The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

Title: The Gutter Prayer

Author: Gareth Hanrahan

Publisher: Orbit, Jan 2019

Length: 544 pages.

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 – Essential and instant classic status. This is volume one so more to come, can’t wait!

From the advertising:

“A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

The city has always been. The city must finally end.

When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born.

Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.

Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld.

Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total Armageddon.”


I’m usually sceptical when a book gets so many advance rave reviews across the board but in this case it’s entirely justified. From the very first chapter (which is a mindbender in itself) I was hooked. In fact even though I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on in the first chapter the writing is so good and the intrigue so strong that I was compelled to keep reading through sheer enjoyment.

There are plenty of books that turn out to be pretty good but you do have to plough through many chapters before they really get going. The Gutter Prayer is not one of those books, it hooks you from the start and refuses to let you go. The last time I felt such a compulsion to keep reading was Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, which was my introduction to solid fantasy, so it’s awesome to have that feeling again.

The characters are truly original as is the city of Guerdon which is effectively a character in its own right with layer after layer of intrigue and reveal. The great thing is this isn’t a standalone book but sequel/s will follow. As a side note the cover art (which matters to book nerds like me!) is superb!

One of the pleasures of life is discovering a new author who writes books to love and live in so that you want to invest time in them. Gareth Hanrahan has written such a such book. The Gutter Prayer will surely win multiple awards in 2019, or at least should. I’ve read some books before which are rated as ‘instant classics’ and they left alot to be desired, for me anyway. The Gutter Prayer fits the ‘instant classic’ category perfectly though. It catapults (or should catapult) Gareth Hanrahan straight into the top echelons of fantasy writing and if he can maintain this standard, or anywhere near it, he should remain there for a long time to come.

Highly recommended, should become a classic of fantasy literature. I will buy a copy even though I’ve read it as it’s one of those you want in your collection. 

Rating: 5/5 – Essential and instant classic.

Review via NetGalley/Little Brown Books (Orbit) ARC.

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