome as Fi is.
The Action Scenes
There is so much breathtaking action woven into the books. There was not one moment where I felt like it’s been 100 pages, when is something going to happen? From the start, I was drawn right in.
There is quite a big action scene not too far into the first book. I could feel myself trying to encourage to characters to run faster! Don’t look back! These books just take you right in like you are part of the action. The first 2 books are leading up to the big war. Before that, the evil Firstborn start attacking their siblings. It is both engrossing, and at times, heart wrenching.
What can I say about the final battle scene? It was epic. There were gods and goddesses using their powers, others fighting with more conventional weapons. Wave after wave of fighting-on the battlefield, in the water and in the air. Yes, humans were involved, but you’ll have to read to find out why. There are losses and mourning for the fallen siblings. What I liked was the fact that the gods were not all powerful. The continued use of their powers during the final battle was draining them and they could not keep it up all the time. You feel the exhaustion as they continue to battle.
So it’s obvious I loved this trilogy. I love fantasy novels and this was such an amazing trilogy. I came across it on Amazon Kindle and I think I read it in 4 days. I know I have to re-read it because there are so many details, I want to catch anything I may have missed. This is the exception to the 5 star rating (5 being the best). I would give this a 10. Yes, this trilogy is THAT GOOD.
Through all the gods, goddesses, fighting, losses and love, there is a theme I found woven magically into the background. The importance of family. Yes, they were a bit dysfunctional, but they were still family, that in the end, always loved each other.
I just want to be invited to the next family gathering.
My thanks to Dyrk Ashton for writing this incredible trilogy and allowing me to use the book images for this review.
Please check out his website and I highly encourage you to have these books in your collection. You will never regret it.
You can purchase Paternus: Rise of Gods on Amazon
You can purchase Paternus: Wrath of Gods on Amazon
You can purchase Paternus: War of Gods on Amazon