The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan (Book Review)

The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

A Balancing Act

Dark fantasy is tricky. Being heavy on fantasy and light on the ‘dark’ aspect of it deprives the reader of the ominous carnality they were promised. On the flip side, being light on fantasy and heavy on the ‘dark’ might just make the reader too sick to continue forward.

Of Stone, Ghouls and Gods

Delving more into the fantasy aspects of this novel is like diving into an ocean of ideas, potential and possibilities. The world that Gareth created in The Gutter Prayer is nothing short of fascinating. The city of Guerdon is the main locale for the entirety of the main plot, which has been built from the ground up in a realistic fashion. The reader does get a sense of history, of just how ancient the city really is and the manner in which different factions live and mingle with each other is reminiscent of the melting pot of the world in which we live in.

Stale Character Development

Despite the excellent story, the seemingly wide array of creatures and the depth of the plot, I feel that the book fell short for me in terms of character development. Carillion, for me, never really developed from the arrogant kid that we are introduced to in the beginning of the novel. She doesn’t strike me as a hard edged, ‘don’t fuck with me or I’ll slice you’ type. With every turn of the page, I got even more and more annoyed with her antics, one that borders on pure arrogance, immaturity and — well — not really thinking through about the consequences of her actions.


Despite it’s faults (and which all books have them), this is an excellent read all round and one which I recommend to those looking to experience their first ‘dark fantasy’ novel that strikes a good balance between both aspects of the genre, with a well developed and paced plot, despite the flawed characters.

Writer, lawyer, insomniac. Strictly in that order.

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