Hi, there! Good morning and welcome to a very different book review 🙂 Today’s star, Eternal Wars: Armies of Saints, from Livio Gambarini, was received from the publisher in exchange of an honest review 😀 A special thanks to Samuel Marolla, who contacted me on behalf of Acheron Books ❤
The moment arrived, so let’s go!
In 13th century Florence, the war between the Guelphs and Ghibellines is destroying entire families. Every corner of Tuscany has been drawn into the conflict, but little do the two sides realise their war is but a pale reflection of a battle between the mysterious inhabitants of the spirit world, lasting a thousand years.
The spirit that guides the Cavalcanti family, Kabal, uses every any means at his disposal to make sure his family is not torn to shreds and eventually comes out on top. The true ace up his sleeve is the new head of his family, the warrior and poet Guido Cavalcanti. Guido is driven to seek an impossible peace as he strives to save his city and marry the girl he loves. He is helped by a young, exceptionally shy poet known as Dante Alighieri…
It is a story of war, betrayal, intrigue and magic that is woven skilfully together to create a wondrous combination of historical accuracy and the fantastic world that lies behind human endeavour. “The Eternal War – Armies of Saints” is an innovative historical fantasy set against the backdrop of the Florence of the Divine Comedy. It has already conquered Italy and now, with the English translation, it is set to take the world.
Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂
I was highly intrigued by this novel when Samuel contacted me. I have a weakness for Italy – in special, Florence, as I mentioned on this post – and I couldn’t wait to see what Eternal Wars was about. The thing is that it wasn’t exactly what I expected. It was a really different and enchanting story (so much that I read it on a single sitting), but I got highly confused in the beginning thanks to the narrative style and I couldn’t really relate to any of the characters. That’s why it is a three stars book for me: satisfactory and entertaining, but my heart ended the book intact.
The narrative style was my biggest in the book – and no, it wasn’t first person styled. Stop haunting me. It was third person styled with switching point of views. So far, so good? Wonderful, this is my favorite kind. The problem is that there are too many main characters and two distinct sets of narrative points of view: the “real” world and the spiritual world. I personally am really bad with names – I have to take notes in books like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (judge me) and Game of Thrones. I wasn’t expecting to have to take notes on Eternal Wars as well, but oh well.
The switching between worlds and main characters and time passages drove me nuts, as I was always lots and didn’t really like Kabal, the spirit that protected the main-main-main family.
The plot was very complex and developed, full of action and mystery, on both worlds. It was interesting to see Gambarini’s descriptions of war, cities and of the spiritual ways. How the saints manipulated everything, for good and bad. Usually, I don’t like books that contain too much religion and are not didactic (for example, a book telling the history of an x religion), but this worked to Gambarini’s advantage, as it was an interesting historical fiction 🙂
I really liked how the characters were built, but I couldn’t relate to any of them. I mean, Cavalcante had an awesome quote in the beginning that had me laughing out loud and I made a point of writing it down on my quote notebook:
“ (…) life is like disease. As long as you have it, at least enjoy the bed!”
HONESTLY, THIS IS JUST BRILLIANT!
Ahem, back to the characters.
I liked Guido and Bice, they were a cute couple. Also, it was cool that Guido was a poet – if a good-looking guy said that I looked like an angel, I would be taken just as Bice was, haha! I can’t deny that all Gambarini’s characters are really real (haha), but I just couldn’t connect, I don’t know. Oh, and I enjoyed far more the “real” world than the spiritual parts. I felt them massively unnecessary on the big picture 😦
Bonus point: Cavalcante. Yes, you read it correctly. He was brilliantly built and positioned. His ways made his son Guido decide to not be a typical middle-aged man in 13th century Italy. All the vices, the traumas, fornication and sodomy YASSSS and drugs. It was fairly common for men from certain social positions on that time to overindulge in all the pleasures of life. As if many things had changed.
Overall, I really enjoyed the battle scenes and Guido’s adulthood, as he was an interesting man. If you like medieval set stories, specially Italian ones, full of action and mind-blowing ends, you should pick up Eternal Wars!
That’s it, thank you for reading! And, once again, thanks to Acheron Books for sending me this book 😀