The Gutter Prayer

Narrated by: John Banks
Series: Black Iron Legacy, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Enter a city of saints and thieves....

The city of Guerdon stands eternal. A refuge from the war that rages beyond its borders. But in the ancient tunnels deep beneath its streets, a malevolent power has begun to stir.

The fate of the city rests in the hands of three thieves. They alone stand against the coming darkness. As conspiracies unfold and secrets are revealed, their friendship will be tested to the limit. If they fail, all will be lost, and the streets of Guerdon will run with blood.

The Gutter Prayer is an epic tale of sorcerers and thieves, treachery and revenge, from a remarkable new voice in fantasy.

©2019 Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan (P)2019 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The Gutter Prayer

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely incredible

I'm going to get this down in bullet points because there are lots of useless reviews that critique and interpret books and comparatively few that provide me with sufficient information to decide if it's worth trying. So, here are some of the things I think define this book.

-First chapter is in second person AND IT WORKS
-The rest of the book is in third person and follows a handful of characters, one at a time. None of that omniscient narrator garbage that makes it sound like a child explaining a drawing.
-Superb, Mieville-level use of language
-A complex, gothic city
-Insane gods, and insane interactions between those insane gods and sane and insane non-god characters
-A race of ghouls who are born undead(?) and live(?) alongside the living, and can become insane gods
-Imaginative everything, including diseases
-Interesting characters
-A relentless plot
-This line: "Rain drums on the warehouse roof like fingers on a coffin lid."
-Cool fights
-Explorations of fear, despair and complicated friendships
-Surreal yet visceral imagery

This book is a tour de force of originality. If you're sick of dragons but want to read fantasy, I hope you get this book. If you like weird fiction, Bloodborne, brilliant and beautiful use of language, horror, schemes, or monsters (oh my god, the MONSTERS this guy came up with), I think there's a good chance you'll like Gutter Prayer.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

WOW!!! To think I almost missed this book!!!

I bought the audiobook because I didn’t have enough time to read this book! And, I’m glad I did! Thieves, scholars, elite, law enforcement, and magic users working out a puzzle of myth, legend, and religion!!! Great story, wonderful characters, a believable world, and, of course, great narration!!! I can’t wait for Book 2!!!

A full review will be available on my blog I. Due time!!!

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It’s worth a listen if you’ve worked through everything great

Let me start by saying that this is a very good book and that my frame of reference for my somewhat unenthusiastic review is that of someone who has read and reread the fantasy greats (Malazan, WoT, King Killer, The Dark Tower, First Law, Stormlight, etc.). Additionally, I only listened to the first book in this series. The story is fine, though it can be a little choppy (while Malazan started that way for me it had resolved by the end of Gardens). Parts drag while others felt rushed. My major reason for my not loving this books, was just that, I didn’t love it. I didn’t devour it like I have other series. There were stretches where I did, but I never found myself thinking on the characters between putting on the audiobook. After listening to the first book, I’m now in search of a new series. If you haven’t read/listened to one of the series I mention above (and you like High Fantasy) or some others that are often praised, then throw this on your wish list and come back to it if you can’t find anything else.

1 person found this helpful

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Something different

I was a little unsure about this book after reading the reviews, but had been looking for another series with John Banks as narrator after listening to the Tower of Babylon books. My trepidation continued for a few chapters, but I eventually began to enjoy the book.

This story is different than the usual fantasy book with its unique setting in a semi industrialized world with trains, subways, powered boats, and guns. The characters are equally different, with one of the main POVs a stone man and another a cannibal ghoul. There is a wide variety of people and creatures.

While the originality of the setting and characters are a strength of this book and kept it interesting throughout, sometimes the details of the story became a little confusing. The author also relied a little too much on the (magic?) created by the city’s foundries as an explanation for how anything convenient would work. The trains, guns, lights, or anything else needed, works on this magic. It was a bit too convenient.

Overall though, Gutter Prayer was a good listen and a nice alternative to the usual sword and sorcery fantasy. There were a few hiccups, but not unusual for a debut book, and nothing that should stop you from giving this a listen.

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A Solid Grimy Fantasy; Good Start for a Series

Thieves, cutthroats, gangsters, political
corruption, forgotten lore, eldritch horrors, divine champions, mystery, and conspiracy. Mix Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, and Lovecraft, stir in a city full of class and factional divisions, then set the whole thing on fire. Grimy and nasty, but not overly gleeful about it. Dark without being grimdark.

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This was one of the hardest books to finish

this felt like an early draft for a series that they forgot to expand on

3 people found this helpful

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brutal and imaginative.

It's like Bloodborne meets the Avengers.


(and some more words until the quota is met)